Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Just Because I Love You


Last evening I had to go have an MRI. Since DW had a previous engagement of some importance, I had to take Shy with me. She asked if she was going to have to sit in the waiting room alone, or would she have to sit there with strangers. I explained that I didn't know if anyone else would be there this late, but most likely she would have to sit alone.

She was ok with that, and before we left she asked me to get down a bag so that she cold bring some stuff with her. I got the bag and she proceeded to pack some crayons, some coloring books, and some regular books.

She also packed a small case of paints, crayons, markers, pencils, and pastels that we had purchased for her at the local Michael's Craft Store. It had been on sale for less than $3.00 and was one of her Hannukah  gifts.

When we arrived at the office, I went to the reception area while Shy found a seat in the waiting room. They gave me the requisite medical history forms, privacy information and insurance forms to fill out and I went to a seat next to Shy to fill out the forms. Shy had pulled out the case of art supplies which also came with a small pad of paper containing pictures of animals and was coloring one of the pictures with the looked pencils.

I completed my forms and returned them to the receptionist. She told me it would be a few minutes before I would be called and I returned to my seat.

Upon returning to my seat, Shy gave me the picture she had been coloring. She said "Here daddy, this is for you."

Written on this very small piece of paper Shyanne had written the following words:

"Just because I love you Happy Hannukah"

How special is that???!!! God, I love that girl!!!!


Thursday, November 22, 2012



Today is Thanksgiving Day. Everyone always finds things to be thankful for on this day. I am not sure why some people feel that this is the only day they can be thankful, but I suppose that is better than never. Myself, I am thankful every day. I am just choosing this day to tell everyone. :)

It was just last week DW and I and Shy celebrated the second anniversary of her adoption. In less than 3 weeks, we will celebrate 5 years since Shy came into our life and changed our family forever.  For purposes of this blog and this day, I will concentrate on what has happened over the last year that we are thankful for.

Well, last year I was thankful for a new job on Cape Cod. This year, while I am still living on Cape Cod, I am thankful for another new job. I started in September and it is a truly wonderful job that I am thoroughly enjoying and very thankful to have. During the last year, we have made many new friends and really have been able to make the cape a great home. W have a wonderful congregation at the temple we attend, and Shyanne is really growing and thriving in this new environment,

But none of the above is what I am most thankful for this year. I am most thankful for the most recent event that has added to our family. Our daughter Amy gave birth to a beautiful baby girl just last week. Yes, only 2 days before the anniversary of Shy's adoption, Madelyn Lenore was born. 7lbs 11 oz and 20 inches.

AND she is absolutely adorable. The best part is that Shy is so wonderful with her new niece. She loves holding her and taking to her. She is absolutely fantastic. I am so proud of her and when I look at her holding Madelyn, I know that one day she will make a great mother herself,,,,,,,,just like her sister Amy. I have to tell you, I couldn't before proud of Amy. I don't think you ever really know what kind of a mother one of your children will be, but there is no doubt in my mind that Amy is and will be a great mother.

So, all in all, I have so much to be thankful for. I think I am one of the luckiest men alive. I have a wife who is the most beautiful woman in the world. I have a little girl Shyanne who is the most beautiful girl in the world, and I have a little granddaughter Madelyn who is the most beautiful baby in the world !!!!!! This doesn't even begin to mention how lucky I am to have the three fantastic biological children I have.

I don't know how I merited such a wonderful life, but I am not going to complain. I am just going to take today and sit back and enjoy what a wonderful family I have.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's Been 3 Months


since I wrote in this blog. I find it interesting that the last entry was talking about changes, and it is changes that are the reason I haven't been writing here. A lot of changes. Good changes. Changes I am happy to report.

First, I got a new job. Yes I know I was only in my last job for about 16 months, but this is a new job with the same organization. It is a great job, a great opportunity, and I a thoroughly enjoying it. The only real downside is the commute. I spend about 2 1/2 hours a day in the car commuting. But trust me, this is a great job, I am thoroughly enjoying it, and I don't really mind the commute.

Second, I am writing this entry from my oldest daughter Amy's house. Why are we here? Well just this past Tuesday, Amy gave birth to a beautiful 7 lb 11 oz girl. This is our second grandchild, and first granddaughter. She is absolutely gorgeous, and we are enjoying her immensely.

Shyanne, on the other hand , is not enjoying everything quite so much. She will be doing fine, but for right now is not happy about sharing her mommy and daddy. She was very upset when DW left to come up to be with Amy, and she is not happy with all the attention her new niece is getting. It is tough for a 7 year old who has no issues, but for Shy, it is especially difficult. I know she is afraid that we will want our granddaughter more than her, and she is also concerned that h mommy won't be coming home to Cape Cod.

I know we are doing a good job with her, and I know she will be fine. We will keep letting her know that we love her and when all is said and done and our life gets a little back to normal, this little episode will soon be forgotten.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Changes Again


One thing that Shyanne does not do well is change. I am not sure there is anyone that absolutely loves change. After all, people in general like to plan based on a set way things are done. When that set way changes, and plans then have to change, it tends to put a little crimp in what we have been doing. Some people adjust better to those changes than others.

Shyanne is not one who adjusts well to change. Certainly something that is understandable. Quite frankly, I am not one who adjusts all that well to change, but as an adult, I have developed ways to deal with change. I think we all do. The older we get the better coping mechanisms we have.

Well, we are about to have some big changes yet again. I am not sure exactly how big they will be and certainly more will follow, but in the next month or so, I am going to be changing jobs. We are not sure how it is going to work yet, but at the minimum, I will be spending more time commuting every day which will translate into less time at home. Less time to spend with DW and Shyanne. More time they will not have my support available.

I don't mind commuting. At least I don't think I do. We are pretty sure that moving will be out of the question. WE just moved to Cape Cod a year ago. Shyanne has adjusted well after some initial trepidation. We love our home, our neighborhood, and being residents of Cape Cod. We think it would be bad for Shyanne if we moved, and since I am only going to be working another few years or so, this is our planned retirement home as well. Life is good.

So what about the changes? Well, I will write more about that in coming blog entries, but for now, I have a lot of work to do to adjust to these changes.....more to follow.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Totally Off Topic.......Well, Maybe Not.


I copied this from another blog, and now that I came here to paste it, I can no longer find my way back to get the web address for that other blog. I am so technologically inept at times that it really bothers may. In any event, this is something that I think I will have to use on Shyanne.....when she gets older of course....but for those of you with teenagers, I certainly think it is a good bit of information to pass on to them.

It is actually a good bit of information to pass along to anyone who is teenager or above who thinks the world owes them something. There are way too many people looking for a handout instead of looking to lend a hand. Anyway, like I said, this isn't really on topic, but what the heck. Check it out and see if you agree.

"Northland College (NZ) principal John Tapene has offered the following words from a judge who regularly deals with youth.
"Always we hear the cry from teenagers 'What can we do, where can we go?'
... My answer is, "Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons, and after you've finished, read a book."
"Your town does not owe you recreational facilities and your parents do not owe you fun. The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy and talent so that no one will be at war, in poverty or sick and lonely again."
"In other words, grow up, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone, not a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important and you are needed. It's too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you...""

I believe that my three biological children would be in total agreement with what this judge has said, and I will do my best to ensure that Shyanne grows up with that same ethic. I hope anyone who reads this will do the same for their children.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How Are Things?


     We have been better about getting Shy to bed at a reasonable hour and that does seem to be helping.

     Obviously we have done nothing about having company, and there will be even more here next week when my BIL, SIL and niece and nephew arrive from Atlanta for a few days.

     We have also tried to keep her from constantly being the center of attention, and have found that difficult. As a child, she has to be paid attention to constantly to make sure that she isn't doing anything that could get her hurt or get her into trouble. Six year old children don't always know what is best for them and you can't leave them totally alone. She also had plenty of attention from her sisters and nephew when we went up to Maine this past weekend.

     As far as things improving. I think they have. I think that the bedtime is very important for Shyanne. She definitely needs to get her sleep. If we have to get her up in the morning, she is not very good. If she gets herself up, everything is great. We just have to get her to bed to make sure she can get herself up. After all, school will start here in 4 weeks and then she and we won't have a choice in the morning.

     One other thing that was recommended that we aren't doing is giving "tickets" for being good so that she can earn things like "play dates" and such. WE definitely have to start doing that and see if that helps as well. WE have to make sure we improve her behavior as best we can. The last thing I want is a child that is acting up in school and is a behavior problem. I can see where that could easily end up happening if we don't nip this problem in the bud now.
     So, we will continue to work towards better behavior, and keep you informed as to how it goes. What works, and what doesn't work. Hopefully we can all learn from these experiences.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Plan

So we went to the therapist and there were a few different explanations offered up by her:

1. It is possible that she is not getting enough sleep?

                   We do let her stay up later in the summer since there is no school in the morning, but she still has been getting up at the same time for her summer camps that she is going to. I guess we have to do a better job of getting her to sleep at a reasonable hour.

2. It is possible that she needs more attention focused on her since she isn't in school, and when she is home she needs to be getting that attention?

