Monday, January 31, 2011

Another Foster Care Success Story

Well our little guest left the nest today. What a delight she was to have here in the few short days we shared. Baby is back with Mommy where she belongs. It is always a joy to see the success and reunification. Although we will miss her dearly and think of her often... never forgetting her... we know this was the goal. We are happy for her and know she missed mommy so much! Prayers to keep your family healthy from here on out. We will never forget the footprints you left on our hearts.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Foster Care Rewards & Struggles

I am so tired I cant wait for bed tonight. I spent most of the day at the ER with our little foster child. Coming home knowing she was hospitalized was tough. My responsibility and heart was with my kids at home and I missed them dearly after being gone all day. I still can't help feeling bad for leaving a little girl all night without me. The poor little thing has been through a truly rough day. I hope you will keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers.
People often ask if its hard doing foster care? To be honest, yes sometimes it is. Its hard to care for a child as if their your own and then return home. But to be honest that is the best reward a foster parent can have. To know you made the difference in the life of a family or a child. Sometimes kids are tough, sometimes parents are. Sometimes its at know ones fault. You see people think of foster care as bad parents or kids in trouble. That's not always true. Sometimes a parent is ill or hospitalized. Sometimes a housing crisis or job loss. I try and treat every child as if they are my own children. I treat them the way I would hope someone would care for my child and love them.
Sometimes a child leaves and you never see them again. You wonder what ever happened. You pray their ok. Sometimes you see them or they find you. Those are the stories that make it all with while. What they or their families probably don't know is that each and every one of them has impacted our life in someway too. We never forget them either.
Hold your family dear and cherish every day. Good night all.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Kinship Adoptions; Grandmas Amazing Journey participating in the January 28th 5QF Blog Hop

I am so excited. I couldn't wait for this weeks 5QF blog hop. This is the only one I currently do and its so much fun meeting people and reading all the answers to the questions.
1. If you had $1,000 to donate to a charity, which would you choose?
1,000 dollars isn't a ton of money for any one charity to truly make a difference. I guess I would donate it to a local fund for a family benefit. Then I would know exactly where it went and the cause it supported.

2. Snow days: Do you welcome them happily or are they a pain in your butt?
Who doesn't honestly absolutely love snow days? Sleep in a little late, spend the day with the family.... I love them. Unfortunately, I can't remember the last one we've had. We live in Minnesota. I swear school is never even late anymore.

3. What talent did you wish you had and why?
I wish I was better at art. I absolutely love doing crafts but truth be told I rarely finish them. They never turn out like I plan and I loose interest way to soon. Im good at helping the kids... thats about it.

4. Are you a news, politics or celebrity gossip junkie?
No, honestly I couldn't care less. Its not like I know them. Their only human too. Just alot more money.

5. What is your favorite "cocktail"? (Are you a beer person, a kiddie cocktail junkie, or perhaps your more the "Cosmo" kind?! Anything flies...doesn't hafta be alcoholic!)
I honestly don't like alcohol. I am however, the diet mountain dew junkie. I can't make it through the day without it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A New Foster Care Arrival Brings Plenty of Joy to the Household Today

What an exhausting past couple of days. My mom just had surgery yesterday and today after leaving her home with our 5 year old I rushed home just in time to welcome our newest guest. Today I was so proud of my kids as they were so helpful with the 1 1/2 year old who came to stay through foster care. Just when you think your life is busy you realize there's always room for one more. What a precious little girl and god bless my kids who were truly a huge help in helping her to adjust. She looked pretty excited to see a whole den devoted just to toddlers and baby's in our home. :) Ya that's me... I love kids!

