Friday, April 27, 2007


During a light lunch of strawberries, nuts, cheese and toast today Josie turned to me and said:

"Happy lunch mama!"

Yes indeed.

So, happy lunch to you too, friends!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sue 'em

An adoptive mama in New Jersey is sueing DFS for not protecting her abused and traumatized daughter while in their care. Check out the full story here

"Individual lawsuits are pretty rare," Zalkind said. "You have to have someone who is willing to represent the child, and so often kids don't have that kind of support or advocacy."

It seems like so many foster care reform efforts fall short of making any big changes. A lawsuit doesn't seem like a bad idea. If you get hurt at work there is a recourse. As an adult if someone assaulted you -you could press charges. You could demand restitution through a civil suit.

Sometimes I really don't understand why the neglect/abuse that brings kids into care isn't cause for a criminal case. Even now in CJ's case, his SW has said if the same information was being brought in front of a criminal judge instead of a family judge there would be jail time. Why is it okay if kids are involved? I really don't understand.

Maybe if every kid who was not protected while in care was able to sue.... Maybe someone would listen. Maybe something would change.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

Dinner at the Bellagio, Cirque de Soleil at Treasure Island, slots at Luxor, a facial & massage at the Spa and lunch at Mandalay Bay. That was my weekend, how was yours?

This was our first child-free getaway. My Il's came here to watch the kiddos and I joined DP who was already in Vegas on business. The best part was the Cirque show....AMAZING. I'm not a very good gambler, I don't want to give up my money to even put it in the machines, but I did win $16 after putting in $20. That was enough for me. I really enjoyed visiting all the theme hotels/casinos and Luxor was my favorite.

But beyond the touristy stuff the best part of the mini-vaca was: sleeping 10 hours a night, going to the bathroom by myself, drinking an adult beverage and eating food off a plate while it was still warm. It really doesn't take much to make me happy. Hey, isn't that the first level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs?

PS. An update on the placement call....he has found a bone marrow match and won't need a resource family until after he has recovered from his transplant surgery for another month or two. So we will revisit this decision in a few months.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


In the foster care world foster/adoptive families are often called "Resource families". After yesterday's placement call and the impending placement possibilities of CJ's sibling(s) and Ekida's soon-to-be-born sibling I'm trying to decide how much of a resource we are.

How much can we handle emotionally? What is the best decision for our family right now? How much can we give of ourselves? I've written before about "The need is the calling" but the need is so great I personally will never be able to fill it. How much can one family do? I don't know.

I'm usually a very logical person. I define a problem, list a set of criteria that would define the answer and then test conclusions based on that logic. There is no logic here. These are tough decisions. Today I'm agonizing over things that are really beyond my control.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Call & IEP's

Another call for a placement. Sometimes it just breaks my heart that we are needed so badly. This call was for the little one mentioned in this post back in mid February. He needs to be close to the children's hospital as he now waits for a bone marrow transplant. The call was just a message on the answering machine so we will get more information tomorrow and make a decision. It seems like too much to take on right now but we'll wait for more info before we say no to him. The fact that she's calling us means that they are having problems finding a place for him to stay.

Today we received a copy of Lili's IEP(Individualized Education Program) in the mail. In evaluating children with special needs there are a number of areas of developmental delays/disabilities that qualify SN kids for an IEP. Seven areas in fact. Lili qualified in 6 of the 7 areas:
1. Vision
2. Health/Motor
3. Speech/Language
4. Social/Emotional/Behavioral
5. Cognitive/Adaptive Behavior
6. Academic/Pre-academic Achievement

The only area she did not needs services/adaptations was Hearing. Is this a good time to mention that we're going back to the ENT to get new ear tubes in and see if all these ear infections has caused any permanent hearing impairments? Oy Vey.

....and some good news for a change.... Lili's IEP meeting in late January was the last time her Receptive and Expressive language were tested. At that time she scored 19 months in Receptive and 18 months in Expressive. She was tested again today at the language based preschool she has been attending since then and her scores were at 36 and 30 months. Those are HUGE gains in just 2 short months. Yeah Lili! Not so long ago I was dreading what starting preschool would mean. Now I can't be happier with her transition and her improvement. Yeah again!

Monday, April 16, 2007


I've been trying to write a post to explain my feeling without sounding whiny but I don't think I can. An online adoption community forum that I have called home is in an uproar and is no longer a place that I want to belong to. I'm hurt by some people I've considered friends, I'm morning the loss of a support system that I've relied on for so long and most of all.....I'm just pouting because my home is gone.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Missouri's Waiting Kids

Just some sad facts today:

Who are Missouri's children waiting in the foster care system?

11,681 children are waiting in foster care
29% of foster children are between ages of 0 and 5
30% of foster children are between ages of 6 and 12
41% of foster children are between ages of 13 and 21
Average number of birthdays a child spends in foster care: 2 birthdays (26 months)
55% of children experience three or more foster care placements
15% (1,773) of children live in group care or institutional settings

What are Missouri's foster children waiting for?