                     Well, I think we give her plenty of attention, and I am thinking that because we give her so much attention, and she is essentially an "only child"  that when we do something other than that she isn't used to it. While the therapist is thinking she needs more attention, I am thinking less. I think we have to stop making the world revolve around her. I think we may be doing her an injustice that way. I will mention this next time we visit the therapist and she what she says, but in the meantime, less attention.

3. Is it possible she is overwhelmed by all the visitors to our place?

                       This is a distinct possibility. It is the summer, and we are on Cape Cod, and we do have a lot of people coming to visit, including my mother who is here for over a month. My cousin and her two children and my aunt were here last night as well. We also went over to Martha's Vineyard to see my other cousin. We seem to have people coming around on a regular basis, or making plans to come around. I love having company, but apparently Shyanne is not all that thrilled about it.

So what are we going to do? I am thinking we definitely need to make sure she gets to bed at a more reasonable hour. We also need to stop paying so much attention to her so that she doesn't get upset when we don't. As far as visitors coming  She is just going to have to get used to that. Both DW and I love having company to the house. While sometimes relatives can be a pain in the neck, it is always good to have them come by for a day here or two days there. As far as my mother. she can come and live with us for all I care. Shyanne will just have to get used to it, and I don't think my mother is a problem for her anyway. It is just all the others.

I will let you all know how things work out and what happens. This weekend we are going up to Maine for my grandson's second birthday party, so the attention part will definitely get a trying out here. We don't want Shayanne to have to go cold turkey, but what better way to start paying less attention to Shyanne so that she can learn the world doesn't revolve around her.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Tough couple of weeks

These have been some tough times for Shy these past few weeks and we are not sure why. We have been to visit her brother in Portland, Oregon, we have my mother (nanny) visiting now until the end of August. We are going to visit her sisters and nephew in Maine this weekend, and we have other cousins coming to visit a couple of times in the next few weeks.

thanks to a great suggestion, we have been skyping more frequently with her brothers and sisters as well, butt Shy has been good sometimes, and almost out of control on other occasions. She just doesn't seem to be very happy. She won't even kiss her nanny good-night when she goes to bed. Not even a little hug. I am not sure why that is. She has been busy with swimming, cheering camp, soccer camp, this week is hip-hop camp. She has been playing basketball and going to her friends house next door and across the street.

Most of the time she seems to be fine, but at other times, she just doesn't want to listen. She doesn't want to do as she is told, and she can get downright belligerent. It is really out of character, and when she does get that way, it just seems to escalate and escalate out of control.

Now, having said that, yesterday, maybe there was an excuse. We took her to see Ice Age 3 in 3D. It was a great movie and we all enjoyed it except for Shyanne. Fairly early in the movie, the daddy mammoth is separated from his wife and daughter. At that point, Shyanne did not like the movie anymore and wanted to leave. We eventually got her to pay attention again and of course she helped "root" for the daddy to find his way back home. I won't ruin the ending for anyone, but it is a movie made for kids so you can probably figure out the ending.

It was scary for her though, and I appreciate that. I will give her that yesterday was  a bad day after the movie because of that. But I can't make any excuse for the way things have been the last few weeks in general. I am getting to the point where I can't wait until she starts school again. Of course I don't know that will solve the problem, but I am thinking it will at least give her mother a break for half of the day.

Thankfully, there is a therapist appointment tomorrow. Hopefully she can shed some light on this for us.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

POOOOOOOF!!! It's gone.

There are many things we do for our children when they are growing up. A lot of them we find difficult, cumbersome, and even distasteful. But none of them lasts forever.

There is the little child that relies on you to help her get dressed. That needs help tying her shoes. That wants you to get her clothes down from the hanger. Then without even noticing, she no longer requires that. She is able to change the channel on the TV herself. She can get her own clothes, or cut some of her own foods. All of a sudden those moments of wanting to eat and having to cut food instead, or those moments when you are reading the paper and she wants a channel change, are gone.....POOOOF. Never to happen again.

We don't give it much thought as the moments come and go almost in the blink of an eye. We don't even realize they are gone until some time after they are gone. The first time that a child is able to go to the refrigerator get out the juice and pour her own glass to drink initially is given the old "good for you!" when she tells you what she did, but it takes a while to sink in that the meaning of the "good for you" is that you will never have to perform that task again. POOOOOF, it's gone.

Theses times come and go so innocuously that it is hard to pinpoint all of them. They just come and go. Pushing on a bicycle while holding it steady as a young one tries to learn how to ride, and you are panting and out of breath. All of a sudden, they get it. They ride themselves. They can balance. POOOOOF, it's gone.

Right now we have to drive Shyanne everywhere she wants to go. While most times we don't mind, and we expect to be doing it, there are occasions when we would rather be doing something else. It may seem like 10 years is a long time before she can get her license, but when it comes, those drives in the car when we are together alone and can talk about anything we want to talk about will be over. POOOOOF, it's gone.

It won't be long after that she will be out on her own. Maybe starting a family of her own and living her own life. While this may seem like a little early to be talking about since Shy is just coming up on her 7th birthday, trust me it isn't. They grow up so quickly. I have three other children....34, 32, and almost 30. It seems like just yesterday DW and I were discussing what names to pick out. They came, we did all of those things I mentioned like riding bikes, tying shoes, chauffeuring, and pouring drinks for them and then POOOOOF, it was gone.

I have no intention of complaining about anything Shyanne asks. I know it will be gone all too soon. I write this to all of you out there who may be regretting today's activity of driving to camp, or taking to a Doctor's appointment or reading a book, or cleaning a room.... Enjoy it. It won't be long before it is all just a distant memory and you will be wondering where the time went.....POOOOOOF!!!!


Friday, July 20, 2012


So Wednesday night Shy Skyped with Amy for a very short time. On the other hand, when Barry called and wanted to talk to her on the phone, she said no.

Then last night Barry called and wanted to Skype with Shy but she didn't want to and she didn't want to talk to him on the phone either. I know Amy reads this blog and I am sure she took that last suggestion about Skyping and thought it was a good idea. I agree. It is a good idea. Apparently only when shy is in the mood though and quite frankly, I can't figure her out.

Sometimes, she will answer the phone and talk to whoever is on the other end for quite a while. Sometimes she will answer the phone just to see who it is and then hands the phone to either DW or me. Sometimes she won't go near the phone and when someone asks for her, she has no interest in talking. Very hard to figure out which "phone shyanne" is going to be place at a given time.

I assume when she gets a little bit older and her friends are calling/texting/whatever they will be doing 10 years from now, she will be responding to them more often than I care to know about. Now children at this age are always finicky about talking on the phone, and I guess now skyping as well. There have actually been times when Shyanne has wanted to Skype and the person she wants to skype with is not available. She can have a major meltdown over that. Of course she doesn't remember that when people want to Skype with her and the answer is no.

I know it is a good idea to maintain as much communication as possible for Shy so that she doesn't feel left alone when she says good-bye to people, and I think just knowing that they are there and wanting to talk to her may be good enough for her. I certainly hope so, but she still gets so upset when she wants to talk to someone and they aren't available to speak, yet she thinks nothing of saying no to talk to other people. That is what bothers me the most.

Last night was another example. She wanted to ask her friend a question and called the house. No one answered the phone and she had a major meltdown. I think she would have been better had she been able to leave a message but the person was on the phone and didn't go over from the call-waiting so there was no machine either.

I have already talked about my age many times on this blog, so it doesn't bother me to day...."Back in the day".... before call-waiting, answering machines and the like, this was not a big issue. If someone didn't answer the phone, they weren't home, and you called back later. Today we expect either a person to answer or a machine to pick up and when it doesn't happen for this particular 6 year old, boy does she get upset.

Just one of the many things we have to work on, but we are confident we can overcome this with time. We will keep stressing the way she feels when people won't talk to her when she decides not to talk to someone else, and hopefully at some point she will get old enough, wise enough, and mature enough to want to talk to people, or to at least be polite enough to say hello.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A New Idea

It has been a real busy couple of weeks. Of course 4th of July week was kind of a weird one with the 4th being right in the middle of the week. But then it was off to Portland, Oregon to visit with Barry last week. We all had a great visit with him. He looks good. We hadn't seen him in over a year and it was nice to see him looking good, and of course Shyanne absolutely adores him. That in and of itself is a very interesting thing.

When Shyanne first came to us in December, 2007, Barry was living in Birmingham, Alabama. He lived there until this past December when he moved to Portland, Oregon. During this 4 1/2 years Barry has come home a few times and we have gone to visit him a couple of times. We also saw each other at my father's funeral last February, which was the last time we were together.

So why does Shyanne have such an affinity for her big brother Barry? In her whole life, she has seen him so little. When we visited him in Alabama it was only a few days. When we saw each other at the funeral, it was only a few days. When he came home the two or three times he did, it was only for a week or so. This trip to Portland was fly out on Monday and fly back on Friday.

We were in Portland for 4 days, yet the whole time we were there, Shyanne wanted nothing more than to be with her big brother Barry. She wanted to hold his hand. She wanted to show him how she could swim. She wanted to act like him and be like him. She looked up to him like only a little sister can look up to a big brother. Yet how does that happen when she spends so little time with him and really doesn't know him all that well?

I don't know how you all feel about it, but it is amazing to me!

