Tag Archives: parenting

Happy National Adoption Day!

Well it has been a while since I have updated this blog–AGAIN–but lots has happened! My friend asked me the other day to add another post so this one’s for you, girl! πŸ™‚

Last time I wrote we were going to move. Well we didn’t. The foreclosure we put a contract on took too long to get the title cleared so we were able to withdraw from the contract and get most of our earnest money back. We did not want to be in a situation where title clouds could come up later and we would have to spend money on legal fees to get rid of them. Want to know how I know this? Because of this experience and the fact that all the kids were going to be in school, I decided to do real estate! I studied all summer and passes my exam at the end of August. I love it and the schedule has been great!

So we decided to remodel our house instead and transfer the kids to a new school district. We put the girls upstairs together in the big room and made the smaller room their playroom. Then we made my middle daughter’s old room into a guest room and put a double bed in my son’s room so when both grandmas come, we can put my son on a pullout twin bed in the study, which is now his playroom. Separate playrooms has made a HUGE difference in arguing and fighting! We remodeled our kitchen cabinets and our stairway and added a pool, hot tub and deck to our backyard. Whooo hooo! πŸ™‚

The kids are learning soooo much in the new school and I am very pleased with their progress. We had to get my oldest a tutor to help her catch up since she did not learn what she was supposed to in K at the old school. So frustrating for her and us but it has gotten a lot better. The tutor is a lady from our choir who is a retired school teacher and offered to help us for free. God bless her and people like her!

My middle child is doing amazingly well in K, which I knew she would. She did not want to go, though, so two weeks before school started she decided to start wetting the bed every night and has not stopped.

She thinks this will change the fact she has to go to school but it has not. It is her control thing. The only thing she can control is where she goes to the bathroom so she holds it in when she is supposed to go before bed and then wets the bed. I knew it was on purpose because for the six months before that her bed was dry. Just to make sure I had the doc check at her yearly check-up but he concurred that my hypothesis was correct–on purpose!

So in order to make sure she was the only one to suffer from this attempt to manipulate us, I told her she could wet the bed as much as she wanted but it was her responsibility to clean it up and once I wash the sheets, she has to put them back on. All her. She is an EXPERT in making beds should anyone want to hire her out! πŸ™‚ She quits for a couple nights when she wants something (Halloween candy; special dessert, etc.) but then starts up again. Whatever. Eventually she will get tired of it and quit. For Thanksgiving we are taking a sleeping bag for her and will put a trash bag under it just in case.

My youngest is doing really well in school and at home. He is often the only one to get special rewards each day and week because he follows the rules and doesn’t lie–unlike his sisters! An amazing turn around from his control efforts when he first came to live with us, praise the Lord!

The kids still get to Skype with their foster grandparents but we have discovered it’s best for the kids not to see them in person right now. It makes them regress like crazy for weeks after which is no fun for anyone. I think they realize now that when they made the decision to give them up it meant they were giving them up. Hard to realize, but they have asked to Skype with them less and less and the kids don’t seem to care if they talk with them anymore. They will when they call, but the conversations are shallow and very brief.

So, on this National Adoption Day, I wrote to give you hope. Eventually, you do become a real family and everyone settles down and settles in. Hang in there and if you feel called to foster or adopt–what are you waiting for? Get after it! That kid or those kids are waiting for you!

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Blessed to be a Blessing

So sorry it has been 10 months since I last wrote about our adoption, but getting three kids at once has kept us pretty busy! πŸ™‚

The six-month period where a case-worker comes once-a-month to monitor you until the adoption is finalized stinks. I hated it and so did the kids. I know they do it to protect everyone and make sure the transition is smooth and working, but it stinks!

First of all, the agency doing the monitoring switched the caseworker after the first month, so my oldest totally freaked out because she thought the new one was there to take them away since this had happened every other time she got a new caseworker. The worst part was they never explained why they were there or what happened to the kids, despite my begging them to, so it was rough each time they came.

We finally told the kids to act normal or they would lose their daily reward that day. This finally worked by the fourth visit. Last couple were okay but we were all grateful when they stopped!

Our adoption was finalized January 9, 2012 and it was such an awesome experience! The Judge gave each child a teddy bear to adopt and they have loved taking care of those bears, especially my middle child who is such a mother hen! We have constant conversations with her about the right order to do things in: meet a wonderful man, get married, get to know each other a couple years and THEN have kids. Her birth mother wasn’t the greatest role model for this, as you can imagine, so re-training!

Once the kids got our last name they could not stop telling people who they were! So sweet! πŸ™‚

My oldest girl just had her Kindergarten graduation and we are so proud of the progress she has made this year having not been to pre-school. She is reading above grade level and her teacher is amazed and so complimentary of her progress. She asked her how she learned so many words and to read so well and she answered, “My Mom worked with me.” That is true. We worked hard every night because the teacher expected her to learn sight words, but had not taught all the blends, phonics skills, etc. to help the kids learn the words so I taught her all 100 by teaching her the skills. Frustrating experience and one of the reasons we are moving.

