Friday, June 28, 2013

Favorite Kid's Books for Foster Care/Adoption

I am always looking for good books for my kids.  However, what's become important lately are good books that help my kid's understand what is going on in their lives right now.  So here are my favorite Foster Care/Adoption books

Explaining Foster Care to Foster Kids:

Maybe Days
By Jennifer Wilgocki

I would recommend this book for children six or older.  It is a great book to explain foster care, what is taking place, and how the system works.  I also love that the book ends encouraging kids to just be kids.  On a side note, Addilece loves this book.  It has really helped her understand our three fosters' lives.

Families Change
By: Julie Nelson

This book is GREAT for younger kids.  It's language is simple and short.  It was perfect for Baby Girl.

Kid's Experiencing Uncertainty About Love and Separation

The Kissing Hand
By: Audrey Penn

Some of our kids struggle greatly with separation when we leave.  They are terrified we will never return.  They also struggle with knowing that even if we are spending time with another child it doesn't mean we don't love them.  The kissing hand has given us a good visual reminder.  We kiss their hand and tell them to hold it tight if they need a Mommy/Daddy kiss for later.  Another book like this is, The Invisible String.  We personally  like The Kissing Hand better, but both have the same message.

Kid's Already in the Home

Product Details Bear with Me
By: Max Kornell

We looked high and low for a book to explain to Addilece what was about to take place in her home but were unable to find one.  This book is perfect.  It talks about a little boy as he welcomes his new "brother" into his home and the struggles and joys of that. 

Do you have a book you like to read to your child to explain what is happening in their Foster Care or Adoption journey? 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

From Surviving to Thriving: Summer Schedule

Our theme this year is that we will thrive instead of just surviving.  I thought I would share a few ways in which we have done just that.

First up, our summer schedule.  I grew up and we just had summer.  Not many plans or set schedules.  I love that easy going attitude to summer.  However, we are now parenting kids that can't handle that easy going, no plans type of life.  They need schedule and structure.  They need to know what their days will look like. 

I also had goals for this summer.  I wanted to begin reading chapter books to our kids.  It was a favorite memory from my child, and it's so good for them.  I also wanted to make sure we enjoyed our pool pass but had time to get other things done during the day.  I think it's really important that our kids don't slide academically during the summer so I wanted to make sure we had time like that built into routine.

So here is our schedule that we are following this summer.  It has worked out very well so far.

What do you do during the summer?  How do you fit in everything you want to do?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Parenting a Developemental Delay

Little Man has a "Developmental Delay".  This label can stick with him till he is 9 and it lands him an IEP.  This is awesome because it means if he goes home he will still receive services from the school district he is in. 

Little Man's biggest struggle is how he relates socially.  Social pressure can completely shut him down.  He will use aggressive ways to get people attention (taking a toy away, hitting, running into you, etc).  However, we think he is an extrovert.  (Shocker, right?).  He strongly desires to be around others, he just doesn't know how to communicate or build relationships with them.

This turns into an everyday struggle that I am unsure on how to handle still.   It's a fine line to walk and I feel like I'm not succeeding on either side of it.

As I said, he uses aggression to communicate.  So Addilece and Big Brother are building a block tower, then taking a ball to knock it down.  Little Man thinks, "hey that looks cool".  However, instead of asking if he can have a turn he just runs up and knocks it down.  When the older two communicate to him that this was not ok he knocks it down again, and again, and again.  After about two minutes I realize he just can't do it so I intervene. 

Little Man and I have a discussion about respect and talking it out.  He heads over to the older two and to my heart's delight says, "I play too?  Please?"  However, by this time Big Brother is annoyed and says no.  Again, momma intervenes and explains that he communicated well he needs to be allowed to participate.  Big Brother lets him join in, Little Man is thrilled.

The problem....Little Man still doesn't understand the rules of engagement and has no comprehension of taking turns.  Soon we are back to Big Brother yelling and Little Man knocking down every block he puts up.  This time I ask Little Man to play somewhere else.

The problem....Little Man is an extrovert.  He wants to play and won't take no for an answer.  So over the next 10 minutes I break up the fights and try to redirect as Little Man runs the scooter into the block tower, steals the ball they are throwing at the tower, and lays right by it to knock it over with his hand.

So what do I do?  I want my other three to learn that their brother struggles with this and how to adequately communicate with him.  However, I also need Little Man to learn respect and the ability to listen to words.  And I don't have time to spend the entire summer mediating their play (and if I chose to do that, I really would accomplish NOTHING else).  When he heads back to school in the fall his play won't be mediated, so we need to work on it.

The point of this story.....I'm not sure there is one, expect I'm tired.  (ha, ha).  One of these days I'm going to write a post about how Little Man has completely changed me, grabbed my heart, and shown me God's heart.  For now, I'm tired and not sure how to navigate these waters.

I would love to hear from you?  Are you a teacher or a parent of special needs with a suggestion of how to teach on both sides of this?  What are some good resources to help us navigate?  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy Father's Day

 I just wanted to take some time and say thank you to some of the great men that are in my and kids' lives.


One of the greatest blessings in my life was having an adoptive grandmother.  I was so thankful when Bob and Carol were brought into our lives and when they chose to be that for Addilece first and then the rest of our children!  Bob always has a smile and a hug for our kids and ourselves.  I'm thankful for they way he's except each of us as his own.