And of course, when we go to leave, it is a difficult time for Shyanne. Now while it is a long trip from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Portland, Oregon, Shyanne was great going out there. Coming back was a whole different story. It is just so hard for her to say good-bye. I wonder if we make too much of it sometimes, but it doesn't seem to matter. She just doesn't like to say good-bye when we go to visit.

I always wonder if it has to do with saying good-bye to people who never come back into her life. For a child so young, she has certainly had a number of people say good-bye to her and then never return. Her biological parents are just the start. Her two oldest biological brothers she hasn't seen in over a year and a half and there is no sign of seeing them any time soon. Then there was her Papa (my dad) who passed away last February and she knows he will never be back.

Of course I don't know for sure and Shyanne certainly is not able to put into words why saying good-bye is so difficult for her. When you ask her all you get is "I don't know" or she just hides behind you when it is time to leave.

I know when I was a kid there were certain people I didn't like to say Good-Bye to, but it wasn't universal like it is with Shyanne. I just didn't like the Aunt who would have to pinch my cheek, or the relative that kind of smelled and I would try to hide or keep from saying good-bye to them. But in general, it was not a problem for me. I guess I always knew that they were coming back...eventually. In my mind I never looked at it as good-bye, I more looked at it as a "see you later" type thing.

Maybe if we tried using that with Shyanne it would work. Instead of saying goodbye we could identify the next time we were going to see someone and then change the good-bye to "see you next month" or something like that.

I guess we will have to try that. Any other ideas?


Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Incredible Girl

My Brother-in-Law and Father-in-Law were up visiting from Florida for the past 8 days. During that time, Kari and my grandson Logan also came to visit, so we had quite a full house for a little while. Tomorrow, DW, Shyanne and I leave for York Beach, Maine where we will spend the weekend with Kari, Andy and Logan as well as one of my nieces from Texas, a cousin from Kentucky, and my mother who we will pick up at the airport tomorrow in Boston (after spending the morning at the New England Aquarium)

This is both good and bad for Shyanne. She loves having other people around. I guess Mom and Dad can get boring at times, so any change is good. So she will love spending time with her big sister Kari and her nephew Logan. again. She will also love spending time with her cousin from Texas. Part of the reason is that they all pay so much attention to her and always want to show her a good time. The other part of it is that she is so easy to show a good time to.

Shyanne is one of the most appreciative young children I have ever met. She loves when people do anything with her or for her, and she loves doing things with other people as well. When she is doing somehting with someone, she almost always has a smile on her face. Reading her a story, or throwing a ball around with her, she is smiling. On the stage at her dance recital, she smiled the whole time. Playing basketball, T-Ball, Soccer or just riding on her scooter, she is smiling and happy.

I can't wait to take her to the fun-o-rama on Saturday to play games there. I know she will be smiling the whole time. I know she will be enjoying herself. I know she will love the beach and she will love being with all the other relatives. The best part is that she makes things far more enjoyable for everyone else who is around her. The happiness and enjoyment she has for everything she does transfers to everyone who is with her. She is one of those people they say "light up a room" when she comes in. She really does! She is truly an incrediable little girl.


Friday, June 22, 2012


So I just want to be up front and say that this post has nothing to do directly with adoption or foster care.

While Shyanne is a very important part of my life and I don't ever want anyone to forget that, and my three biological children are also a very important part of my life, and I don't want anyone to forget that, there is one other girl that may well be the most important of all. Without her, there definitely would not have been the three biological children, and it is doubtful that there would be Shyanne in my life.

Well, I am sure you have all guessed by now that I am talking about my lovely wife. The reason I choose today to bring this up is that today is our 37th wedding anniversary. It is hard to believe that. Thirty Seven years is a long time for anything, but for Linda to have put up with me for that long is truly amazing. Quite frankly, it is nothing short of a miracle.

We started dating when we were in high school and got married shortly after my 20th birthday. She was a tad bit younger than I. A lot of people thought we were too young to get married and I am sure there were many taking bets as to how long it would last. I am thinking that anyone who made those bets, lost.

I am asked on occasion how we have managed to stay together for so long. The simple answer is that we love each other. We would do anything for each other, and while we do have our moments where we have arguments, I don't think we ever lose sight of the fact that we do truly love and respect each other. Even if we do get each other angry on occasion.

I know that marriages suffer most when times are stressful. Certainly children increase stress in a relationship, as do financial concerns, illness, and other issues. For some people I think the stress sits between them and pushes them apart. I think for Linda and I the stress sits outside of us and pushes us together.

Nothing could have been more stressful than the first few years of life of our oldest child. She had multiple birth defects and required multiple surgeries at Boston Children's Hospital. I was working hard and working many overnight hours at the time and then commuting into Boston to be with Linda while she spent nights at the hospital. It was truly a scary time for two naive people in their early twenties. We made it through though and came out the other side stronger and I think even more in love with each other.

There have been other times when we have had problems, but in the end, those problems have just made us stronger. We are certainly happy together and have enjoyed our life together. If I had it to do all over again, there is absolutely no one I would rather spend my life with then her.

She is certainly the love of my life and has always been the girl of my dreams. I love her dearly and would never trade her in for anything.

Happy Anniversary Linda! I love you!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

One of Those Moments

Saturday I attended Shyanne's Dance Recital. The one they have been preparing for all year. She takes Tap, Jazz and ballet. She enjoys them all. This meant that she was going to appear in three acts during the show. Plus the finale. So, considering she was in 4 acts, my thoughts were that it would be a good show for me and fairly quick.

The shows we went to in Maine were always long and drawn out. They crowded people into the school auditorium, there was barely room for everyone to sit, and the shows just dragged and dragged. The shows I saw in Maine were the ones you dread. the ones that you had to sit and watch so many other acts you weren't interested in just to see your own child for a few quick moments on the stage.

This one on the Cape was going to be different. "How did I know this?" you ask. Well, for one, the dance school had divided up the recital into 3 different shows! There was one show on Friday night, one show on Saturday at 1:00pm and the last show (the one my daughter would be in) at 5:00pm on Saturday. It was also in a much larger school auditorium. Taking all that into account, I know this would be a quick moving, relatively short show in which I would see my daughter on stage for three different dances and the finale.

I was actually looking forward to this dance recital.

DW had offered to help back stage with the kids. That was fine with me. I had no problem with that. She did have to show up an hour early though. Of course Shy had to show up 45 minutes early, and they opened the doors to the auditorium 30 minutes before the show, so it just made sense for all of us to go together. I didn't mind getting there a little early. This was going to be an easy early and quick show anyway.

So around 3:55 we all showed up at the auditorium. DW and Shy went to the back stage area and I waited for the doors to the auditorium to open up. There was one other person who had come early to see her granddaughter perform. I had the opportunity to purchase a rose for Shyanne while I was waiting, so I went ahead and did that. I was talking with the other woman about things in general. Where we lived, who we were there to see and just made small talk for a while. Then she asked me if I had a program. I said that I hadn't seen one yet and she pointed me to a gentleman who had programs for this show.

I went and got one and started looking at it. They had one program for all three shows and they listed the acts for the shows separately so it was quite a thick program. It was about the size of the PLAYBILL programs you see for theater shows and I went through looking for the Saturday 5:00pm show.

I couldn't believe my eyes. The first thing I saw was that the show had an intermission. AN INTERMISSION!!! How long was this show that it needed an intermission? Oh my! There were 49 acts in this show!! My daughter was only in 3 plus the finale. She appeared in one act before the intermission. What was going on here. Surely there was a mistake. They must have combined all the shows together and only certain acts were int his show? Maybe? please?

No, that wasn't the case. The show my daughter was in was 49 acts long. There was an intermission after the 22nd act. I would sit through those first 22 acts and see her perform only once. I was wondering what I had done to deserve such a fate.

So, at 4:30 they opened up the doors to the auditorium and I found a seat in the second row on the aisle. I got my camera ready and started testing out different modes to see what might work best. They wouldn't allow flash photography, so I needed to see if any setting was any better than any other. as it turns out, it all depended on the light provided by the auditorium as to whether or not the pictures came out any good. I guess if I was a professional photographer, it might make a difference.

At shortly after 5:00 pm the show started. Some of the girls danced very well. Some did not dance quite so well, but that was OK. For the most part they seemed to be having a good time doing their thing on the stage with everyone watching them perform. Most of them had smiles on their faces. There were no real small ones, so there was no one just standing there and not dancing. They were all doing the dances. The younger ones were not quite in sync as well as the older ones, but that is what you would expect. There were a couple of girls who performed solo and they obviously were the better dancers in the group.

Not being any more than an occasionally viewer of SYTYCD (So You Think You Can Dance) I really don't have any skills to identify what is a good dancer and what isn't. So I just watched and waited.....and waited......and waited for Shyanne to get out on stage for the first time. It was about 6:00 when she finally hit the stage for her ballet number. I had waited over 2 hours for this. The outfit was absolutely adorable and they danced to "Let's Go Fly A Kite" from "Mary Poppins". It was very cute and all the girls (and one boy) looked adorable. It lasted about 2 1/2 minutes and was over. My pictures came out just OK.

Intermission came and DW brought a sandwich to the lobby for me to eat while I awaited the second part of the show.