I must say I have the most amazing husband in the world to put up with me. Don't let him fool you though, he's a big ole softy himself. It takes a lot of love, multi-tasking and help to get through our days:)

Early morning tomorrow. School for some and off with two little ones to care for mom. I love my life!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Breast Feeding

Lately I hear a great deal of controversy over mothers breast feeding. Specifically breast feedig in public. Although I myself, bottle fed all of my children I believe its not really a "public" issue. Why is it when a person becomes pregnant one of the first things people ask is "are you going to breast feed"? I mean honestly... When I got married people didn't ask if I was going to have sex. A bit harsh I know and with a lot of sarcasm but why do people think they have a right to know? What really gets me is strangers will do it too. For that matter, just because a woman is pregnant isn't an open invitation to walk up and touch someones belly nor can you hold or touch their child whom you don't even know.

Now, having said this.... I did bottle feed my children. For me it was never a concideration. I, myself, ME, my opinion, am not comfortable with breast feeding. I never have been. But I was never around it. Being pregnant I never gave it a second thought. I knew what I would do. However, I am certainly not against mothers who DO breast feed by any means. Is it natural? YES, obviously! Is it cheaper? YES
Mothers who do breast feed say they feel a closer bond. Do I know that? No because I bottle fed. They say they have healthier babies. I don't always agree with that but Im not an expert. Personally speaking I think it has alot to do with the mothers nutrician and how she takes care of herself. I do know that from what I've seen it takes a lot of dedication, hard work, education on the issue, and alot of people can't do it.

So getting back to my origional statement... Why is it so controversiol? Who the heck knows. Because like everything else we tend to make other peoples business our business if its different than our own beliefs. I say to breast feeding moms who are doing their best, eating right, avoiding alcohol, ...etc Good for you. To heck with the poloticians and public. And to bottle fed moms... good for you too. It is a PERSONAL CHOICE!

For those who do want information on breast feeding I do follow some that I list on my blog. You might also check out The Great Letdown. I think she has a very good handle on what she is doing and educates herself on the matter. She even has reviews! 
Click here to check out the The Great Letdown

My purpose for blogging

While so many things seem to ramble through my mind at any given time.... this blog has been a great release for me. I truly believe in quality rather than quantity so I don't have a lot of posts up yet but trust me I have alot of ideas and alot to say on a whole ton of everything. From being a kid to a teenager, being a parent, breast feeding....I want to be heard! This is my place!!!

It all started around Christmas time. My daughter-in-law told me she had a blog. I read it a couple times and thought it was pretty cool. No big deal really. I didn't honestly see what all the hype was about to be honest. Jokingly one day I said well I could blog, I have plenty to say. She said do it then. I laughed it off and then one night while sitting around (my brother-in-law was hogging our TV) I looked up blogging and tried to find things of interest. Immediately, as though it was meant for me to see, I read a blog on a grandparent who had adopted their teens child. It was all wrong. It actually infuriated me! This person was complaining about how she never wanted to adopt this child and it was the worst mistake she had ever made in her life. I went on to then search other grandparents and "Kinship adoptions" ALL WERE MUCH THE SAME! That was it.... right then and there I made the decision I needed to have a voice. I being a foster parent, a parent and having two pregnant teen daughters needed to let others see the other side.
     #1  Not all teen moms come from broken homes
     #2  Not all teen moms come from poor family's
     #3 Not all teen moms have a poor education or further more go on to be drop outs
    #4 Not all teen moms live on welfare or even apply for welfare
     #5 Not all teen moms are gold-diggers. (my daughters never asked for a dime) Not once!!
     #6 Not all teen moms only think of them selves
     #7 for anyone thinking that teen moms who get pregnant are "easy" let me tell you this... most teens are doing it whether we want to admit it our children are or not. Its just lucky more kids aren't pregnant. I've also learned the first ones, especially girls, who talk behind other girls back are having sex too. They just haven't been caught yet.
I won't go on with the numbering... You get the idea.

Now regarding Kinship Adoptions, and in my case grandparent adoptions.:
First of all, you do have a choice. For those that said "they had no choice" bs! Shame on you. If you did not absolutely love that child with all your heart in the first place why in the world would you ever in a million years have adopted? To read some of the things I read made me cry. It moved me enough to write this blog. To actually dedicate my blog to its cause.

