Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Back into the swing of things

We're trying to get back into a routine around here. Josie was whiny last night & I was going bonkers...she finally said mama "I'm tired" I looked at the clock and realized it was almost an hour past her bedtime. Bad mama. I didn't get much sleep last night between Lili & CJ's middle of the night wakings but I'm determined to get this ship into shape!

CJ is an easy baby so far. He is on medicine for drug withdrawal and it makes him sleepy most of the time. We actually haven't had any contact from a SW, we don't even know if he has one yet. We don't know much about his family situation we're hoping to learn more after his court date next week. Our weeks are going to get busier as he has a HH nurse, PT and OT once a week each...add to that new doctor, SW and Casa Volunteer visits.

I need to get crackin!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Hair Pics

I realized I havn't posted hair pics in a while. I love this do on Jo. I have front cornrows parted and pulled into piggie tails. The back is in simple box braids all ending in beads and snaps. I made small ballies using beads from instructions on It's a nice finishing touch to this style. This is my first time attempting to cornrow in anything but a front-back row. I love how this looks on her!

For Lili's do I attempted to copy a style from the Yahoo group. The parts were beaded with heart beads all leading back to one pony poof but Lili pulled it all out after one night. It needs to grow a little longer before this style will work successfully. I loved how her hair looked pulled completely off her face though. So pretty.

Automatic Sprinkler

A friend brought over some baby boy clothes for us and she bought a onesie that says "Automatic Sprinkler" on the front. Sista, that's the truth. I keep getting peed on! LOL He's such a good baby though, such a sweet demeanor.

My Lilibelle has been sick since CJ came home. She started vomiting yesterday afternoon and hasn't stopped. She's slept most of the past day and a half. We typically don't go to the emergency room unless it falls under my "blue or bloody" rule. Because of Lili's long medical history if she goes to the hospital with a runny nose it will turn into a week and a half stay. I hope she gets better this evening or we may be stalking the doctors office tomorrow morning. She's definitely not going to preschool tomorrow. Poor baby hasn't went a full week since she started.

Friday, February 23, 2007

CJ is here

The little one is finally here! I'll refer to him as "CJ" here on the bloggie.

He made a dirty diaper for me right away and I got my first chance to change a boy diaper. That's a lot of wiping! The girls are in love with him and Josie loves holding the bottle to help feed him. Lili keeps trying to be a binkie thief. She almost poked his eye out pointing and saying "bay-bee" LOL. They are very excited.

I forget how tiny they are. All of my kiddos have been preemies and this is my first full term baby so I was expecting a big boy. But 8 pounds isn't really that big! He loves being swaddled and carried in the pouch sling. I love just looking at him.

I decided to make some comfort food for dinner tonight. We're having our traditional Christmas eve dinner - Polish sausage and pierogies. Welcome to the house baby CJ!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

It's a boy!

We received a placement call yesterday for a two week old little boy that is supposed to be discharged from the hospital today.

We spent the evening digging through our baby clothes tubs that have been through our 4 girls. Not too much in the way of green or blue so we headed out to Target to buy a special coming home outfit.

I slept well last night, amazing since I'm so excited to meet this new little one. I did wake up this morning before the alarm though. The house is quiet, I'm dressed to shoes, my washer is running and breakfast is ready for everyone once they wake up.

I'll post more later!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

“There is no truth. There is only perception.”

As an adult I can look back and be thankful for my happy flawed childhood. It helped shape who I am today and gives me a perspective on life & love that enhances my journey as a foster and adoptive parent.

I can empathize with first parents who have lost their children to the system. My own parents were imperfect people who battled drugs, alcohol and poverty. My parents made choices that could have put them in similar situations to some of my foster children's birth parents. My own sisters couldn't have parented their children without the strong familial and social support that they received.

