Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I was hoping to have another placement next week. It sounds like that will not be happening now. My social worker has spoken to me about another placement but it will not occur for at least a few more weeks. I am also concerned about some of the details of the case. If that placement does not occur, I will receive another one soon. In the meantime, I am returning to work so that I can use my vacation time later if I need it.
Jacob is very excited about riding the school bus. He told everyone he saw last night that he was riding the bus. E decided to tell him that the bus was going to get lost and he wouldn't be able to come home afterwards. I assured him the bus would not get lost but it must have still bothered him. He woke up at 3 this morning telling me that the bus got lost. I calmed him down and he went back to sleep. At school this morning, he didn't want me to leave. He wanted me to take the bus with him. The teacher assured him she would sit by him on the bus. That seemed to calm him down and he went off to play with her. I am sure he will have a great day at the zoo (even if it is only 40 degrees outside right now).
Monday, April 28, 2008
Spring is here and with it brings new activities. Jacob and I are both looking forward to a Spring and Summer full of fun and adventure. As you can probably tell from previous posts, I love warm Spring days. I enjoy watching the world wake up and the plants grow and flowers bloom. Now that I am a mother, I get the privilege of watching the world through my son's eyes. Watching him learn and discover the world is one of my favorite parts of motherhood.
I decided to cut down on my vegetable bill and teach Jacob about how food is grown and plants thrive. We have started by planting just a few peas in hopes that they sprout soon. I remember growing peas as a child and how wonderful it was to eat them fresh off the plant. In a couple weeks when I know the threat of frost has passed, I plan to plant some green pepper plants and tomato plants. Now I just hope they grow and produce wonderful treats for us. Maybe Jacob will actually eat his vegetables if they are fresh off the plant.
Jacob started a new school today as well. I officially moved to dayshift at work today. I am still on family leave but I set up his start date based on my work schedule and before I knew when I would be starting family leave. I decided not to change his start date in hopes that I can remain on good terms with his daycare and they will be willing to work with me and my sometimes crazy home life. He is there now and I am sure he is enjoying his first day. I told his teachers to call if he seemed upset and the phone hasn't rung.
E is leaving us this week. It turns out she just was not a good fit for my family. She wasn't happy and neither were we. I now know why adoption social workers are hesitant to adopt out of birth order. Human Services is now talking about placing a 14 month old boy in my home. He would probably arrive later this week or sometime next week. I was told not to stop my family leave early and that if this boy is not placed here another child will be soon. The next child will be at least one year younger than Jacob. That way I don't have to worry about the child being a threat to Jacob's safety. I do wish things had been better with E. I did not make the decision to have her moved easily. I know that she will do better in a home where she is an only child or the youngest child by several years. It is with great sadness that I let her leave to find the family where she can thrive and be the happy carefree little girl she deserves to be.
On a brighter note, I start softball tonight. Well, I am suppose to start tonight. It is currently about 40 degrees and misting. We are scheduled to have practice tonight if it doesn't start raining. I'm not crazy about being outside today but know that I need to attend practice. Especially since I haven't been on a team in about 15 years. Our first game is next week. I am eagerly waiting.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
1) Why don't you just have a baby of your own? You could walk into a bar and get almost any man to volunteer to help you.
The scary thing is that she was serious. She has made several similar comments since then stating that I just don't understand because I have never given birth.
2) You have such a beautiful son. Why would you want to have another child and risk him?
Ok. So does she really think that having another child will make my child any less beautiful or well-adjusted? I am sure there will be adjustments and some jealousy issues but I doubt is will make him ugly or less able to function in society.
3) Don't you just want a child of your own?
Exactly what makes Jacob not mine? He loves me. I love him. I provide for him, kiss his injuries, hold him when he is sick, encourage him, teach him and do everything else a mother does. He is mine now and forever. What really angers me is when she (or other people) say this in front of him. When I state that he is mine and how he became mine doesn't change anything, she states I just don't understand.
