Friday, December 20, 2013

Not what I thought it would be....

     As Christmas approaches and I look at our new son, who is right now enjoying family Christmas movie night,  I am thinking about how lucky we really are. I was asked today at the bookstore if I wanted to donate a toy to a child in foster care, and I thought, "Lady if you only knew what was under that tree!"   It is no secret in my family that I have wanted to adopt forever - literally since I was a child.  I used to read books about families that adopted, and then when the blog "thing" started I quickly found adoptive families that I followed. I generally followed blogs about foreign adoption - except for fosterhood (because I love her humor), so when Brian wanted to start the process through foster care, I honestly expected the worst.
     I thought we would have huge emotional issues, and perhaps mess up what we have going with our daughters.  I thought people from DSS would be sort of invasive with their questions, and looking for reasons why we wouldn't work. I thought the child would resent us some because we aren't his first family and lash out with violence or willful misbehavior.
      I was wrong.
      YES, he leaves everything EVERYWHERE.... but cheerfully picks them up when reminded. He would rather play games and build with Lego than go to school, but he didn't have the successful start our daughters had. He doesn't hit anyone, but has asked if we do - and was visibly relieved that we don't. After school he runs to the house to drop his things on the floor, but then runs back to either help Blondie or me get the rest of the things out of the car.  He grudgingly put in time to learn multiplication (the first hole in education we plugged) and when he saw that it got easier, he was proud of himself. He came here playing mature video games that we don't generally allow anyone under 16 to play, and doesn't ask any more.  He raked the yard to earn money to buy his birth sisters Christmas presents, and then gave me a one-armed hug when I paid for them myself. The two times he has gotten really frustrated it was more about missing his first family than anything else. The homework struggle is going to continue for awhile, but I think it has to do with lacking skills, and testing boundaries.  He is learning that 100% of the time I won't let him slack on the work. He doesn't believe in Santa Claus, but is checking out where the Elf hides EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
    The folks at DSS have been nothing but kind, and working like crazy with us to make everything work. They've seen the craft closet all over the floor, and didn't bat an eye.  I had the GAL show up with one hour notice and not worry that the backpacks were still in the entry way, and the beds were unmade that day. When they heard my grandfather passed away they pushed through paperwork so we can take The Boy with us over break - keeping in mind they are all about to start their own vacations with their families.  They have given up evenings and Saturdays to work around our schedule to visit with him, and delivered Christmas presents to his sisters for us, as well as work to keep the kids connected.
     The birth family is still a bit of a mystery for me as to how it will work out.  Right now it doesn't sound like a good idea to call them, and I think it would upset The Boy.  I really would prefer something where he could write letters, or email them, but I think that will be down the road when birth mom is healthier.  Right now when he tears up (has happened a couple times) I agree with him that, "it sucks" what happened to him, but when he is able to see first mom again she is going to be so proud of him. I am glad though that he is starting to process all that has happened in the last few years because apparently he didn't talk about it at all in foster care.  In the meantime we're going to call his older sister periodically,  and keep plugging away at school one goal at a time.  We'll work on what he wants to call us, and how to pick up toys when we want to do something else, and just keep taking it one day at a time with our son.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Photo Shoot part 2

The pictures on the last post were my husband Brian's.  While he was taking those, my Mom had these going.....

This is our American Bulldog/Boxer mix. She is honestly the best dog we have ever had in our house.  She thinks she is in charge of the kids and follows them everywhere.  If they get too rough she intervenes. If they swim out too far she goes after them and circles them until they come in.

Here is Blondie with Maggie. 

Mom got some great pics of Big Al and her friend "C."  I like the ones of them looking more natural...... although this picture was really of "C" being incredibly uncomfortable. 

Mom selected this place in the college owned gardens near our house.  I love the peeling paint. 

"L" had some gorgeous pictures too.  Hope she gets them for her mom for Christmas, or at least copies her on the email. 

I wish I could share the family picture she took of all of us, but I'm not allowed to share pics of "the boy" yet.  Soon we hope.   If you liked these photos let my mom know in the comment section below.  She isn't sure she is ready yet to turn this into a business. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Family Photo Shoot - probably part 1.

     I gave my Mom and Brian the task of getting fall pictures of all of the kids, and a family portrait.  I want them all put on canvas for my kitchen wall.  Mom had previously taken the other four out and taken pics, but Big Al was always busy.  Today didn't have any major plans, so we took all of them, plus Big Al's boyfriend "C" and her friend "L" out as well. The boy was with us today too, I just can't post his picture yet.

While Mom took Big Al, C, and L, Brian grabbed Blondie and T-Rex and photographed them.  Mom is going to send the pictures she took a little later.

Mom had taken the other kids to this path, and I wanted Big Al there too.  Big Al was more interested in pictures with her friends. 

Some were serious......

some involved hair flipping....

others were just hilarious. 

Some of us got bored waiting for our turn..... 

and took their sister's iphone (birthday present) and started shooting a bunch of selfies. 

We caught up with my sister and my nephew, Super S, and had a great time playing with him. 

Big Al has just celebrated her 17th birthday, so it was a great time to commemorate the occasion. 

While Big Al and C were snapping pics with my Mom, L and I tried to photobomb...... but SOMEONE WOULDN'T JUST TURN THE CAMERA AND INCLUDE US...... 

 So we were busted. 

T-Rex hates taking pictures, but was sort of game for today. She is enjoying high school, and finished up cross country with a lot of personal records. 

Little people who get bored want to do what their older cousins are doing, and try to jump the benches.

Then our crew headed home. When Mom sends some of the ones she took I'll post those too. 

Whirlwind 4 weeks

     In the last post I mentioned how Brian and I, and the girls had met the boy.  That Thursday he came over for Halloween. We dropped him back with foster mom, and then picked him up Friday for his first weekend. We knew it was the right match 100% when it felt good all weekend, and we didn't want to take him back.  It seemed rather pointless, and he thought so too.  The next weekend he mentioned it as we took him back too.  It's dark, and Brian, Big Al and I are in the car with him, and he says, "This is stupid, when am I moving in?" And that was it. We called the adoption worker, who then spoke to him, and since we were all on the same page he moved in on the following weekend.  
    The only bumps happened at school, but nothing major - probably typical for any boy changing schools...... and families. He seems to have settled right in.  He tests boundaries, especially homework, but so far he knows we mean everything, and we haven't had to do much.
     Thanksgiving was fantastic.  My mom, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, Sister and Nephew joined us.  He has handled every meeting of family very well, but we know he can only handle a few people at once.  The "rules" say we can't post his picture or his name, so that left me in a mess with the blog.  The name is easy, all of my kids have pseudonyms, but the pics are tough.  I think we'll try the blurred out face, or sticker over his face until court his over with.  We are waiting on an adoption date.... sometime between now and Christmas. He asked me yesterday what was taking so long, and I told him it wouldn't change anything, and that seemed to reassure him. So, be patient with me as I either edit pics for shots without him, or the back of his head, or some smiley face pasted over his, but ultimately I don't want him to feel left out of the family blog.  He knows the rules, and he understands the reasons, and he knows we would put him in if we could.  We're content with starting his new scrapbook of pictures, and listening to him when he speaks of his first family, and how frustrated he is that some kids can go back and he couldn't.  He is very matter of fact about this whole process and his finding his way each day.  On our end we are trying to prioritize what we have to work on so as not to overwhelm him, and spend a lot of time with him so he knows he can come to us. It is definitely a worthy process.