Thursday, February 18, 2010


I am sitting at home stalling on working on some assignments for school. We are doing distance learning tonight which I love. It means I can work from the comfort of my home and I don't have to pay for gas or childcare (which is about $50 per class). I also don't have to spend almost 4 hours in the car commuting which gets a little old.

The past few days have been full of reflection. Valentine's day marked the three year anniversary since I found out I was a mom. I still remember the odd feeling of knowing that I was the legal mother of a one-year-old boy on the other side of the world. A little boy I had never met but was anxiously waiting for. I also was given a travel date of March 8, 2007.

I got off the phone that day and immediately called my dad. We had previously discussed what each of us would do once the travel call came in. Dad began calling the travel agent and arranging airfare. I called work and told them I would be taking twelve weeks of sick leave beginning March 8. I called my mom to tell her the dates so she could tell her boss and then called a few friends. I was excited, anxious and scared out of my mind. It was absolutely wonderful and one of the best days of my life.

Fast forward three years and that one year old boy is now four and has a younger brother, M, who is 2 1/2. Jacob and I are extremely attached and bonded. He wants to be a police officer, fire fighter and doctor. Today he told me, "Mom, I will keep a close eye on everyone at school. I'll practice for when I'm a police officer."

I am also very thankful that God and human services brought me M. Talk about a miracle and joy. Yesterday I was sitting with M by the swimming pool waiting for Jacob to finish swimming. M looked up at me and said, "Mom, I'm forever." I asked him what he said and he stated, "I'm son forever." A couple minutes later I heard him say, "Mom, I love you too." Talk about a sweet and wonderful moment. That along with getting very close to no longer needing diapers and I am a very happy mommy.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ready For A New School

Jacob and M begin a new school/daycare tomorrow. I am hoping they can stay there for at least the next year and a half until Jacob begins kindergarten. This daycare seems really great. It is always full and almost always has a waiting list. Openings never last long and we were really lucky to be able to get in right away. One of my friends called about Jacob's class a few days after we registered and was placed on a waiting list. M got the last spot in his class and actually has one day this week that he will have to stay with my dad because there isn't room.

I spent today doing laundry and organizing school supplies. Each child now has a backpack with 3 extra outfits, clean nap blankets, winter outdoor clothing by the front door, outfits picked out for their first day and new haircuts so they are handsome. They are ready. We talked about keeping our old friends but also making new friends. They are nervous but excited about meeting new kids.

I am still feeling sad about the way that we had to leave the last school. It didn't have to be as ugly as it was. I may never know exactly why the director is no longer willing to work with families or why some of the decisions are being made. I do know that the church it is affiliated with has been having an increasing presence in the daycare and the problems seem to be growing with the church's involvement. My guess is that the daycare is becoming a revenue source for the church and the director and teachers are having less control over their center.

Whatever is happening, I am glad that we are leaving. We will miss our friends and teachers there but I know I made the right decision for my children. Tomorrow is a new day and new school. Hopefully the kids will make new friends and have fun in their new classes. I am sure we are all nervous about nothing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Winter Bugs Have Hit

We did well this year. M made it almost a year without antibiotics. Jacob made it just over a year. I have only had one cold all season. That has now changed.

About 3 weeks ago, both boys came down with colds. They are now sinus infections. I woke up this morning with strep throat. We are all on antibiotics now and becoming very well known at urgent care and our medical clinic. Hopefully, this will be it for the year and we can still call it a good year.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Court 3 Years Ago Yesterday

I wouldn't know it for a few more days but I was a mom 3 years ago yesterday. That was the day that the Ethiopian court officially recognized Jacob as my son. His name became Mitiku Heather ( insert last name). I was oblivious to it. All I knew was that I was anxiously waiting for a little boy across the world.

What I also didn't know was that the little boy was feeling angry and sad that his mom hadn't come and gotten him yet. He was feeling sad that other kids were meeting their mommies but he still didn't have one. How do I know this? Jacob has told me countless times since then. He said it the first day I met him when he quietly clung to me. He said it every time I returned him to the orphanage and he screamed. He says it in words today and sometimes in body language when he suddenly gets quiet and angry. He will look at me and say, "Mom! I wanted a mom and you didn't come fast enough. I'm angry!"

While those words hurt my soul and I wish he hadn't had to go through that pain, I am so very glad we are a family today. He's right. I didn't come soon enough. I didn't find him right away when I was approved to be matched with a child. I didn't come while I waited for the court process. I didn't come while he watched child after child come and leave and he still didn't have anyone to call mom.

Eventually I would come. A day he and I will always remember. It wasn't as soon as either of us would have liked but it was as quickly as I could come. It was when I was legally his mom and had permission to travel. It was a wait worth waiting but one that was painful none the less.

So to Jacob, all I can say is I'm sorry. I am so glad you are here and that we are a family.

To all the other children waiting for their new mommies, I say hang in there. It will be worth the wait no matter how difficult it may be now. You are all in my prayers and I hope you find your families soon.

Snow Day and American Idol

Tonight is a snow day. We are only getting around 6 inches but Appleton (where I go for school) is getting closer to 9 inches. The professor cancelled class so I get to spend a much needed evening at home with the kids. All I can say is whew! We just don't get to stay home very often.