I don't believe that people who lose their children to the state are evil. I think they are imperfect, complicated humans that make poor choices with limited resources. I know that both of my kids first moms loved them- they both said so. I know for one, her addictions were stronger than her ability to care for herself or her child. That makes me sad....and sometimes mad, for my child, who will always have a piece of her missing because her family of origin is not intact.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

My Dream House

I was reading FosterAbba's blog today and she posted a link her dream house. My current place is pretty close to my dream "house" but not quite. My dream place would be a loft space downtown. Not downtown here though....we looked quite a bit but it still not ready to support families. Our downtown is undergoing some recent revitalization and is becoming a really neat neighborhood with some great renovated loft buildings but there isn't much for kiddos yet. We bought a loft in a smaller more established neighborhood instead. I love how open our space is and how "walkable" our neighborhood is....but it's still not downtown.

Here's a pic of my dream loft. What's your dream house?

Friday, February 16, 2007

SW & CASA Visit

Our SW was here this afternoon. I always go a little nuts before these visits, cleaning like crazy and worrying that the house isn't good enough. I don't know why, it's always so laid back and barely any fuss. This same SW placed Lili in her former foster home and has seen her since she was a tiny 4 pound preemie released from the hospital at 5 months old. Lili always seems to remember her and clings to her while she's here.

We told the SW that we were open to calls again. She said she almost called with a 9 month old with Leukemia that needed to be moved to a different foster home to be close to the children's hospital -we're just blocks away. It just breaks my heart to think of a little one so sick. I think the placement office is closed Monday for President's day so we'll be expecting a call Tuesday.

So we might have a new foster child in just a few days.

Jo's CASA volunteer also dropped by to see her today. She was on Jo's case (and Vivi's and Eckida's) until her adoption and hadn't seen her since. She said that she looks so much bigger since October. Jo was actually quite the brat the whole time she was here....throwing fits, whining and just generally cranky. The girls have boycotted naps lately and that makes all of us pretty cranky by late afternoon.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Learning to do AA hair

If you read my blog you know I love doing the girls' hair. It's like creating a new painting every week. As a fine artist by background it really helps me stay creatively focused while at the same time maintaining a important cultural aspect of my childrens lives. It's also a great bonding time for mommy and daughter. If you are thinking about adopting a child of AA heritage or if you're just interested, here are some of the resources I've used to find out more about creative hairstyles, products and hair care regimes.

A good condensed overview of AA hair and skincare

Books: It's All Good Hair, Kinki Kreations, CurlyGirl

Kids books: Happy to Be Nappy, I Love My Hair!

Websites: &

Online groups: Soul Of Adoption , Yahoo Hair and Skincare Group

Online Tutorials: Crazycoils's site (a woman with hair texture just like Lili's) Cornrows & Braids

Products: I use many natural inexpensive homemade mixes and Oyin & Carol's Daughter

I've also learned so much from AA friends, other foster/adoptive parents and many well meaning strangers who approach me in the black hair care aisle thinking I must be lost.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Jo's hair is getting so long that I'm able to do less parts and I think it makes her look soooo much older. That can't be my tiny 4 lb baby....can it?

DP and I have really been having some heart to heart talks about continuing to foster. Sometimes I think that it's so much easier now that everyone is walking, talking and sleeping through the night that I would be nuts to shake things up.

I was gently reminded today that I am called. It really doesn't matter whether or not I'm ready...I am called.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I'll never do THAT

Yondella wrote a fabulous post that has me both cracking up and shaking my head in agreement. I wanna quote the part in particular that just hits home with me

Perhaps the best entry was the woman who said that she would never do three things: yell at her children; use TV as a babysitter; or give them chocolate. Of course just the day before her small son had been underfoot while she was cooking and she found herself handing him a chocolate cookie and yelling, "Take this and go watch the TV until dinner is ready!"

All three in one swoop.
There were so many times pre-kiddos I thought "I'll never do THAT"

I am not the parent I had planned on being. I'm not as relaxed or patient as I had hoped. I'm not as creative or organized as I had planned. Sometimes my kids don't eat their vegetables and stay up past their bedtime. Sometimes I can't fall asleep because I have so much mom guilt about what I should have done differently that day. I shouldn't have given in to the whining, I should have made a better breakfast. I'll finally start to nod off, promising myself I'll do better the next day.

