Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

I had today off work and was very pleased to spend it with Jacob. As the world continues to struggle with violence, poverty and injustice, I am reminded how wonderful it is to be an American. Memorial Day is a great reminder of the price of our freedom and to experience some of the wonderful things our culture and country has to offer.
Jacob and I awoke early this morning. We got dressed and headed out for the Memorial Day parade. We arrived about an hour and a half before the parade began. I found a nice grassy spot on the edge of the street and staked our claim to it. Jacob and I then headed off to McDonald's for some pancakes and other delicious food. We took it back to our grassy spot so that we would not lose it. McDonald's on the grass was a nice picnic breakfast that prepared us for the fun of the picnic.
At 10:00 the picnic began. Jacob stood up tall and clapped as the military members and veterans marched by. He then had a seat on the curb as we watched the marching bands, scouts, high school teams, clowns and other groups march by. He enjoyed dancing to the bands as they passed. When someone threw candy, Jacob ran over and grabbed some before heading back to his spot on the curb. By the end of the parade, he had a very large amount of candy. It made for a great snack while we headed home after the parade ended.
After the parade, Jacob and I headed to lunch with a friend. Our friend recently had surgery on her foot and has been stuck at home waiting for it to heal. We took her to lunch where we enjoyed sandwiches and macaroni and cheese before heading to our next event.
At 4:00, we went to a large picnic and gathering near our home. Two of my co-workers are members of a band and were the headliners for this afternoon. Jacob enjoyed the band and spent a good part of the concert dancing or just sitting in my lap and listening. He also grabbed a stick, held it to his mouth, and began singing as if singing into a microphone.
Today was a day that I hated to see end. Tomorrow Jacob returns to school and I return to work. I really enjoyed the day today and look forward to our next day with no responsiblity that we can just relax and spend time doing the things we enjoy doing.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Prayers Needed

Jacob was born in the Southern part of Ethiopia. He still has birth family living there. I was fortunate enough to travel to this part of the country and met some very beautiful, happy and loving people there. I also met members of his birth family while there. This was by far the most difficult and emotional part of my trip to Ethiopia. I will never forget the faces of the people, especially children, I met there.

This situation is very bad there right now. People are starving and dying. I do not know how Jacob's birth family is doing and can only pray that they are alright. I don't want to think about what they or the other people there are going through. It is difficult to sit in my living room on the other side of the world and not be able to help. All I can do is pray and ask others to pray too. The following is a link to an article about the current draught and possible famine in Southern Ethiopia right now. As you read the article, remember that Jacob could have been one of these children.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Almost Recovered

Jacob has just about recovered from whatever but he had over the weekend. He is still complaining about his stomach hurting but other than that his symptoms are gone. He attended daycare today and other than not sharing he did well. He is very tired tonight but I think that is due to refusing to go to bed until 10 PM last night.

Our dog is also beginning to feel better. The vet gave us 2 months of antibiotics plus a prescription for more. I am very grateful for the prescription. Her swollen paw is an ongoing problem (related to chewing on a hot spot) so she will most likely need the antibiotic again in the future. Having a prescription on hand will prevent another trip to the vet.

I spoke to my foster home consultant today. My name is out there for three different children. All of them younger than 2 years old. I don't know which (if any for sure) will come to my home. I am beginning to feel frustrated. I have been waiting for almost three weeks to receive word on one of the children. Being in limbo and waiting for a call that I am needed to pick up a new child is not easy. It is hard to wait and just be patient but I know I need to be. It shouldn't be much longer before I receive another call for a child who needs a home.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

When It Rains It Pours

Ugh!!!! Just when I thought I had things figured out. Jacob has had just enough loose stools that he can't go to daycare tomorrow. Normally I would try to take him anyway since he is right at the cut-off for being able to go. He is potty training though so I won't be able to just hope he makes it through the day. He is complaining of an upset stomach but doesn't have a fever, isn't sleeping more than normal and seems to have just as much energy as normal. Hopefully, it will have passed by Tuesday.

My dog is also whining. I went over to find out what was wrong and saw that her ankle is swollen. She has a hot spot there that she chews when she is stressed (and sometimes when she isn't). She also seems to be stepping a little more carefully than normal on it. I guess I am off to the vet with her tomorrow. She has had an infection from chewing that same ankle before so I know it isn't anything major. Just another unexpected crisis that needs to be handled.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Better Commercial

The following is a link to a commercial from Pearl Vision. After the controversy and hurt over last weeks contest from NBC and Teleflora, it was nice to see a positive message in the media. I don't buy glasses often but I may have to visit Pearl Vision next time.