While it is already too late to make a long story short, I will shorten it up a bit here The second half of the show was more of the same except that I got to watch Shyanne perform her tap and her jazz dance during this portion as well as participate in the finale. (It wasn't really much, just everyone coming out and taking a bow.)

It was the second act that Shyanne was in that made it all worthwhile. This was the tap dancing act. It started around 6:30. They were all dressed in these adorable looking "rain jacket" type costumes with little dainty umbrellas and tap danced to "Singing in the Rain". It was really cute. Do you remember the old commercials with Bo Jackson where they went "Bo knows Baseball" or Bo knows football" or "Bo knows (put in whatever you are advertising here). Well, "Shyanne knows cute!" And she does it very well.

Anyway, they are tapping around in a circle spinning their umbrellas and having a grand old time when Shyanne notices me sitting there in the second row. She looks at me, gives me a big smile and then waves to me! She was the only one in the whole show that waved. Or at least the only one I noticed. I smiled and waved back.

The show lasted until 8:15. I was at that school for almost 4 1/2 hours. If you had told me before hand that it was going to be almost 8:30 before I got home, I would have been looking for ways to minimize the pain of attending the show. I may have offered to do just about anything to get out of attending the show. I am glad I didn't.

I would have sat through a thousand acts for that one moment when she waved to me. It made it all worthwhile. It also reminds me that you have to pay attention to what is going on. Especially with your children. You never know when one of those "moments" is going to occur and if you aren't paying attention, you may miss it. I'm glad I didn't miss it. 3 seconds made the whole 4 1/2 hours an absolute pleasure. I can't wait to get the video in the mail. I hope it shows her waving. Even if it doesn't, I will always remember it.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Listening to Hear, or Listening to Reply?

As I mentioned the other day in my entry about Forever Families Camp, all too often, we listen to reply.  By that I mean, as we are listening we are forming a reply in our head even before the person speaking has completed their statement. This is something that frequently leads to misunderstandings. Unfortunately, there are times we really do know what someone is about to say so our response is appropriate. The reason I say that is unfortunate is because it leads us to a place where we become more confident in our abilities to "read the mind" of the speaker.

Now, listening to reply is OK in some situations. Like the cocktail party. Hey, if you misunderstand someone and say something off track, a little laugh will get you back on topic and no one is any worse for wear. There are other times when listening to reply or "not listening" to reply can get you into trouble but doesn't really do any harm. Like when you are watching the ballgame and your wife comes in the room to ask you to do something. Before what she asks you to do is out of her mouth, you are already formulating the reply. Something like "next time out" or "after the game", or maybe a "yes, dear". And you never heard what was asked.

Then the next time out comes, or the game ends, and you get asked when you are going to do the said task, and you are befuddled because you don't even remember being asked. This is a time when you can certainly get into trouble, and should be avoided when possible, but again, it is not the time that I am talking about.

I am talking about the times when your children are talking to you. You can never truly know what your child is going to say. Some of the most surprising things can come out of their mouth and if you aren't listening, you might not hear it. Children can be truly amazing. When you really listen and think about what they say, their comments can be very profound at times. This is true of children of all ages. It doesn't matter if they are 4 or 14.

AND IT IS IMPORTANT TO THEM TO BE HEARD! Your wife may be used to you responding with the "yes dear" of "after the game" comment and it really doesn't bother her. She is an adult and will get over it.

Children won't. As I said, they want to be heard. They want to know you are listening to them. They want you to make eye contact with them while they are talking to you. In these days of easy distractions with cell-phones, face book, twitter, and instant messaging,  it is so easy to become distracted while carrying on a conversation with your child. It is so easy to want to formulate your response while you are still "listening" to what someone else is saying so that you can then move on to the next "instant" message that has to be tended to.

Keep this in mind. I know it is difficult, and even more difficult for the younger generation that has grown up with all of these handy distractions, but nothing is more important than listening to your children and really hearing what they are saying before you try to formulate your response.

This is true for ALL children, but especially true for children that have different life experiences than the majority. Children who have been in foster care. Children who have been adopted. Children who have different color skin then their parents.

Henry David Thoreau is credited with the quote:

                     "The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I  
                       thought, and then attended to my answer"

So pay your children a compliment every day and make sure they know that you are not distracted by them, but that you love them and are truly listening to what they say.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I don't know if going to Forever Families Camp got Shyanne thinking about this particular issue or not, but I suspect it did.

During her play therapy yesterday she was playing with a number of dolls. They were all in a car and there were five of them. (there were 5 children in Shyanne's biological family) There was another car as well. One of the cars had a husband and wife and one of the cars had a boyfriend and girlfriend.

As it turns out, one of the cars the parents kept fighting a lot and weren't able to take care of their children properly so the children were taken away and given to a family that could take care of them. At 6 years old, I think that is sufficient explanation for her at this point, although as she gets older, I am sure there will be more pieces that will come out from us, brothers, and her own memory.

I am not sure what all of this means in the overall scheme of Shyanne dealing with her past, or if it is even important from a standpoint of the event of her family being separated. I don't know if it is important that we dwell on that or not. I don't know if we should even really care about that part of it. I mean the actual event itself.

What I do know is important is that Shyanne is talking about it in at least some way with her therapist. I am really happy about that. I think it is extremely important for her to talk about it with someone she trusts as much as possible so that when issues do arise she is able to deal with them and knows how to handle them. She is a truly remarkable and incredible child. We are so lucky to have her in our life.


Monday, June 11, 2012

Forever Families Camp

We got back yesterday evening from Forever Families Camp and I am glad to report we had another wonderful time. Last year was great and we looked forward to this year with much anticipation and we were not disappointed. We now look forward to next year with even more anticipation.

Shyanne, DW and I all had a wonderful time. We all learned a little bit, we played a little bit, and reconnected with some friends we had made last year. We also made some new friends this year. You know I have not yet met a person who adopted a child that I didn't care for. Those of you who adopt children are special people and I really enjoy being with any and all of you.

The camp setting is absolutely wonderful. They had it at "Cedar Lake Camp" which is a camp run by the New Jersey Y. There are tennis courts, basketball courts, fields, cabins, a beautiful little lake with jet-skis, a huge ice berg, a water trampoline with a big swing and a huge slide to slide down into the lake as well. They also have canoes and kayaks, Arts and crafts and Archery, Ropes Courses and Pita Making Shy and I went out in a canoe twice this weekend. She made pita bread and ate it all up, and she made a few crafts for us to bring home. (DW and I also made some crafts)

This is a camp for Jewish Families that have adoptive children, and there are two parts to the camp which is what makes it so enjoyable for us.The first part and some may argue the most important part is that we get to spend a weekend together with the focus being on the family, and only on the family. That is great. We don't spend every minute with each other, but every minute, we are focused on the family. That is nice. The second part of the camp is what we can learn about different aspects of adoption and dealing with adoption issues, not only for the kids, but also for the parents. It is an opportunity to learn, and to relearn what we may have forgotten. So one of the things I knew but had the opportunity to relearn just from listening to everyone talk at the different "workshops" was that absolutely no two stories are alike. Now I already knew that from this blog and talking with other foster parents and adoptive parents before, but it is always good to be reminded of it. What that means is that when you are looking for information or advice on a particular situation or issue, you really need to talk with and get information from a lot of different people. Everyone may have a little bit of their story that matches yours and by asking a lot of different people with their part of the matching story you can then put them together.

This is only accomplished if you really pay attention and listen. While I know part of these workshops is to offer your own story so that others can gain information from yours, it is good to really just sit back and listen. REALLY LISTEN. I don't mean the kind of listening you do while thinking about other things, or drifting off. I don't mean the type of listening where you "listen to reply"  I mean the real kind of listening. The kind where you are totally focused on what is being said and paying close attention to all facets of what is being said, and not concentrating on what your reply may be until after the person is done speaking. That is the kind of listening that really gets you the best information and allows you to learn the most.

So I listened a lot. I heard about a family that is having the same kinds of problems with the legal system that we had. I hear about people who have adopted from other countries. people who have adopted multiple children from more than one country. People who have been reunited with birth parents and people who are concerned about their children reuniting with their birth parents. I think my next blog entry will have to do with that. There is always the things that people say and the things that people don't say. By listening closely you can hear them both.

For now though, let me just close with the fact that we all had a wonderful time and we are all looking forward to going back next year. There were over 100 people there this year and I think that is considerably more than last year. I expect next year will be even bigger again. Deb Schwartz who runs things is a truly wonderful person who does a magnificent job getting things set up. If you are interested for next June, she can be contacted at,


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Good Days and Bad Days

Shyanne had a bad day yesterday. At one point she was under her desk at school kicking and screaming. She said she couldn't think about anything to write for the assignment she was given. The assignment was to write something interesting about yourself that could be passed along to the second grade teacher for next year. Her teacher gave her some suggestions, but she wasn't having any of it. She ended up having to go to the office and talk with the school counselor.

She got gummies out of it, and help with the assignment and seemed to feel a little better about it. The question is why did this occur. She has had bad days before, but never as bad as getting under her desk and kicking and screaming. Well, DW I think had the answer.