I live in a very diverse community. Most people don't even look twice when I pass them with my caucasion foster daughter and my African American son. People don't even look twice when both children call me Mommy. The only people who ask if my son is from Ethiopia are other parents of Ethiopian children and occassionally an Ethiopian American we pass on the street.
I know how lucky I am to live in this community. To live where there are a lot of single mothers by choice, multi-racial families formed through adoption and through marriage and where people are generally accepted despite the make-up of their families. We have experienced a few instances of bigotry and racism but it is not very often.
That is what makes the above comments so frustrating. I want my son to be loved and I am glad when people are friendly to him. I just wish people would think more about some of the comments they make. The lady who made the above comments is someone we have to see often and need to remain on friendly terms with. I do correct her when I hear these types of comments and I do watch to see how Jacob reacts. I tell Jacob he is my son forever and that I love him everyday. I tell him that I am so happy I was able to adopt him and that he is going to live here until he grows up. I hope he hears these comments the same way I do. As annoying comments from someone who is very ignorant in adoption and family issues.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I really miss Ethiopia and Africa. Last night, the African Children's Choir was in town. I had seen them perform a song on American Idol last year and knew I had to see them live. I hired a babysitter (my 2 year old just would not sit still for 2 hours) and called a friend. The show was beautiful.
If you aren't aware of the choir, let me tell you a little about them. They take impoverished children from several different countries in Africa. They take them on a tour around the world where the children perform and study. When they return to their countries, the choir puts them through school with the hope that they will then help others in their communities.
Children are our greatest assets and these children are no different. Our children are our future and they are our greatest hope for peace, love and prosperity in the future. Africa's children are no different. As I sat through the concert, I thought how wonderful it is that I have a son from Africa. I thought about the huge blessing he is in my life and the blessing that those children are to their families and friends. I get sad when I think about the people who love Jacob but had the strength to let him go. I can never say thank you enough to his Ethiopian family and caregivers.
In a perfect world, everyone who wanted children would have them and everyone who had children would be able to care for them. There would not be poverty, abuse or neglect. This world is not like that. People often ask me why I don't have a child by birth. The answer is simple. There are children in our world who desperately need homes and love. They have done nothing wrong except be born into families affected by extreme poverty, abuse, neglect or other reasons why their parents are not prepared or able to care for them. Biology does not determine family but love does. It makes more sense for me to adopt a child than to spend the same amount of money to give birth to a child without the guarantee that the pregnancy will ever be successful. I love my son and to be allowed to have another child in my home and heart will be a blessing that words cannot describe.
Monday, April 21, 2008
This isn't what amazes me. I remember being in a huge hurry to bring my son into my home. I am one of those people that will quietly ponder an idea (especially if I believe it may be controversial) and then just make a decision. Once that decision is made, I don't let go of it very easily. When I began the process to adopt Jacob, all I could think about was that child that I wanted so desperately. I read books, watched movies, attended classes and shopped. I searched all the waiting child lists I could find hoping to find my son. I think on some level I knew my son was on a waiting child list. I do regret that it took me three plus months to find him (he was on the list for seven months waiting for me).
I knew when I met Jacob that I want another child. I have spent hours trying to decide how to bring that child into my home. Do I adopt an older child from foster care? (I now know that answer is no). Do I save every penny I can for an infant from another country? (That is what I plan to do now). I have made the decision and now spend time worrying about finding the money and timing the adoption. It needs to be completed after next May so that I can use my car payment for daycare. It needs to be completed and finalized here before December 31, 2010 so that I don't lose $6000 in adoption tax credits. It needs to be the right child for my family.
These are the thoughts I have as I try to work towards adopting a second child. It makes this woman's attitude even more unbelievable. Instead of concentrating on how long it will be until she is able to welcome another child into her home, she concentrates on the blessings she has. She is grateful for the daughter she has and states if she never has another child she knows she is blessed. She states that she knows in her heart she will adopt a child in a few years and is patiently waiting until the government tells her she can. She states she is using this time to try to save up money for the adoption and to make her life better.