I do have alot to say about so many issues and I will. For now I wanted to say this is a blog dedicated to life. The good and the bad of parenting and family issues. Although I plan to gear it more specifically to the adoption of our youngest daughter (whom happened to of been our grandchild) I think its important for people all all ages to know they have choices in life and you need to consider the child in every decision you make. Like I said I also do foster care. I've seen my share of heartaches.

I look forward to meeting a lot of new friends along the way. Thank you for following and please feel free to write questions should you have them. I will try my best to find you answers or connect you with the resources you need.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Five Question Friday

1. Where did you meet your spouse and did you instantly know it was love?
We met from a mutual friend. I was 14 and he 15. We dated most of high school and then went our own ways. 8 years later while visiting my home town we ran into each other at a party. 3 months later I moved back to my home town and 3 years later we were married. February 4th marks our 16th Anniversary.

2. What is your favorite room in your house?
I guess I would say the livingroom. We recently redone it and I feel great about it. A fresh coat of paint makes all the difference.

3. Can you wiggle your ears?
Heck no. My husband can but it kind of creeps me out.

4. What is your evening ritual?
Usually I like to watch a little tv but lately since I started my blog I like to relax and unwind working on it.

5. How many hours of sleep do you need to function?
I need about 9. However, I seem to function on 6 ok. I drink alot of caffein.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Life as a Caregiver (a bit crazy I know)