For those of you who have been around us for a while, you are well aware that Shyanne has had some issues around saying good-bye. When she was smaller, she would hide in the front hall closet instead of saying goodbye to people leaving our house. She would cry and still does when special people leave and on occasion will just run away and not acknowledge that these people are leaving. She doesn't seem to like the feeling of loss when people leave. We guess it is related to her loss of her biological parents. The last time she said good-bye to them was the last time she saw them. The last time she will see them. It has been a long time since she has seen her two oldest brothers as well, and the way things are going, I think it will be at least many years before she does see them again, if at all. DW thinks this school assignment evoked some of those feelings as she would be leaving her first grade teacher who she absolutely adores.

It has not been a serious issue in the past. By that I mean we haven't really addressed it because it didn't seem to cause any big deal and we figured over time this was something she would grow out of.......Getting under a desk in school and kicking and screaming however, is a big deal. So now we have to address it from that stand point and quite frankly, we are not sure what the best way to proceed is. I know when she next sees her play therapist, that will be a topic we will bring up. She is the expert in this area and we definitely need to get Shyanne some help dealing with hose issues. We can tell her all we want that she will see her teacher again in the school and over time, she will just be a pleasant memory of a wonderful teacher, but past experience tells Shyanne that sometimes when people leave, they just never come back.

That is sad, but unfortunately it is a part of life, that for any six year old is hard to understand, but it is more difficult for someone with Shy's past.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Report

We had a truly wonderful weekend. It was the kind of Holiday Weekend you hope for going in. While we just worked around the house on Saturday, it was still pleasurable and allowed us to get some things done that really needed to be done, and then still have 2 days of a weekend left. We went to Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich, MA on Sunday. It was definitely a "Chamber of Commerce" day and we enjoyed the gardens and play areas, and exhibits immensely. We got a Family Membership for the year, so we will be spending a lot more time there over the course of the summer.

Sunday we went to Sandy Neck Beach with our neighbors. The ones with the little boy that Shy loves to play with. They are really becoming pretty good friends. I hope that continues as they are really good people. We got a Off-Road vehicle permit so that we can drive on the beach. That opens up a lot more beach for us and makes it a lot easier. We don't have to carry our stuff from the parking lot to the beach.....speaking of which....

Did you ever notice how much "stuff" some people take to the beach. It can be mind-boggling. I saw people with enough stuff to camp out for days who were only there for a few hours. You would think they were ready for an earthquake and to be cut off from the mainland for days before help could arrive. Now we certainly had enough stuff of our own, but it wasn't that much...let me see, we had three fold-up chairs. One for each of us. We have a large hamper type pail with toys in it for Shy and her friends to play with. We had a big bag with Potato chips and bread and a few other non-perishable items. Then there was another bag with a blanket to spread out on the sand and of course our towels. Then there was a cooler with ham, cheese, bologna, drinks, mustard, and other perishable items, but I guess that really wasn't enough so we had a second cooler with watermelon and some more drinks in it.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. I guess maybe we are those people. So you want to know how long we were at the beach....about 3 hours....but it was a very enjoyable three hours, and I can't wait to do it again!

I hope all of you had as wonderful a weekend as we did and thanks to all those who served so that we could enjoy that wonderful weekend.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day and Family

Memorial Day Weekend is just about upon us. By the traffic I have already seen out on the roads, it would appear as though it may have been on us last night. In any event. Here on Cape Cod it is bound to be a truly wonderful weekend.

Saturday we are all working around the house. I am not sure if Shy will be helping DW with the gardening, or me with the painting, but I am hoping it is her mother with the garden. Then our plans are for family days on both Sunday and Monday.

I do love the time we get to spend together at beaches or at the gardens or somewhere away from the house with just the three of us. It is really wonderful. When my older biological kids were younger, there was always something one or more of them had to do so that it was difficult to get family time together.

The bigger the family, the less time you have to get together and "reconnect" as a family. With just DW, myself and Shy, we get to do plenty of that. I know as she gets older there will be more things that she is involved with, but we won't have to split between children. DW and I will be able to do things with and for Shy together. We will only have one little league game or one soccer game, or one basketball game to attend. We won't have to figure out who is driving whom where and when, and who gets to watch what game. When Barry was born, Amy was only 3 years old, and Kari came only 15 months after Barry. From then on, there was not much time to spend with all five of us together.

The one thing we did do after Kari's graduation from High School we were able to do a family trip to Disney together. All five of us. It would be so nice to do a vacation with all of us again, but I don't see that happening. The good news is that the family is growing and growing. Amy is now pregnant and I will be a papa again. That brings more additions to the family which is absolutely wonderful, but makes it that much more difficult to get everyone together.

Barry is out in Oregon right now and we are going to see him this summer, but that makes it difficult for the whole family to be together as well. I know he wants to get back to the northeast, but it will be a while before that is able to happen. It has been quite a while since our whole family has been together. I am hoping that might be able to happen this fall, or early winter.

DW would love to take all of our family on a cruise. I would love to do that too. We are kinda half-planning and kinda half-praying that we might be able to do that for our 40th wedding anniversary. That is only 3 years away though. Let me see....there would be 7 adults and some children. I say some because I have no idea how many there might be at that time. The more the better!! I would love for us to have a big group together for the trip. I think it would be an absolute blast!!

I guess it wouldn't be so bad though. We could do it with 3 staterooms...maybe 2 if we got one of the big suites. Well, it is nice to dream about those things, but for right now, I am just thankful that we are able to do things with Shyanne and be together as a family. Especially on great weekends like Memorial Day. I know we will have fun, and I will let you all know about it on Tuesday.

Have a great weekend yourselves, and whatever you do, don't forget to take a moment to remember the real reason for this holiday and give thanks for those who gave their lives so that we could enjoy the freedoms and liberties we have that make us able to enjoy such a wonderful weekend.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Planning for Summer


When you're a child, whether you are adopted, in foster care, or with your original biological family, summer probably means fun in the sun.  That is not true for those of us who are foster parents, adoptive parent, or even biological parents. There is certainly a lot of stress and anxiety as we are faced with figuring out what to do with our children during the summer months. State Foster programs vary widely and may not provide the support needed for foster children to attend camps. If you are working outside of the home as well as doing foster care or tending to any children, child care becomes an issue. Planning for summertime activities is daunting. While summer camps are quite popular, they can also be expensive, and certainly have to be picked carefully.

You need to be sure that the interests of your child are taken into consideration along with your financial abilities, along with your own schedule. If you have more than one child, the differences may be such that they can't go to the same camp or even day care. Sometimes they are at that awkward age where you have a 12 or 13 year old child you are comfortable leaving alone, but if you were to leave "her" with her 9 year old brother, there might be blood on the walls when you returned home.

There is no easy answer for how to handle the preparations for summer. Not only can financial concerns be an issue, but there may be health concerns, or counselling concerns, or a myriad of other issues that can come up along the way.

So, what have we done for Shyanne. Well, we have broken the summer up into three parts. The first part is before our trip out to Oregon to see our son Barry. It is only a couple of weeks after school gets out, and that time will be like a miniature vacation. We are even going to spend a weekend up in York Beach, Maine. There is the part of the summer between when we get back from Oregon and my mother comes to visit for the month of August. Then there is the month of August when my mother is visiting with us.

We have signed her up for a number of town recreation programs during the parts of the summer before my mother comes. These are all programs that run between 8 and noon each day. They will keep Shy busy with things that she likes, but also keep parts of every day, and all of the weekend days available for family time together. Whether it be with or without my mother.

I think we have found a good balance of things to keep her busy, and time to have together as a family. We are all looking forward to the summer, which for a Cape Cod family gets started in earnest this weekend. So what do we have planned for this weekend.....well, I am painting the master bedroom on Saturday. but other than that, we should have time together and if the weather holds out, maybe a little walk/picnic on one of the beaches will be the way to go. Or maybe a trip to the beautiful Heritage Gardens will be in order. Maybe one of those on Sunday and the other on Monday. That is one thing about living on the Cape. There is so much to do and so much to see, we should have a wonderful summer.

Good luck to all of you in planning your summer.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rainy Days, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Regifting

Yesterday was rainy and Monday. Today is rainy and Tuesday. I really don't mind Mondays much. Sure, I hate the weekend to be over as we have so much fun, but Monday isn't all that bad. I do however not like the rain. I know it makes the flowers grow and the grass green, and our yard does look absolutely beautiful this time of year, but why can't it just rain at night? That would be best.

Right now, sitting in my office and for the last two days all I have seen is grey skies and rain. I really don't like it. I know that Shyanne doesn't like it either. When I picked her up from dance yesterday she told me how she had to spend recess inside. She was upset about a picture she drew. She said she worked very hard on it during half of her recess and then gave it to a friend of hers I will call Mary. The reason she was upset is that that Mary wrote on it to: "Judy"  From: Mary and gave it to Judy. Shyanne didn't like that. she said she had worked hard on it to give it to Mary and it wasn't nice that Mary turned around and gave it away.

I tried to explain to her that since both Mary and Judy are friends, it didn't really matter, and since she hadn't told Mary that she couldn't give it away, then it was OK for Mary to do with it as she pleased. I suggested in the future, she might want to sign all of her art work so that the person who ends up with it knows who the real artist was, if that was her concern.