6,095 (52%) are waiting to be reunified with their birth families
3,192 (27%) are waiting to be adopted
Average time foster care children have been waiting to be adopted: 36 months

Where did Missouri's children go after leaving foster care in 2004?

6,047 children exited foster care
3,374 (56%) were returned to their parents
1,337 (22%) were adopted
842 (14%) left to live with relatives or via guardianships
329 (5%) "aged out" of foster care at 18 or older
165 (3%) left for other reasons (ran away, transferred, died)

*Data from AFCARS (2004), ASPE Claims Reports (2005), and ACF Budget Reports (2005).

Monday, April 9, 2007


A huge issue for me as a mom (and a woman) is meal planning and nutrition.

As a parent I don't want my kids to have the same food issues that I do. I grew up very poor and food wasn't always available. I was always praised when I finished all my food. My mom even took proud pictures showing me holding a clean plate. I still have "clean plate issues". If it's on the plate I feel obligated to eat it. In this day of huge portions that's obviously not healthy. Even though I know what the problem is I still struggle with it. Conversely DP struggles with sweets and treats. A trip to my MIL's house is a feast of cakes, candies, cookies, chocolates, popcorn and even hot cocoa with fresh made whipped cream. So yeah, we have food issues I'd rather not pass on to my own daughters.

My MIL and my DP are gourmet cooks. They swap recipes and I'm often drooling over the latest creation. That is until I realize it has a pound of butter and a quart of cream...or it's wrapped in bacon and stuffed with a special cheese that adds 10 pounds at the sight of it. My mom was a simple, healthy cook out of necessity. She didn't know what gourmet cooking was but she knew how to feed 15 people with a block of government cheese, a can of salmon, a bag of elbow noodles and a few homegrown tomatoes.

I'm trying to find a healthy medium. I'm trying to please too many picky eaters. I'm working around food allergies, high blood pressure and SID texture issues. I'm trying to make sure our meals are nutritious and delicious. Why is this so hard?

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Here comes Peter Cottontail

My house is covered in eggs and candy. The girls have had a BLAST easter egg hunting. We've went to two community events and then did one egg hunt at home this morning. I think Easter now ranks right up there with Christmas/Hannukah in their minds. I'm going to have to buy another storage tub to pack away all the stuffed bunnies and plastic eggs we ended up with this year. We always try to be very conservative in what we give the kids, we have enough and they don't really want for a thing. But, two grandma's never feel as if they could have enough of anything. I am fortunate in that they listen and don't stuff the baskets FULL of candy (apple chips, fruit leather and fish crackers, YEAH!) and junk. Spoiled sweet.

CJ's mom went to Build-A-Bear and got him a nice teddy bear. Yesterday we went to the Botanical gardens to my favorite spot and I tried to get some nice portraits of him with it. He only wanted to cooperate for a few minutes but I got some good shots. Jo is always ready to pose and I got some great shots of her acting like a bunny. "Hippity Hop"

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Peanut Areas


I'm getting sick. My nose is runny and I'm drained of all energy. Too bad mamas don't get sick days. Or naps.

CJ has finished weaning off all drugs. So he's a tad cranky right now. We finally bought a swing today and he really likes it. I swear he gave a look that said....why didn't you do this last week? He's beginning to laugh, smile and coo. Having had 5 babies in three years this is my "exhale" moment. When the sleep deprivation is really getting to you and you think you can't make it anymore....they smile and everything gets better. They start sleeping longer and begin to show their personalities. Ahhhh.

Lili failed a hearing screening at school this week because she had a double ear infection. She hasn't been showing any symptoms either. Well other than the fact that I thought she has been being extremely stubborn lately. I've had to tell her to do things a million times before she listened. Turns out she couldn't hear me. One of her tubes had fallen out the week before and it looks like the other is beginning to fall out. So after this course of antibiotics it's likely we'll be scheduling another surgery.

While changing CJ's diaper Jo inquired about the "thing" that he has that she doesn't. We tried to use proper language and explain that boys have penises and girls have vaginas. She kinda got the boy part.....but thought we said "peanut". It was too cute to correct so now all boys have peanuts. Girls have "areas" because private areas was easier to say than a v-g combination.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Can I just whine for sec?

Lili has come soooo far. I know that. Developmentally, socially and attachment-wise. She really has made great strides.

But why does she still have a nervous breakdown when we go into a store? Not a fit or a tantrum....but a complete meltdown. Hitting me, sobbing uncontrollably, wailing so loud everyone turns around to see if I'm killing my child. Why? I ask her what she wants.....Do you want to sit in the cart? Do you want to walk? I once had to sit on the floor in an aisle at Target rocking her like a baby and singing lullabies for 15-20 minutes before I could get her calmed down enough to even leave. I would gladly bribe her with sweets and toys if it would make a difference.

Sensory overload? Attachment issues? Trying to drain yo-mama syndrome?