Adjustments Update

Jacob and I are into our second week of adjusting to 5AM alarm clocks and a first shift schedule. This is the first time in my life that I have had a job that was first shift. I have never had a job that was Monday through Friday but maybe that will happen someday. There are a few of those where I work and I may be able to have one if I want eventually. It will be years though so I will just enjoy daytime work hours for now.

I have found that I am waking up at 5 pretty easily now. On my days off, I gladly sleep until at least 6:30. Jacob is still having difficulty with the new schedule. He has difficulty falling asleep before 9:00 despite laying down as early as 7:30 PM. On days off, he is easily sleeping until after 7 AM. On our early mornings, I have to work on getting him out of bed. He tells me to "Leave me alone Mommy" and "I'm still sleeping."

I do have hope though. He went to bed at about 8:20 PM tonight. We were a little late getting home after spending time with my parents. They were out of town for Mother's Day so we wanted to give my mom her gift. By the time Jacob had his bath, brushed his teeth and we read a story, it was about 8:10 PM. He quickly fell asleep but after refusing to go to sleep until almost 9:30 last night and getting up at 5:30 this morning, he was very tired.

Jacob is doing well at his new daycare/preschool. He is very excited to go to a farm in a couple weeks. Today he told me he would be seeing cows and riding the school bus. He is now out of diapers (as of last Sunday) and able to go all day without any (or no more than one) accident. He loves the miniture bathroom at his school including small working toilet and sink. His school really emphasizes independance and I can see it already. His favorite phrase the past two weeks is "I do it myself Mommy!"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

What is a mother? A mother is a special person who cares for a child (even adult child) and loves that child more than themselves. She may or may not have given birth to a child but the love she feels is just the same. A mother is someone who will listen when you are having a bad day, wipe your tears when you cry, put a bandage on a skinned knee, sit up all night with you when you are sick, worry about you even when you are happy and doing well. A mother is someone whose love is unending and who will go to the ends of the world for their child.

NBC and Teleflora have done a search for the favorite Mom in America. While the contest was meant to be fun and enjoyable, it turned into a contest that insulted and hurt thousands of women and their children. It called a category "non-mom" and placed a woman's story there simply because her children came to her through adoption rather than birth.

The contest later changed the category to "adoptive" but the hurt and pain lingers. To separate adoptive mothers out due to how they have their children is to say they are not equal to mothers who gave birth to their children. To include grandmothers in an "other" category is to say their relationship with their grandchildren is not as respected as a mother by birth. Anytime mothers are separated into categories based on the make-up of their families is going to cause people to see some as less than others. It may not be the intention of the contest but it is the result. It also should not have taken thousands of emails to have the "non-mom" category changed. The person who named the category should have been more sensitive and educated in different families. The supervisor who approved the contest should have seen the hurt and pain it would cause.

A mother can be many different types of people. It may be a lesbian raising a child in a two mom family. It may be a grandmother, aunt, sister, friend or foster parent who loves the child and cares for the child. Who calls the child her "own." It may be a woman who gave birth to a child or adopted a child. A mother may not even be a woman. It could be a single father who is trying his best to raise his child and provide both the traditional mother and father roles to the child.

To all of those children in our world who do not have a mother or even a family, I pray that you find one soon. Whether it be a woman you call Mom or just an adult who will love you unconditionally and call you family, I pray that you know his/her love soon.

The following message is for everyone who fits any of the above categories or someone who feels like a parent but I did not mention and those people hoping and praying to become mothers or fathers soon.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Recap of the Week So Far

This week has been very hectic. I decided last Saturday to take Jacob out of diapers for a couple of days and see how he does. He had several accidents on Saturday but then only one on Sunday. I noticed that most of his mistakes are when he is busy playing or we are not at home. I decided he should probably go back to pull-ups when he is at daycare for awhile.

Jacob was not happy on Wednesday to wear a pull-up to school. I told him if he could use the potty at school, he could wear underwear. He went in the toilet twice and did not need diapers at all. Today he decided he wanted diapers again. It was probably good since we weren't home most of the day. I will try underwear again this weekend when I am not working. At least we are finally moving in the right direction.