It seems that wasn't her concern. Her concern was that she worked hard on it for this one person who then gave it to another person.

Her first experience with "regifting". I guess I never really thought about how the original person would feel about their gift being given to someone else, but then as an adult, I would probably never tell anyone that I had given their gift to another person. Having said that, I have never regifted a gift. I hear about it all the time, and you see it on Sitcoms on television, but does it really happen all that often? I don't really know, but what I do know is that Shyanne doesn't like her gifts being regifted AND she doesn't like inside recess due to rain. My guess is there won't be any regifting today, but she will still be disappointed again today. It is pouring out.


Friday, May 18, 2012

I Am Not Quite Ready For This

There are some things that I am just not ready for. Not that there is a time I will be ready for them, but there is a time when you expect certain things to happen whether you are ready for them or not. Then there are things that happen so unexpectedly that you just can't be ready for them whether you thought they would happen at some time or another anyway! Then of course there is the expecting the unexpected, but then if you expected it how could it have been unexpected. If you try to get ready for something then aren't you prepared for it even if you say you aren't prepared for it. So how can you know be ready for something when it happens if you knew it was going to happen, even if you thought it would be later?

Have I got you totally confused? If you would like, you can go back and read that first paragraph again. I guarantee it won't make any more or less sense then it did the first time you read it. Anyway.........

Yesterday I got home after being away for three days. I got home before Shy got home from school and I changed into my shorts and a t-shirt thinking that she would love to play a little basketball with me out on the driveway when she got back with DW from the bus. Well, she did come down the driveway to say hello to me and give me a quick hug and kiss hello, but then it was off to play with the boy across the street. She had no desire to play basketball with me today.

Then it wasn't long after that the new boy next door came by with his mommy. He wanted to know if Shyanne could play with him. DW explained to his mother that she was across the street with the other boy and was sure it would be OK if he went as well.

A short time later I looked into our backyard and there were Shy and the two boys playing on the swing set. The three of them were having a great time together. It was really wonderful. When we lived in Maine there wasn't an opportunity like that as there were no other kids close to Shy's age that loved close enough to us. Now there are a number of kids and as they grow older and their limits are stretched, I expect to see more kids in our backyard playing and coming into the house for snacks and all. I love that and think it is fantastic that Shy feels comfortable enough to bring her friends over.

Even if they are boys...........After dinner Shy and I went to the store together. We got to talking about all her friends she has here and I found out that the boy across the street and the new one next store are her "best friends" not Sofie, or Isabella, or May or Lilly, but Jacob and Cameron. And it isn't just those two!!!

Shyanne has a date tonight. That is right. At 6 years old, she is having her first date. It is with a boy from her class. I think his name is Alex. Now this is nothing all that big, but it is a date. I guess his Dojo (karate school) has a pizza and movie night every so often. When this little boy came home from his last class he told his mother that the movie this week was "Tangled" and he knew that Shyanne liked this movie and he wanted to ask her to come with him. So............she has a date at the Dojo with Alex.

I am just not ready for this........On the good side......DW and I have a dinner date of our own a nice restaurant along the nice is that!!!

Monday, May 14, 2012

First Red Sox Game

Yesterday DW and I took Shy to her first Red Sox game at Fenway Park. Now it was a great event really for all three of us. Besides being Shy's first trip to Fenway, it was also Mother's Day. It goes without saying why that would be important. Lastly, the tickets were bought for me in April by my children as a birthday present.

So....everybody was celebrating something. Now, the good news is that it was a big win for the Red Sox. (12-1) They haven't been getting a lot of wins so far this year, so any win is a good one. Although they have three in a row at this writing.

The bad news is that I didn't see as much of the game as I normally do. I was spending more time (and money) watching and buying for Shyanne. She had a Hot Dog, PopCorn, Cotton Candy, Coke and Water and Lemonade inside the ball park. I also bought her a miniature pink bat and of course a pink baseball to go with it.

The best part once the Red Sox got the lead though was watching Shyanne enjoying the game. She was clapping along with cheers that other fans had started. She learned about the wave and watched very carefully for when it was our turn to participate.She also just sat there taking in the sights and sounds.

She loved singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" too. Although I don't quite get that one. I mean we were already at the ballgame. Why would we ask someone to take us there if we are already there.....and the part about never coming back is a bit much, don't you think? But anyway, I digress. so she liked that and if you haven't been to Fenway Park before there is always the rendition of "Sweet Caroline" that is played in the middle of the 8th inning that Shyanne seemed truly amazed by.

So, while the Red Sox did some great things offensively, and I am sure made some good plays defensively as well, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had a 5 RBI day, the best part of the day for me was watching Shyanne. It was just as much fun as watching Amy Barry and Kari at their first games at Fenway Park. And while they are all memorable to me, my most memorable one is my first game that my grandfather took me to when I was a whole lot younger than I am now. I hope this game will always be a good memory for Shyanne.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Some Things are Truly Amazing

Our eldest daughter Amy received her MBA last weekend. We were there for the "hooding" and the graduation. It was a wonderful event and we are certainly very proud of her, I never thought in a million years that this was something she would do, but she did it and we are very happy for her and her accomplishment.

It was not, however the highlight of the weekend. While that was indeed the only reason we went up to Maine and it was a very short trip, the most exciting part of the trip was when she told us she was pregnant with her first child. (another little one to call me papa!). Now that is exciting.

This has however brought up a lot of questions from Shyanne about how the baby gets in there and gets out of there. We have been answering them in a way that we feel is appropriate for a 6 year old little girl. We simply told her that after a man and a woman fall in love and get married God puts a baby in the woman's tummy. As far as how it gets out, we told her how her two older sisters and brothers were born. That the doctor took them out of her tummy. Since DW had C-Sections for all three, that was the truth.

Then she wanted to know when then happened. So we told her all the dates that Amy, Barry, and Kari were born. her replay was a question of total amazement:

                             You mean they were all born on their birthday!!!!!!??????!!!!!!

Yes Shy, they were. Some things are just truly amazing!


Hey!!! I am going to be a PAPA again!!!!!!! I am so excited!!!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Forever Families Camp

For those of you who don't know about it, Jewish Family Services of Greenwich runs a weekend camp for Jewish families touched by adoption. DW, Shyanne and I went for the first time last year. The camp is located in Pennsylvania at an NJ Y camp. We had a wonderful time and Shyanne loved it so much she wanted to go back from the moment we left. So in about 5 1/2 weeks we will head out to Pennsylvania for another weekend of fun, friends, and learning.

We all learned a lot last year at camp and are hoping to have fun learning more this year. The reason I bring it up today is we just got an e-mail asking for informaiton for this year's camp. DW and I asnwered the questions and are hopeful that we will come back form this experience with more good informaiton like last year.

It is nice just to be around other families who share a commonality in their life. At our new Synogogue, we are told we are the only family with an adopted child. I really find that hard to believe in this day and age, but that is what we are told. So being around other families touched by adoption is certainly nice for us, and also nice for Shyanne. I am getting more excited about going back and just being able to relax and enjoy ourselves together as a family. Not having to worry about any outside pressures or what we are having for dinner or anything else. We can just be together as a family and enjoy our weekend as well as maybe bring home some helpful hints for dealing with some of the problems we have as well as how to celebrate the joys we have. I can't wait!!

I have no idea if there is any room left for this year as it is so close (the dates are June 8-10), but Debbie Schwartz runs the camp and informaiton can be found at the following URL. If it is too late for this year, it is definitely something to think about for next year.


Monday, April 30, 2012


This weekend we bought a basketball hoop for Shyanne. It is one that is adjustable from 7'6" to 10'. That way, it should last until she no longer has an interest in basketball. Whenever that is. It could be next week, and it might not be until after college. In any event, I know that at some point in her life, she will no longer be interested in shooting hoops in the driveway with Dad.

That was not the case after the hoop was all put together and ready to go. Shy and I spent some time shooting hoops in the yard yesterday after it was all put together, and she went out with her mother this morning before school and shot some more hoops. If we keep going at this rate, she might actually start making more baskets than she misses.

No one really cares though. It is a fun thing for all of us to do together and shy certainly enjoys it.

Of course you could look at it as another milestone in the growth of a child. There is the new swing set (she has that) there is the scooter and bicycle (she has those) Now there is the basketball hoop. Of course she can't ride her bike yet without training wheels, but I feel that coming this Spring or Summer. We are hopeful that she will learn and we can all get new bikes and bicycle on some of the many bike trails that Cape Cod has to offer.

There are lots of milestones in life and they seem to come rapidly when you are age 6. Of course they still come at older ages, but they aren't as frequent. There is the first boyfriend, the first job, there is graduating high school or college or getting married, or having a baby. There is moving to a new state, or moving to a new state again. There is buying a new house and all the work that goes along with that.

They are all milestones that we all look at differently. What is an important milestone for one, may not be so important for another. I am sure there are not many people who care that Shyanne got a new basketball hoop this weekend, but she sure does.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is my daughter Amy. She never had a basketball hoop, but she did have a bicycle and other all of those other things. She had her first date (I wasn't crazy about that). The graduated high school. A wonderful day. She graduated College. Another wonderful day. She came to her first job out of college and moved back in with us.....mixed reaction there.