6:30am  My cell phone lay next to me buzzing like crazy. All I want to do is stay in bed. This not being an option, I automatically go on auto-pilot. I fight to open an eye as I locate my facebook app on the almighty Iphone. (My lifesaver by the way) Barely making out whats infront of me while rubbing my eyes I attempt to make out the words. I NEED to know upon waking all thats happened in the 6 hours I've been away from it. While stumbling to the bathroom I manage to check my blog for any existance of new members. An exciting morning ritual thats slowly growing. Next I slowly, yet reluctantly, move towards our 5 year olds room. I've learned this must be accomplished with extreme caution and near CIA fashion. I test the waters by turning on her light. As if preparing for battle, I softly wisper her name. Steadily, yet swiftly, I move in closer. Knowing time is of essence, I know what I must do. As I draw closer I prepare for what surely will become the next greatest civil war. In hopes of reaching the enemy by suprise I plan to ambush her. Again, I repeat her name. This time with more authority while trying to remain calm. She explodes like a grenade pushing me back to the door. Its on.... while she may be small and fast I have years of experience and determination on my side. I go back in for hand to hand combat and acomplish the master plan which is getting her butt out of bed and ready for kindergarden. At precisely 7:30am we are out the door and on our way. Upon dropping my little princess off I must rush home for what will soon be my next mission.
Reaching the driveway I take a deep breath. I must be alert at all times for now I am dealing with a little more experience. At 18 years old, this one knows EVERYTHING! She's a mother for god sakes! Standing in the doorway I spot her. (And shes armed with the baby!) I smile. She instantly dashes out mumbling something about the time. Of course I'm aware of the time. I decide the only way I'm going to make it out alive is to drop off the oldest first. The wee one isn't a issue. I immediately turn up the radio and stare stright ahead. The goal is to at all cost avoid eye contact. I see her out of the corner of my eye texting on her phone. I make the mistake by letting my guard down and in an instant its Drama 101. I try to change course but its to late. This child has had 18 years of speaking abilities and several years of auctioneering apparently. I start to feel as though Im in a Charlie Brown cartoon when I see our destination approaching. Thank God for high school. I pull up to the door as I drop her off and like the dukes of hazard pull out before the next car tries to pass. Its like Nascar racing as I leave this hick school. I cant help feel joy as I know its going to be a peaceful ride from here on out.
Heading down the road I find myself eager and suddenly recharged as I sing some new country song when  I hear the start of whinning. While checking my rear view mirror I see what I call the "stink eye" directed towards me. Thank heavens were pulling into the parking lot. I've managed to avoid conflict with this one.
After dropping off the one year old I leave slowly and head to where I will remain most of the day.
I arive at moms whome I've taken care of since her cancer diagnosis this past March. Walking in I overhear her on the phone. I stop and I listen. My God I've just walked in to the BIG CATS house. I grit my teeth and prepare to defend as I relize theres nowhere to hide. Thankfully she gets off the phone and I see a smile. Yes. Defeat at last. We spend the day cleaning, baking, running erronds and talking. A few phone calls but other than that pretty low key. 2:00pm Time to pick up my princess. I await the long line at school before rushing back to moms where we spend the rest of the afternoon ice skating. We arive home at 4:30pm in time to make supper and start on homework. My knight arives at 5 with the wee one. I finish up making supper. The 18 year old is at work so I'm babysitting too. A phone call from my daughter-in-law checking on my blog and a quick chat with another grand daughter as Im setting the table. My husband is cranky that Im on the phone. Hes hungry and asks what I did all day? Sarcastically and boldly I say "NOTHING"! "Nothing at all"! As I put the baby in the high chair my phone once again is ringing. This time its my daughter. The older one. Now she is 22 and this is precisely where our 18 year old learned all her skills. As she rambles along; I attempt to eat dinner. Meanwhile, my husband and little princess interupt me every 5 seconds. I finally get off the phone and enjoy my meal with the family. While clearing the dishes another child rushes through the front door with his girlfriend. I believe they must have ran down the steps as it sounds like a bulldozer has just went through the side of my house. Not to worry though, its just someones head. There wrestling Im told. I shake my head and fall over the dog while trying to run for cover. I reach the top of the stairs when sarge yells for a towel. Apparently, he's already bathing. After running up and down the steps a few times; I arive just in time for the phone. Its my daughter again. She remembered why she called.....bla bla bla somemore. I finish the dishes. Get the little ones playing, and run back down to check laundry. From below, I hear my brother-in-law, who is currently spending some time with us. My heart skips a beat. I think its the 18 year old. As she gets baby ready for bed I try to hide but the dog gives me up. The princess is off doing her own thing. Just when I think I might have time to write on my blog; Im informed I need to run to the store. With homework and cleaning done I spend some quality time playing with the kids before reading a bedtime story, and getting them cleaned up. The phone has only interupted me 2 more times. Once from my daughter. The other my mom. Now 10pm I sit down to watch some tv when a small voice from the bedroom wants a drink and another story. I lay with her a bit until the oldest son calls. He questions what Im up to and tell me about his day. I get off in time to hear my brother-in-law say goodnihjt to sarge as I sneak down to my computer in the basement. I hear the door slam before I relize the other son has just left. Quiet at last. Some time for me. I stay up until midnight when I fall into bed and relize theres a 5 year old and full size dog in my bed. I know better. I slowly walk to her room. I crawl into her bed and turn on the tv. Good night atlast.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Taking Life for Granted

Its hard to believe our oldest is already 23 years old. Nearly 24...where did time go? Often times we get so caught up in our daily lifes that we forget what's important in life. I remember vividly being a young parent while going to college and working. I was 21 when I had my first child. Parenting seemed to come more easy for me but then I had been babysitting from the time I was 11. Having 4 children within 5 years would have driven most todays young parents over the edge but to me I found it quite the opposite. They were playmates and best friends. Looking back, I, like most parents, look forward to all their childs milestones. It seems were always waiting for the next step. To smile, to crawl, walk and talk. Then of course, it's Kindergarden and so on. So many things you always promiced yourself you'd accomplish tomorrow and then too soon time is gone and tomorrow never came. Just a few short years ago our now, 18 year old, would run to the car when I came home from work to greet me. I guess we take it for granted. For lack of appreciation, it's too gone. Next thing you know they want to be with their friends and start dating and somehow you're left behind. They get jobs and start driving and start raising their own families and you relize you wish you could just take back time. What I wouldn't give for family vacations, summers at the lake or to just feel their little arms around your neck just for awhile longer. Truth is every year we make resolutions to change and most of us slowly slip back into our routines. I find I have so much more patience with our youngest and grandchildren that I never had when the older kids were younger. Sometimes it saddens me to wish I could raise them all over again. How different it would be......