This is truly the hardest job I've ever loved.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

The snow isn't even here yet and schools are closed and everyone is bracing for a "blizzard". I say that lightly because in this midwestern city that isn't used to great amounts of snow 4-6" will keep most people off the streets....and will definately keep us from venturing out.

I need the time in anyway, in the process of putting together my IKEA stuff the dishes havn't been done, the laundry is still waiting and I have two days worth of messes to clean up instead of one.

I sometimes wonder if all moms get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of housework that needs to be done or if it's just me. How did our grandmothers do it all without dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, roombas, microwave ovens and even refridgerators.

I asked my mom that question and she answered "We lived simply, we didn't have extra stuff we didn't need". I've been thinking about that lately and thinking about buying Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich ....anybody read it?

I need to go do my flylady routines.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Busy Bees

Didja miss me? We went on a short vaca visiting Gramma and Grampa in Chicago. It continues to amaze me how much the girls are attached to their gramma. I never had a close relationship with my own grandmothers and I'm glad that the girls have such great bonds with both of theirs.

Before we left on the big roadtrip we also finally upgraded the car to a minivan! We've been looking and waiting for a great opportunity and it finally happened. My compact car was a pretty tight fit with three carseats in the back and a double stroller in the trunk. The drive was so much more comfortable and I even had enough space in the van to buy out IKEA while I was there. Now I have boxes of stuff to assemble. I love IKEA.

Off to find the cordless screwdriver. Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 4, 2007


Sorry for the fuzzy picture, I can't get her to stop moving today! I put Jo's hair back in cornrows yesterday. I was trying for a Valentine's Day style but I don't really like how it turned out. I do like how the beads are part of the braids, I will try that again.

I tried the crossover pattern in the center but because of Jo's short spot I'm going to take it out and redo. We'll try again in a few months when it's long enough for me to incorporate into a cornrow.

About a year ago we were fighting a huge battle with ringworm. Lili brought it from her former foster home and we couldn't shake it. Everytime one of us was clear someone else still had it and spread it back around. Jo lost a patch of hair to it, it's growing back in now (thank goodness) but I still have to plan my parts carefully.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Racism in Foster Care & Adoption

A recent post at Baggage And Bug and a current discussion at Soul Of Adoption have me thinking about the effects of racism on minority/AA children in foster care.

My neighborhood block captain once asked me why I was placed with mostly black babies. It wasn't a question she really wanted an answer to... and one that I would never be able to explain to her anyway. As a transracial adoptive mom I've come to realize most white folks don't even realize that institutionalized racism exists or even that they are experiencing white priviledge.

Some facts about racism and foster care:

1. There is NOT a higher incidence of abuse or neglect among minority families, but there is a higher likelihood that minority children will end up in foster care.

2. Poor children are more likely to end up in foster care. Although AA families represent only about 12.9% of the population, 23.6% of African-Americans are in poverty.

3. Although white and black women were almost equally likely to test positive for drugs, physicians were 10 times more likely to report AA women to authorities after delivery.

4. African-Americans are likely to serve more prison time than whites for the same offense. Thus AA children in foster care may be separated from their families longer affecting their chances for reunification.

Excerpted from: Ruth McRoy, Expedited Permanency: Implications for African-American Children and Families, 12 Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law 475 -489. 477-481 (2005) (81 Footnotes)

Black children are overrepresented in the foster care system.

Black parents are underrepresented in the potential parent pool. You would think that this leads into transracial adoption...but it doesn't.

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of American adults prefer to adopt children of their same race. With this trend of same race adoption, the result is that white children are often fought over while non-white children are languishing in a broken foster care system. Even private adoption agencies are likely to price adoption costs of a white baby at twice that of a AA child.

The hardest part of being a transracial adoptive mom is KNOWING that other people are prejudiced and biased against my beautiful brown curly haired daughters. They don't see Lili's infectious smile and strong spirit, they don't see Josie's hilarious mad face or her beautiful singing voice- they see black kids. Ones that they would never open their hearts or homes to, ones that they would never choose.