I have to admit I am not that patient. I am anxious and eager to get the money saved so that I can get the process started and the official wait for my child. I worry that my child will appear on a waiting child list like Jacob did and I won't be ready for him/her. I anticipate adopting an infant girl but I was sure Jacob would be an infant under 12 months also. I learned during his process that I need to be ready when God sends my child to me. That he/she may not be the child I picture in my mind but God will let me know when I find him/her. The day is coming that I will hold him/her but that day is most likely at least two years away. I need to try to be as patient and understanding as G.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Discovering traditional Hmong clothing
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Jacob probably knew quite a bit of Amharic when he came home. I only recognized a couple of words but I know he said many more. I did not believe he remembered any except cah cah (it has the meaning most of you will think of). The only other word I recognized in Ethiopia was Wusha. This means dog and he would become excited and yell it whenever he saw a dog. I hadn't heard him say it in months.
Tonight I found some basic Amharic words on the internet. I decided to begin studying them and see if we could incorporate any of them in our daily lives. I asked Jacob if he knew what Wusha meant. He yelled "Doggy! Wusha!" I tried a couple of other words and he could easily pronounce them but didn't know what they meant. E had a harder time pronouncing them and Jacob could say them better than me. I think the language is still familiar to him although he doesn't understand it anymore. I would love to know how many words he does know. I am very happy he still remembers a couple.
As I try to raise money for another adoption, Jacob and I will work on his Amharic. It would be nice if he could say ahmahseganahlo (thank you) when he returns to Ethiopia.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Jacob: Mommy, I see the sun!
Me: Yes. I see it too.
Jacob: Fix it Mommy.
Me: Fix the Sun?
Jacob: Yes. Fix it. It's broken.
Me: I don't think I can fix the sun. I can't reach it.
Jacob: Yes. Fix it.
Me: What's wrong with it?
Jacob: It needs a nap.
Me: Oh. It will take one tonight when it gets dark outside.
Jacob: Oh. Okay.
Sometimes all I can do is shake my head and try not to laugh.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
My mom is a certified public accountant (CPA). When I was a child, my mother only worked during "tax season." Tax season lasts from January to April 15. April 15 meant the end of evenings and Saturdays without Mom. It meant the end of daycare and short tempers from both Mom and Dad as they dealt with the stress of long work hours and raising two children. Most importantly it meant the return of "normal." Normal was having Mom available whenever I wanted something and being able to choose which parent was most likely to say yes to a new toy or trip to a movie.
As an adult, I still celebrate the end of tax season. I send my mom a small gift (flowers, candy or something similar). I know that she is available if I need a shoulder to lean on and answers to questions. I know that she will be more patient when listening to my latest "great idea." Jacob gets to play with Grandma again and everyone is looking forward to going to the park and zoo together.
So for all you accounting families out there. HAPPY END OF TAX SEASON!
Monday, April 14, 2008
I am still working on ideas to raise money for another adoption. So far, I plan to have a garage sale and bake sale next month. I wish I had some kind of easy craft project that I could put together quickly and sell but that is not my area of expertise. I do know that the kids and I can bake cookies, brownies and other goodies and sell them. I have found tables for holding our goods, a couple friends with some items they want to sell and a coffee pot to make coffee to sell. I am now hoping for good weather and a good turnout. I plan to sell most of Jacob's clothes that are too small and some of the toys that he doesn't use and that I won't want to use with the next child. I also plan to sell my old digital camera. It is only a year old but is fairly large. I bought a new one that is easier to take with me (it fits in my pocket) and I really don't need two cameras.