So in January we put our house on the market. You cannot move during the six-month monitoring phase unless you want to do another home study (which no one wants ever!) so as soon as the adoption was final we called our realtor! We need one more room since the grandparents come to visit a lot more, and having the kids all at home made me realize we need more indoor play space, as well, so we started looking.

It took us finding a foreclosure and being in a multiple-offer situation to get the right house for our new family, but we finally got it and now have to sell the one we’re in! We have an open house this Sunday, so please pray it sells!

The kids love the new house but moving with adopted children has been an interesting journey. They have never moved with a family–only away from their family in a situation where they didn’t get to take their stuff with them, so they have lots of questions. “Do we get to come, too? Are we taking our food? Can we take our clothes? What about our toys? Are we taking the cars?” Lots of questions and lots of answers, but I think they finally understand we’re all moving to the new house and all our stuff is going with us! Whew!

My middle daughter has thrived since I switched her from her original MDO to the one at our church. The other one was a little shady and she hated going and once I saw how they spoke to her I let them have a piece of my mind and moved her. Don’t anger Mama Bear!

She is VERY smart and creative but pretty shy. She has gotten a lot more confident as the year has gone on. She used to throw huge fits that lasted over an hour where she screamed at the top of her lungs and destroyed her stuff, but when she finally realized she would not get rid of us that way and we would not let a 4-year-old be in charge, she quit.

Some “wise” well-meaning person tried to tell me if I was just consistent with the time outs, she would stop. I told her I am a child psychologist who knows that time-outs have a limit and the Bible says many things about spanking as part of discipline and when she is mine, it will be utilized in a fair and safe manner! That lady and anyone else who does not have an adopted child would best serve adoptive parents by nodding their head rather than trying to give us advice. Just sayin’.

Anywho, as soon as the honeymoon period of the adoption finalization wore off (about a week later) the kids got their first spankings. Let me say this: spank with structure and it works like a charm. Don’t spank in anger and don’t use your hand. We have a three time-outs rule. If you get three, you get a spanking. That’s all I will say but I disagree with people who say it should not be an option. Our adoption worker told us most parents end up spanking their kids on the way home from the courthouse after the adoption is final! This is simply because time-outs only go so far. Period.

Okay, off my soap box and back to the progress. Our middle child has not thrown another fit since the adoption was finalized, has stopped trying to be in control and has started spontaneously hugging us and telling us she loves us and loves living here and going to church. Praise the Lord!

This happened sooner for our oldest. She was quicker to realize the difference between us and her birth parents and so she was saying “I love you” and hugging and kissing us before the adoption was finalized.

It took our boy until after the adoption finalization to say, “I love you” and hug us, but he does so freely now! He has had the hardest time giving up his fight for control–mainly because his foster grandparents treated him like he was a baby and let him run the house. When we got him, he was three, but could not potty in the toilet, could not eat on his own and could not walk very well. He does have cerebral palsy, but he had a brace and they did not work on anything with him so he got carried everywhere.

His pre-school has been a huge help. They helped us get him potty-trained in 2 1/2 months, and he now eats on his own and is walking so much better! While he was fighting for control, though, especially before the adoption finalization, he would give his teachers huge fits with screaming, throwing his shoes at them, kicking and hitting them and trying to bite them. They hung in there though, and we worked together to stop this behavior. After his first spanking, it stopped almost immediately. His foster grandfather would spank him all the time, but neither we nor the school were allowed to and he knew it and took advantage. He is very smart!

Now he does so well in school and has grown up so much! He comes home and tells me about his day. So sweet!

Due to his cerebral palsy, we got a great pediatrician and pediatric optometrist who take Medicaid (hard to find) and the pediatrician referred us to Scottish Rite, which is this amazing not-for-profit hospital that exclusively provides free treatment for kids who have orthopedic issues like our son. They have the top doctors and treatments in this field and we are blessed to be able to take him there. They gave him a new brace that has helped tremendously and we meet with the neurologist later this month there to plan for his future treatments.

Before I close this update, let me speak to those adopting or thinking about it. Adoption is a calling. It is not for everyone. It is not easy and there will be many times where you want to give the kids back and go back to your other life.

Do not feel guilty–that is normal! Even parents who have their own biological kids feel this way, but it gets better. “This too shall pass,” as the Bible says. Just remember that love is not a feeling; it’s a commitment. You have to make the daily choice to love your spouse and your kids. People who don’t make that commitment to love don’t survive their marriages or as parents. The only way to succeed in this commitment, as I have continually learned over the last 10 months, is prayer. Talk to God–He’s your only hope and the best parenting example we could ever have! I have enjoyed watching how He parents His people in the Bible and felt less guilty when I am doling out punishments for my kids’ hair-brained schemes! πŸ™‚

Please keep praying for our family and thank you for your investment in us! The kids participated in our church’s baby blessing this past Sunday (my first Mother’s Day and my oldest’s sixth birthday) and did great! Praise the Lord! The oldest two have asked Jesus in their heart to be their Lord and Savior, but we do not think they are ready for Baptism yet, so we are waiting. Praise the Lord!

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