She found the man she loved and they recently bought a home together. They have worked hard on it and it really looks beautiful. I am looking forward to staying in it again this weekend. It is certainly a wonderful place to be. While it is on a main road, it is surrounded by conservation land and is quite peaceful there. More important is the reason we are going up there. Another milestone.

Amy will be getting her MBA this weekend. We are all so proud of her. She has worked hard both working and going to school over the last few years to achieve this degree and she has really earned it.

So what does that have to do with adoption or foster care......nothing, but I can't always write just about Shyanne. Especially when one of my children has an achievement like Amy has this weekend. I can't wait to see her get her Masters Degree.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Nightly Visits

We are back to nightly visits......And they aren't from the sandman. Shyanne is back to coming into our bedroom every night. Most nights she climbs into bed with us at some point after we are both asleep and makes our sleep miserable. Unfortunately, we don't know why our sleep is miserable until we wake up and see her there.

We are unsure of what has started this again. We thought we had overcome this previously. Last night she came out after we had put her to bed and she said she was scared. She was unable to relate anything scary to us, and eventually, after promising to tuck her into her bed for the third time, she went back to sleep. Then when we woke up this morning, there she was.

We have tried to give her all kinds of ways to keep herself in her own room and to fall back asleep in there after she wakes up, but to no avail. We have kept her light on. We have kept the hall light on. We have placed books by her bed so she can read if she wakes up. It does not matter. She still wants to be with us, in our room, and in our bed.

It isn't working for us. There is only one sure way to keep her out of our bed, and that would be to close and lock our bedroom door. That is not something that we consider to be safe, and therefore would not be an option. Her therapist has talked to her about this, but there still hasn't been a real answer. This leads us to the only possible reason for her coming into our bedroom at night.......

I don't know.

Maybe she just feels more comfortable being with us at night then being alone. That is fine, but I can assure you we don't feel more comfortable with her in our bed.

Maybe she is afraid we won't be there when she wakes up. We tell her there is nothing to worry about there and that we are indeed her "forever" family.

Maybe she is truly afraid of something in the house or about her room that scares her. If she is, she isn't telling us and I wish she would so we could correct it.

Anyone out there have any ideas?


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Vacation Week

This week has been vacation week for children in the Massachusetts schools, so Shyanne has been off all week. She is participating in a little cheer leading camp for two days this week, and the culmination is this afternoon when DW and I will go to watch the cheer her group of girls will have been working on. I am looking forward to it.

On Monday and Tuesday Kari, our formerly youngest daughter, was up to visit with our grandson and son-in-law. Shy thoroughly enjoyed that visit and when it was time to go, she wouldn't let go of Kari. She really does love her sisters and hates to be away from them. She will get to see them again in a couple of weeks when we go to Maine. We are also hoping she will get a chance to see her youngest biological brother while we are up for this trip.

Yesterday she played with the boy across the street. They are both in first grade and they play very well together, and love each other's company. I kind of wonder how long that will last. It is certainly convenient for them to enjoy playing together.

I remember having girls that were friends I could play with when I was that age. I remember that lasting up until about 3rd grade. After 3rd grade, I guess it was no longer "cool" to have girls as friends you played with. The girls had to play with the girls and the boys with the boys. Is it still that way? I wonder about that. What is it like for kids in this day and age? I am just happy that she plays outside. We don't allow her much time in the house when the weather is nice. All she does is want to watch TV and while we are not opposed to that, we don't want to over do it either.

So, I have digressed. My main point is that she has had a good vacation so far. There have been a couple of minor upsets through the course of the week, but nothing major. She has kept busy and she is really doing well. I hope this is a sign of moving onto a new stage of maturity. A new stage where she doesn't get too frustrated. A new stage where life becomes a little easier for all of us. It would be so nice.

Another indication....last night I was sitting watching TV after she went to bed. She came out of her room and I was about to say something when she looked at me and said: "I love you daddy". Then she turned around and went back to bed.

I live for those moments!!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

When Does Special Become "Different"

Let me start by saying that shyanne is doing very well. She loves school and is excelling there. She loves all of her activities, including swimming, dance, basketball, soccer, T-ball and Sunday School. I could go on and on, but I have to say a few things about her and other children in general.

Whenever a child is "different" than her friends, we always want to say "that is what makes you special"

We have told Shyanne that because she is adopted, she is special.
We have told shyanne that because she has biological siblings as well as adopted siblings, she is special.
We have told Shyanne that because she celebrates different holidays, being Jewish, she is special.
We have told Shyanne that because she is the only one in her class with red hair, she is special.

At what point does "special" no longer work for her? At what point do we stop using "special" as a reason for all the things that make her different?

At what point do we stop making all her friends seem less special than her because we tell her she is special?

Now, I have to tell you that Shaynne is certainly special to us, but then aren't all children (biological or adopted) special to their parents. Maybe that is the answer. Maybe she should just be told that she is special to us. I don't want her to think she is "better" than her friends" when I am really just trying to make her feel good about herself.

It is just so difficult in this day and age to make a child feel special when they aren't feeling that way themselves. Again, Shyanne I know feels special now, but I don't want to turn that into a bad thing as time goes on.

Anyway, just something I was thinking about today. What are your thoughts?


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Adjusting to Change

is not something that Shyanne does well.

I am not sure if it is because of her background, or it is just the way she is, but it is definitely something she doesn't like. It took her a few months to get used to our move, and that was something we expected. It is hard, especially when you are so close with your siblings that are nearby and then you move away. We still see them as much as possible, but it is not as much as any of us would like.

Still, Shy got through it and has adjusted well to her new house, surroundings, and especially school. She seems to really be excelling in school and doing very well. We will find out for sure today as we have a parent teacher conference in a few hours, but all indications are that she is doing very well.........except....

When they rearrange seats. Her teacher changes seats every couple of months. They have tables set up in the classroom and they change tables and people at tables. I am not sure why the teacher does it. I can imagine there are all sorts of good reasons. I can come up with a few myself, but that is not what is important here.

What is important is that every time seats are changed we get an email from her teacher that she didn't behave in school that day. We all know what the reason is....the change......what we don't know is why she is so sensitive to changes that are so small. The classroom is not that big. Whoever is at the same table she used to be at is no further than 10 or 15 feet from her when they move. The whole class is not that big and there are only 4 tables anyway.

This is not the only thing that she doesn't like, but it is a perfect example of how poorly she adapts to change. I am hoping it is an "age appropriate" type thing, and not something that is the result of her background. I guess as she grows we will find out more about that, but for now, we just have to help her get through any anxiety she has about these small changes and bear with her.

On the good side, we are not planning any major changes for years to come, so all should be good and hopefully her school work will continue to be good. I will try to get here and report out on our parent/teacher conference tomorrow!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Older Adoptive Parenting

So this past weekend was very busy and Shyanne handled it wonderfully. She is really maturing at a more rapid pace then she had been. I am thinking it is good, but then wondering if her "teen" years will start earlier than we had planned. Actually, the earlier they start, I guess the better.

"Why?" you ask. We will be younger and hopefully better able to deal with it. Here I go again with the age thing. I just can't get it out of my mind. All my thoughts it seems revolve around how old I am and how old Shy is. When she is entering high school, I will be this age. When she is ready to start looking at colleges I will be that age. Who knows when she will get married, or even if she will get married. Will I even be here to walk her down the aisle. If I am not, who will?

What about if/when she starts playing sports in high school? We will be well into our 60's at that point. I am sure everyone will think we are her grandparents, and while I don't care what other people think, how will those bleachers feel on a 60 something year old bottom? Will it matter if I am watching Shyanne have a good time and do well at whatever it is she has chosen to participate in.

Right now I am thinking the theater and dance are a good thing for her. She is already into dancing. She goes every week and takes ballet, jazz, and tap. She seems to really like it. Most importantly, the seats will be much more comfortable on a 60-ish bottom. Won't they?

She still worries about whether or not DW and I are really her "forever" family. She doesn't actually come out and say it, but her actions and testing certainly seem to indicate that is in the back of her mind. I want to make sure I am around to truly be her "forever" father. She deserves that.

I don't know why age is a constant issue with me, but it is. I am frequently thinking about it. It was the final issue we addressed before making the determination to adopt. I want to be there for all the important things in Shy's life. ..............Doesn't every dad?


Friday, April 6, 2012

How Insightful Can A 6 Year Old Be?


Pretty insightful!!

So, what brings this up. Shyanne has been going to "play therapy" for a few years now. Since she was about 3. She started with a wonderful woman in Maine who worked with her, as well as DW and me. Shy enjoyed going there. She got a chance to play with her. She had a lot of dolls and a doll house and some other age appropriate toys that she just loved to play with.

When we moved, one of our first priorities was to find a similar therapist here. We asked around a lot and finally got the name of a woman who had time to see her. She started seeing Shy, as well as DW and me, and we have been happy with her.

Shy has been happy with her too. She is no longer only wanting to play with dolls and doll houses though. She has advanced to some pretty interesting games. Some games of strategy as well that are billed for much older children, but none the less, she plays them. According to her therapist she not only plays them, but understands them, and understands the strategy involved in some pretty advanced games that she has. Usually games that she reserves for much older children.