So what are our plans for the evening? Well, what better than an American Idol party. I used to have these with Jacob when he first came home. He loved watching the singing. I would make a frozen pizza and we would sit on the blanket and eat our pizza and watch TV. I don't think Jacob remembers those evenings but I do. Just him and me relaxing together and enjoying each other.

Tonight we are eating egg rolls and crab rangoon while we watch American Idol. There are also 3 of us instead of just 2. The result is the same though. A relaxing evening with my boys where the pressure and fast pace of life can slip away.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Surprise Job Interview

Last Monday I was sitting in a team meeting for on-going social workers. It is the job that I have been doing my internship with and I absolutely love. I had applied for the position but didn't really expect to get it. Just hoping that I would. The supervisor began talking about the current hiring process and stated that everyone had already been notified who was going to get interviews. I hadn't received a phone call so was feeling more disappointed than I expected but understood. I don't have my social worker license yet and won't have it until after May. That is a major roadblock in my job hunt so I was planning to just apply again after I receive my license.

The interviews were scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday this week. On Wednesday morning my cell phone rang and I saw the child welfare supervisor's name on the caller ID. My first reaction was that they were calling because there was a communication problem and someone forgot to tell me about my interview. I immediately laughed at myself and then began trying to think about which family might be having a problem or if I had forgotten any paperwork they might need.

As soon as I got a break at work, I listened to the message. The supervisor stated she had heard from the social worker I was working with that I had not been contacted about interviews. She apologized and wanted me to call her back and tell her if I could come in that afternoon or the next day. Unfortunately, I wasn't available that afternoon since I was already at work but left her a message that I would come any time she wanted over the next two days.

I was able to interview at the end of the day yesterday. I know that the competition is very fierce. There are three of us that I know fairly well and all have very different experiences and will do a great job. I know they will hire who they believe is most qualified. It would be the perfect job though. Close to home but not in my county so I can still be a foster parent, a great group of people that I get along with and a department that shares my values. The last one is especially important since many of my current frustrations occur when my value system doesn't match my supervisor and co-workers values.

I should hear in a couple weeks who got the job. I won't be upset either way. It was great to just be one of 8 finalists and to be considered for the job. I am honored that they either considered me.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Parent Teacher Conference

I had Jacob's mid-year parent-teacher conference today. I was impressed and proud to say the least. His goals for the Spring are to stay on task and continue to work on writing letters. He is able to write all of his letters when he wants to, can read them and knows their sounds and can write his first and last name. He has completed all of the academic skills his teacher hopes to teach the kids this school year and has been helping other children learn.

Jacob and M change schools in about a week. I am looking forward to talking to Jacob's new teacher about Jacob's first semester and what I would like to see for the second semester. He should continue to do well and amaze me. Just a few days ago he showed me half an orange. He drew an imaginary line down the middle and stated "Look Mom. Here's one half and here's the other" while pointing to each side of the imaginary line. I am still planning to enroll him in 4K next year and start kindergarten the following year. I'm sure I could enroll him in kindergarten next fall if I had him tested but don't want to push him too hard. He is doing so well now and I want him to keep that self-confidence and motivation to learn.

I wasn't able to attend M's conference and hope to get his evaluation paperwork soon. He is younger though so his evaluation is just on child development and socialization. I already know he is doing well and has shown huge improvements in the past few months. He will also do well in his new school. He will be in 3 year old preschool next year and 4K the following year (one year behind Jacob). For now, I mostly just want him to continue to learn to get along with other kids and continue to learn his colors, shapes and other basic things.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Good Vs Bad Daycares

When I first decided to put Jacob in daycare, I was told to look for a daycare that is full and hard to get into. I was told to beware of daycares that had dropping enrollment and were easy to get into. The daycare I have been using fell into the first category a year ago. We were very happy. I felt like the teachers were willing to work with me and parents were generally happy. Something changed last summer and all of a sudden the waiting lists disappeared. They began laying off teachers and the teachers began looking much more stressed. I tried to talk to the director today about my concerns and she refused to discuss them with me. This included my concerns from last week as well as her refusal to give foster families the same sibling discounts as other families. She has a lot of excuses for this but the end result is that we are treated differently because we are a foster family.

I stopped at 2 daycares that we had toured previously. Both daycares stated they had room but cautioned that the spaces tend to fill up very quickly. They both received rave reviews from parents that I know and are highly recommended. They are also both slightly more expensive but well worth it if they have high quality programs and good educational programs.

I stopped by the second one we toured last week and dropped off the enrollment paperwork. They had room for both boys Thursday afternoon. By today, they had several families stop in and tour and one family put down a deposit to hold a spot. The person at the front desk wasn't sure they had room for M and only have one available spot for Jacob. I left the paperwork and deposit and he stated he would call me tomorrow after talking to the enrollment person. I am really hoping that there is one more spot for M and that we can get in there. If not, I'll call the other center tomorrow and stop there after work. I hope they still have room. I'm willing to put the kids in 2 different centers if I have to but I don't want to. At least it is another sign that they are a good center and not losing enrollment despite it being a bad economy (which is the excuse the other center is giving me).