Once I go back to work in a few weeks, I can start to work some overtime again. There will be more available now that I am on dayshift. I can't work as much as I did while raising money for Jacob's adoption but I can work some. I just need to make sure that his needs are met at the same time which means that he has enough time with me and we are able to still enjoy our lives together.
I just wish I had a crystal ball to tell me that I would be able to find the money I need for the adoption and that everything will work out well. I trust in God and know that if He wants me to adopt again, it will happen. He has never failed to help me find what I needed in the past and I know He will not fail me now.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Now, if only I had the money. I need to raise at least $4000 to start the adoption process. I know I won't raise that at the garage sale next month but maybe by next winter. The garage sale can't hurt though.
I started asking people about how foster care would affect the home study. After receiving an answer I did not like (read not what I was hoping for), I finally just called the home study agency. The SW there stated I would need to sign a form promising not to have any foster children in my home when I travelled to bring my new child home. I could still do emergency care and respite but would have to promise not to have a long-term placement when I travel. Since that won't be for almost 1 1/2 years after I start the home study process, that won't be a problem. I was just hoping to be able to continue to improve my parenting skills and experience some different behavioral and special needs while I waited for a referral.
A referral is still a long way off. I am hoping to adopt from Ethiopia again. Every year there are rumors that Ethiopia will stop single parent adoptions. I know my agency fights it and that the post placement reports from single parents really help. I allowed the agency's Ethiopian director to videotape my son and me when he was here last year. I have done what I can to help keep the program open. If for some reason it closes to single parents before I adopt again, there are other countries I will consider. Either way, I do plan to adopt a child again in the next couple of years.
I still love reading the comments and welcome any. I will be sure to approve any that are not damaging to my computer or anyone else's.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Jacob: I want one of those (pointing at B).
Me: You think we should have a baby?
Jacob: Yes. That type of those (poiniting at C).
Me: You want a baby like that one (pointing at C).
Jacob: Yes. That kind.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Things are already beginning to improve. I have begun to set some ground rules and each child has been disciplined at least once. I am continuing to ignore E's tantrums and she appears to be learning quickly that I will not react to them. Both children are pushing and hitting less as they are aware that it will only lead to more time outs. When E does not play nice and becomes bossy, Jacob and I play in another room. It doesn't take long before she decides she would rather play nicely than play alone.
I know that the next few weeks are going to be challenging. I also know that it already is easier on me emotionally than when Jacob came home. I am less hesitant to ask for help and more creative in finding ways to take breaks. I also know that things will continue to improve and that is all I can hope for right now.
Saturday, April 5, 2008
The weather was beautiful today. The high was in the mid 60's and the sun was out. It was the first time this year that we have been able to play outside without jackets. Jacob picked up his own clothes today and managed to have everything weather appropriate and matching! That was our first sign that it was going to be a great day.
E came over in the morning and we spent some time with her and her current foster moms. They brought E's belongings over which took two trips in the SUV. I spent about two hours sorting through it and trying to determine what we would use now and what was too small or too big. I also separated her toys into toys for her room and toys for the playroom. Those may get changed after she has time to find her favorite toys and decide what she wants upstairs.
Jacob, E, her current foster moms and I all went to the park this morning for about an hour. The kids all had fun and did really well. We had lunch at a local resteraunt and then went home. Jacob took a nap and I tried to organize the house. E went back to her house after lunch.
E is coming over tomorrow. She is going to church with us in the morning and then over here for the afternoon. She moves in on Monday but is excited and ready now. I know the next few weeks will be full of transitions but at least everyone has a good attitude about it right now. Hopefully, that will continue after the honeymoon period ends.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
E is moving into my home on Monday. I need to get the port fixed soon so I can upload pictures of her and Jacob. I can't post pictures of her here but I can email them to close family and friends. I also want to make a photo montage of her time in our family and need the computer for that also.
It will probably be a couple of weeks before I have the money to fix the computer. Until then, I will keep you updated without the fun pictures. There are some coming though so please be patient. Now, to unstick that shift key.....