That is not the insightful part though.

This past Tuesday Shyanne had an epiphany. She now has come to realize that she doesn't go there JUST "to play" as she previous thought. It is no longer a "play date" to her. It is someone she can talk to about all sorts of things. Someone who will understand and help her to understand issues and someone she can talk to.

Now that is pretty insightful for a 6 year old if you ask me!!

Of course I am happy that she is bright and insightful and "gets it" and all of that. It shows she is growing and maturing. All the things we hope for our children. On the other hand, I wish it wouldn't happen quite so fast.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Adoption Day

By far one of the most exciting days of my life. Yes it was just as exciting as the day my biological children were born and the day I married my wonderful wife.

Today, an individual I have never met in person, but have come to know over the last few years through this blog and hers is having her day.

Congratulations to Melissa, Little Buddy, and SweetPea. Be sure to drop by and pass along your thoughts at:

Monday, April 2, 2012

Scared Stage....It's All Worthwhile


So last night I put Shy to bed. It was only about 10 minutes later when she came out to the living room and said she was scared. Of course we asked her what she was afraid of and she responded with "I don't know, I am just scared"

We tried to make her feel better saying that we were here and there was nothing to be scared of. She wasn't buying it. She just kept saying she was scared and didn't want to be alone in her bedroom. No matter what we said, it wasn't helping.

She wanted to be with an "adult" as she put it.

We tried for about 10 minutes to get her to go back to bed, but she kept telling us she was scared and didn't know what she was scared of. When she started to cry and it looked like she was going to get hysterical, we said that she could lie down on the couch next to mommy and fall asleep.

She was good with that, and indeed fell asleep. In only about 10 minutes. It was certainly easier to let her fall asleep there then it was to try to get her back into bed. Whether or not we will pay for that with a future desire to fall asleep with us remains to be seen.

As regular readers know, it has always been an issue with Shy to fall asleep in her own bed. She spent a long time where she would not stay in her room at all and would not fall asleep at all. She would stay awake until DW and I went to bed and then come into our room. She would not stay in her room and fall asleep there no matter what. We finally got through that stage and have been "blessed" with her appearance on a random basis. Sometimes going weeks without seeing her in our room to stretches of three days in a row where we would wake up with her asleep in our bed.

Last night, however was the first time she came out while we were still up and was saying she was scared but didn't know of what. When talking to a fellow worker, she has started with the same issue with her little girl who is about the same age as Shy. Fortunately for them, there is an older sister and that is where the younger girl chooses to go.

I guess it is just a stage that we will have to endure. We shall see how often it comes up that she has to fall asleep in the living room with us. On the other side of the coin, when I carried her into her bedroom, she did wake up when I laid her down. She didn't ask to get up and come back with us, and in fact, didn't' get up the rest of the night. She did turn to me as I was leaving the room and say:

"Daddy, um, er, will you, um, um, will you tell mommy, um, please just tell mommy that
I love her."

Somehow that makes it all worthwhile.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Getting Involved.

We received the e-mail yesterday. Shy has a T-Ball coach and the name of her team is "Grasshoppers". The shirts are really cool too. I am sure she will like them.

So next Saturday morning, bright and early at 7:00am we will be getting up to go to the T-Ball fields for a "field day". I think it may just be a clean-up day, but we will go anyway. In my previous life as a parent with my three biological children I was very involved in Little League. I was even league president for 4 years, so I want to be sure to be involved in everything I can with Shyanne, as long as I am able to.

So now she will continue with her Daisy Scouts on Mondays. Swimming on Wednesdays, and apparently T-Ball will be on Saturdays, or maybe during the week too. I think we will be getting our schedule when we go to the Field Day next Saturday.

Oh, did I mention DW is running the book fair at Shy's school next week. She gets involved too. Also, the principal of Shy's school resigned so they have set up a search committee for a new principal. It turns out, I am on that search committee as a parent volunteer. This is what we did when our biological children were growing up.

So, what is it my biological children are doing?....Well, Amy is an assistant to a dean at Husson University in Bangor, Maine. She will also be receiving her MBA on May 5th!! We will certainly be there for that. Amy is married and has 2 stepchildren. A boy and a girl. Kari is a teacher in East Millinocket, Maine. She teaches 2nd grade this year. She is married and has a little boy. Barry is a newscast director at a television station in Portland, Oregon. We are going out there in July to visit with him for a few days and really looking forward to it. He is not married.

I am not sure if our involvement in school and other activities helped out our three children, but I am so very proud of all three of them and where they are in their life now. As a result, I want to do make sure I do as much of the same for Shyanne. She certainly deserves just as much to have a rewarding and productive life.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

another lost tooth


Shyanne lost her second tooth yesterday. And when I say she lost it, I mean she lost it. We don't know where it is, or even when it fell out. Our assumption is that she lost it while eating something and she swallowed it, but she didn't even know she lost it.

She came home from school and when she opened her mouth DW noticed right away. When DW said something it looked like a real melt down was about to occur. I am not sure why she was about to have the meltdown, but DW with her experience with past similar situations and her quick thinking immediately told Shy she would have to write a letter to the tooth fairy to explain what had happened.

She told her she might even want to draw a picture for the tooth fairy. That calmed her down. I think she may have been worried that the tooth fairy wouldn't come if there wasn't a real tooth.

Then, we left her at the babysitter and we went out to eat. when we got home, Shy was asleep. I carried her into bed and covered her up and that was the end of it. about 4:00am this morning, Shy woke up DW and told her the tooth fairy hadn't come yet....Oh My!!! We had forgotten about it. Shame on us. Thankfully it was still night time. DW put her back into bed and then made sure there would be something under the pillow when she awakes this morning.

Another disaster averted on two counts thanks to DW.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Visit With One Biological Brother

Well, unfortunately we were only able to visit with one of Shy's biological brothers. Two, I don't think she will ever get to see until they are old enough to do it on their own. For some reason, their adoptive parents don't seem too interested in maintaining that relationship. The last brother (the one closest to Shy in age) was unable to make the trip up, and we were unable to stop by on our way back. We are planning on making that stop in May when we go down.

Before I get too into the visit though, I do have one funny (I thought so) little exchange that took place on the way up. There was a manufactured home stopped on the side of the road with the requisite "WIDE LOAD" pick-up truck behind it. The driver was out checking something out and I turned to Shy and said:

"Look Shy, there is a house on the side of the road!"

Shy looked at me and said "Where?

I said "Right there" pointing to it as we drove by.

Shy responded with: "Daddy, that's not a house, that's a trailer with windows!"


We went to Kari's house and spent the weekend at her place. We did spend most of Saturday with Amy, as she was the birthday girl this weekend. DW took Amy out for lunch and that is when Shy and I went to visit her brother. The brother we visited is the third of the 5 biological full brothers and sister. He is 9 years old, and there is little doubt when you look at the children together that they are brother and sister.

I called ahead to his adoptive mother to see if I could take him to lunch at McDonald's with Shyanne, and she thought that was great. When we first arrived, he was outside shooting baskets. Shy went over and gave him a big hug and started to shoot baskets as well. Since she is so small, the first thing her brother did was lower the net so that she could make baskets. How nice of him.

As a matter of fact, he was quite nice to her the whole time. Treating her as any big brother would treat his little sister.I was quite impressed. We had a great conversation. He said that school was going well for him except he did get in trouble a couple of times. Apparently he is a fighter at school. I know he has had a lot of problems with that. I think some of it relates to the fact that he had three different families during foster care. The first family he was placed with had both him and the youngest boy. It seems he was having problems getting along with one of the existing children and they had to place him somewhere else.

The second family he was placed with was a single father. He had adopted one child through foster care previously. We are not sure what exactly happened here, but he was removed from that situation for reasons that were not totally clear to us. It was that gentleman's intent to adopt him as well. Anyway, when he was removed from that house, he was placed in foster care with the family that has adopted him. I think that changing of families helped to create some of the issues he had.

Anyway, there were two significant conversations that took place while we were at McDonald's.
The first one, her brother asked me if Shy was adopted. I was kind of surprised as he was at her adoption party and she was the first one adopted, but I simply answered that she was indeed adopted. He said that was good and that all of his brothers were also adopted as well as him. He also thought it was good that they all got to visit with each other. He is the one child that has contact with all of the siblings. The two oldest only have contact with him when they have a shared therapy session together. The two youngest also only have contact with him. IN any event, he seemed happy about that, and I was happy we were able to arrange the meeting for them this weekend.

The other conversation of note was after Shy looked at me and called me "daddy". Her brother looked at me and said "She calls you daddy?"

I said that she did and that she called her mother mommy. I then asked what he called his parents. He told me that he called them by their first names. He then said that they had been asking him to call them mom and dad, but that he just wasn't used to it yet. I think that is understandable given his past and the situation he finds himself in. I think that age also plays a part in the whole thing as well.

I know that there will be changes in the way things are with Shy as well, as she goes through different phases of her life. We will deal with them as they come and do the best we can for her. I do hope that her brother feels comfortable enough to call his new adoptive parents mom and dad before too long. They are really good people, and I know it would make their day.