I lost my first softball game of the season but it was still a success. I had a single for an RBI and also stole second base my first time up to bat. I had a great time and my confidence has definitelly improved. I can't wait to get back out there. I plan to go to the batting cage tomorrow and work some more on my hitting.

I don't really have much news on our friend A. It sounds like she is still in the hospital. I hope to have an update soon. Please keep her in your prayers. It has to be pretty scary to be sick and only 3 years old.

I also don't have an update on my next foster care placement. I expect it any day now. Last word I heard was that the social workers were expecting to move him in the next week or so. It is still somewhat undecided. I have the spare bedroom ready including the crib so I can accept a child at any time. I am guessing I will hear something next week.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

All Means All

These are the words of my pastor, Pastor Sue, in today's sermon. She was speaking about events at the church conference she attended last week. Pastor Sue was discussing the importance of allowing all people, regardless of race, gender, socio-economic background or sexual orientation into our church family and worship services. Our church as a whole denomination has been split for some time in the belief about sexuality. I try not to judge others and this includes their sexuality. I do not want God to judge me harshly because I spent my life judging the lives of other people. My local church also tries to welcome people from all backgrounds and sexualities into the life of the church. While gays and lesbians are not officially allowed to teach Sunday School classes or take leadership roles in the church, they are welcome to attend religious classes, services and church events. Most members try to reach out to all new members despite our differences and make everyone feel welcome.

I try to live my personal life in much the same way. I have friends who do not agree with homosexuality and openly preach against it. At the same time, I have friends who are gay and do not hide their sexuality. While I don't expect these people to ever be comfortable together, I do accept them as my friends and love them for what they do bring to my life. I teach my son to be tolerant, respectful and friendly to all people including those who have beliefs different from ours.

Jacob will grow up seeing people of different ethnicity, skin colors, religious beliefs and values come through our home. He will see me welcome the birth parents of my foster children into the house as friends. He will see me discuss parenting decisions with people who have made poor choices that led them to have their children removed from their homes. He will see me say hi and talk to the homeless people as we walk downtown. He will see me walk away from the person who uses racist or hateful language but he will never hear me be disrespectful to them. I try to be friendly to people who are not friendly to me in hopes that I can show him how to handle hurtful and negative situations peacefully. He sees me politely try to educate people about HIV/AIDS, poverty, Ethiopia, adoption, foster care, race relations and other difficult subjects.

I wish I could say that all means all in my home. I try my best. I will admit that there are people I do not feel safe around and will not allow near me or my son. I will probably always make poor choices myself at times and say things while driving in the car or after a difficult confrontation that I should not say. He may see me shy away from people who I believe will have a negative attitude towards us and our family. At the same time, I will do my best to show tolerance and will tell Jacob when I make a mistake and that I was wrong.

In the end, Jacob will grow up to make his own decisions on what he believes and how he wants to live his life. I can only hope that I am showing him a good example of what it means to be a Christian and a loving person more times than not.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Good Bye E

E left our home today. She was a very sweet little girl who deserves the best. She has had a tough life and I hope that it improves from here on out. E had some behavioral concerns that made me feel she was a threat to Jacob's emotional and physical safety. After a few serious incidents, I decided that I could not put Jacob at risk. It was not an easy decision. I have shed tears over it and will probably continue to mourn her departure for awhile.

I expect another placement soon and have requested a child younger than Jacob. I have done this for several reasons. I need to know that Jacob is safe when I am busy doing chores in a different room. I also believe that their will be less feelings of conflict, threats and power struggles if the foster children are younger than Jacob. I do believe that E could have been successful in our family if she had been younger than Jacob. I also know that moving her was the best decision for everyone. I was not sure I would be able to keep everyone safe with her here. I also could not give her the attention she needed and give Jacob the attention he deserved.

There are many stories and details that I do not feel comfortable sharing with others. Just trust me when I say that I did hope E would be able to stay longer if not forever. I also do believe that she has found a good family who will be committed to her, accept her for who she is and be able to give her the attention she deserves and needs. She will be safe there and so will the other people in the household. I made the decision that I felt was best for my family as well as for E. We hope to continue to have contact with her and wish her the best of luck. Jacob and I do love her and already miss her.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Prayer Request

I am sending out a prayer request for a 3 1/2 year old girl. She is a friend of my family's. She woke up this morning with no vision in one eye. I have yet to hear what the doctors have said about it. I am asking everyone to pray that A gets her vision back soon and that there are no long term concens with her vision. I am sure that she and her family are very concerned at this time.