Its not just our children. Nearly a year ago my Mom was diagnosed with stage 3ovarian cancer. I couldn't bear the thought of loosing my mom. I prayed selfishly and asked the Lord to keep her with us if even just for awhile longer. I prayed that we be able to spend more time together and do some of the things we too hadn't done in years. Now, I relize you can never truly be prepared and I know I will never be able to let go. However, God must have believed she had unfinished business too because our prayers were answered by Gods amazing grace when in September mom went into remission.  We have spent countless hours together ever since her initial diagnosis. Whether it was chemo or the number of amusement parks, pools, zoo's and anywhere else we went we have been creating memories that I will always hold dear. Sometimes we just sat outside or did nothing at all. Sometimes we cried and other times we laughed until we cried. Most importantly we were taking time out of our lives to share together. Don't take life for granted.... you never know when tomorrow doesn't come.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Overcoming Animosity

Just a little over 2 years ago our 2nd youngest daughter became pregnant after abstaining a brain injury stemming from a car accident. She was nearly 16 years old. This time my husband took the news better than I. I guess I was reluctant greatly because I  sat with her day after day with all her doctors. I seen it as nearly impossible for her. I remember being so angry. I questioned how in the heck did this happen to us again? She was the one who complained when her older sister was pregnant. Family seemed to be supportive of her and tried to help any way they could. Her doctors on the other hand, were outright mean. One doctor flat out told her there was no way she would ever have a child and that she should have an abortion. This doctor told her she would loose the child and never carry the baby full term anyway. My daughter, as you can imagine, went on a rampage. She stormed out the door and I followed. At that moment I realized how much she needed me.

My daughter never gave up. Not only did she still go to high school and all the doctors but she joined every teen support group, took every class she could on parenting and spoke out at area schools. She even received an award a year later for logging in over 500 hours of parenting classes and was asked to speak at the local county social service agencies. Her OB/GYN refers to her as a "text book" pregnancy. She ate perfect, exercised right and gained exactly 20 pounds. She had the perfect pregnancy and just one week before her due date she delivered a healthy and happy baby girl.

I am pleased to say she recently turned 18 and will be graduating high school in February.  Not just a GED but her actual high school diploma. She went back to her high school full time. Baby is now a full fledged toddler who is very loved and well cared for. She maintains her employment and pays for all her and babies needs and is looking forward to starting college this upcoming fall. Life hasn't been easy for her. She's been a single parent since becoming pregnant. (Baby's Dad left running). She chooses not to ask for child support as he is not involved and receives no help from the county. She does of course, have a lot of support from her family. They still reside at home.

I want to be clear when I say don't ever assume someone will fail. Sometimes determination goes along way. Our daughter was determined. Her daughter is her life and best friend. Had she listened to that doctor or was concerned with my own animosity in the beginning she would have lost out on Gods greatest gift. As parents, we want whats best for our children. Sometimes we think we know whats best and were wrong. Although I would have preferred both of my girls been older I feel truly blessed. We are blessed with our 5 year old whom we adopted and now our 2nd youngest grandchild. This should be a reminder to us all that the mother has choices. She chose life!

If you are a teen who becomes pregnant it is important to talk to your family. Talk immediately. You should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. Teens worry that their parent will be angry or disown them. The truth is even I was angry for a day or two but we settle in and get used to the idea. Most parents will be very supportive even if you think they won't.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pregnant at 16

I always tried to be the best parent I could be. My kids grew up in the country and held a strong family bond. With having 4 kids in 5 years they were close in age and best friends. 2 boys, 2 girls. Who could ask for more. They were involved in everything. Some days I swear the car never stopped all day. We too had fallen to trying to schedule our children's days in hopes of keeping them out of trouble down the road. We wanted to give them every opportunity we'd never had. Church, Religion, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Swimming Classes, Dance line, Cheer leading, Odyssey of the Mind, Little League, Football, Hockey, Wrestling, Soccer, Basketball, Gymnastics, stock car racing........ the list was never ending!!!

Summers were relaxed and focused. We spent many summers at the lake. We did plenty of fishing, hunting and camping. With old fashioned barn dances, horse back riding, biking, swimming and just plane family fun. We also traveled and took a lot of weekend get-away trips as we called them. As a family we did everything. We hunted, went skiing, snowmobiling, 4-wheeling, dirt biking.... Our kids were spoiled brats!!!
When the oldest 2 were in junior high we sold our home in the country and moved into a small town. Same school district just up the road. It was important for me to keep the kids in their same schools.

Although we gave them every opportunity we were also strict. I guess I was a bit more of a pushover than my husband but the kids were expected to follow the rules (and there were plenty). They had chores and were expected to take pride in their work and do it right the first time. We focussed on setting positive values for our children and tried to instill the importance of family and a strong sence of who they were.
I think you get the idea and I wanted to share that in the beginning as I think its an important part to my whole blog.

You see I did daycare for nearly 10 years at home and our family has been a foster family for several years. We've helped many kids and many families along the way. I always felt bad for the teens who were pregnant. I blamed in on bad parenting or a lack there of. Our own children were never allowed to date until they were 16. I never did have to worry about my boys as they were so involved with friends and work they just didn't seem to be interested.

After all our best efforts, all our years of talking to our kids about waiting and birth control and ruining their lives............ our world screethed when we found out our 16 year old daughter was pregnant! My first responce was more supportive than that of my husbands. We sat down and I stupidly said you've only been allowed to date 3 months. How did this happen??? Wow! That was a dumb question. We talked about her feelings, the babys dads feeling, their future. Basically what are your plans? Do you know all your options? She made a decission to keep the baby. She continued school, had a great pregnancy and had the baby just as her senior year was starting. I really gave her credit she went from all about her to all about that baby girl. She found out quickly that when your a teenager and pregnant you loose most of your friends. Despite it all she graduated early her senior year even with her part time job and being a mom.

At 18 she and the babys father came to us. Yes, they are still together. They asked us to adopt. They just weren't ready to be parents. We talked alot about it. Again, did they know what they'd be giving up? We accepted and asked them to come back in a few months if they still felt the same way. They had and did. We eventually and happily adopted our first grandchild.

Even though she had always lived with us it sure was different once my daughter moved out on her own and we were the ones waking up at night, we needed a daycare, moved her room closer to ours, etc. But it didn't take long and we were back in the swing of things. We tried to keep things as much as possible so not to interupt her little life for atleast a year. Her pediatrician suggested we let her figure things out and she would best adjust and she has. She now knows she has 2 mommys and 2 daddys and she's a very happy little girl. She has a great big family with lots of people who love her. We are very close to birth fathers family as well. It may seem odd to some but it works for us. Most of the time. Sometimes we feel taken advantage of or that they don't see us as her parents but all in all I think their getting used to all the changes too.

The kids sometimes say I was starting to get empty nest syndrom with the older kids getting ready to leave on their own. To be honest, I always dreaded the day the kids would all be gone. We are so honored to have this opportunity and the trust from both families to always do the best we can. She, as well as 3 more grandchildren that have since followed, keep us young. Life is meaningful and worth living everyday. Our daughter, now age 5 and in Kindergarten and I spend nearly every waking minute of the day together. We learn from each other. We do alot of things with family and we learn about traditions and old time family fun as well as all the new technolgy.

I hope you will follow us as we take our journey together and more stories on what were learning on the way.