I have been so blessed to have such Godly examples for in-laws.  Mike raised his son to be a true man of God, finding his foundation only in the word.  He has a servants heart and as always giving to others (especially his family).  He adores his grand-kids and they adore him.

 I am so blessed to have one incredible father.  He has shown me what a Godly marriage looks like and what a Godly husband should be doing.  He has taught to always go back to the Word to find truth.  He loves a "healthy" debate and I'm pretty sure I get my stubbornness from him.  I know that I am where I am today due to the way my Dad (and Mom) brought me up.  He dotes on his grand-kids and loves being a Papa. 
My Husband:

I can not say enough incredible things about my husband.  We are on the journey we are on because of him.  He is a rock solid husband and an amazing father.  He blows me away with his patience and steadiness.  He has built his life on the truth of Jesus Christ.  He is always reading and playing with his kids, no matter how long and tiring his day was.  He is taking time to invest in each of them personally, hoping to see them grow up to plan their faith firmly in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Please Note:  The pictures have only Addilece in them due to the regulations of protecting our other children's privacy.  These four men invest in and care about each of our children.  However, I do not have appropriate pictures for this blog to post of them.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Happy 5th Anniversary

Hey Tony,

I know you won't actually read this, but I thought I would address you anyway.  It  has been five incredible years together.  Five.  That's so hard to believe.  Neither of us would of imagined that we would be were we are today. 

In fact if you would of said, "Hey, how about parenting five kids in the next five years? Four of them being Foster?  One being ten?  One being six?  Disabilities you can't even name right now?"  I would of grabbed my train and ran.

Or if you would of said, "What if we spend our fifth anniversary sitting in a Pediatric Specialist office and enjoy pizza with my parents later that night?".  I might have told you that you had better be joking or I will never say "I do".

Somehow little by little God has brought us to this point.  And I wouldn't change if for anything.  I have a husband that I can share every joy and every tear with.  I have a husband that makes me laugh till I cry and let's me cry when I'm upset. 

I'm so thankful that you are following God each step of the way in our marriage.  I'm thankful for your steadiness and level head AND that you don't always let it get in the way of our decisions.

Thanks for 5 amazing years.

I love you!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Parenting Kids from Hard Places is HARD

One day I was talking to a few other Foster Moms who had become first time mother's through Foster Care.  They began discussing how they had never fought with their spouses like this before and it shocked them.  They never thought they would have so many disagreements over parenting.  I quickly stopped them  to let them know that their disagreements and struggles most likely stemmed from the type of kids they were parenting, not the fact that they had never been parents.  They had become mom's to kids that weren't necessarily "normal" to parent.

Like every married couple Tony and I have had our disagreements.  We've had some emotional struggles, good years and some pretty tough years.  However, one thing we've pretty much agreed on is parenting. We had figured out what worked for us and we went with it.  It was wonderful.

Then something changed.  We became foster parents.

Suddenly we were dealing with sensory issues, developmental delays, and attachment disorders.  And did I mention attachment disorders?  All of the sudden the parents who had found their groove were completely thrown off course.

It was hard.  It still is.  Sometimes I feel like we butt heads on every.single.issue.  Other times one of us is given the grace to see clearly and tries to graciously help the other see.  I'm not sure we have ever approached things so differently, at least not at opposition of the other.

We've had to work really hard to bite our tongues (my tongue is quit sore most times).  We've had to learn how to take the other aside and not show our disagreement in front of the kids.  We've also been working on taking our issues with the other to God, rather then to each other.

I'm thankful that I have a husband that I desperately love and trust, even if I don't always agree with him.  I'm glad I have a husband that is willing to listen and learn, even if our conclusions aren't always the same.  I'm glad I have a husband that shows me through his example how to be a better mom, not always through his words.

It is an incredibly tough learning curve, but it is one we are making together.

And to those two Momma's (if you are reading this).  Know that I love you.  You are amazing woman and God has given you your beautiful children for the time He deemed and for a reason.  You and your husbands have been one of the biggest blessings for our family.  Thanks for your support, wisdom, and friendship.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Goals May and June

*Complete weeks 4 through 8 of the Couch to 5K program.
*Read 75% of the Out-of Sync Child
*Read 100% of Kisses from Katie
*Complete "Save My Sanity" 21 steps
*Complete Spring Cleaning 21 steps

*Begin the process of discussing "emergency" kits.

*Finish court reports.
*Finish paper work for Little Man.
*Finish and mail paper work for Big Brother.

*Spend two nights on an in home date.
*Spend one night on an out of home date.
*Write a love note to Tony
*Sit down once a month to re-evaluate schedules and cut what needs to be cut, add what needs to be added.

*Pay off a set amount of debt.
*Begin X-Box and dryer fund (two things that will most likely break by the end of the year).

*Complete 4 week of the C to 5K. (3 weeks completed, week 4 started)
*Finish 50% of The Out of Sync Child (I also started Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis and Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxendia
*Complete 100% of the "Save My Sanity" 21 step project. (72% complete)
*Complete 75% of Spring Cleaning. (59% complete)

*Plan our Award nights and Banquet for Awana.

*Finish court reports and turn them in.

*Complete and turn in Little Man's paper work for his ADOFF. (ALMOST....planning to finish TODAY)

*Spend two nights a month on an in home date.
*Spend one night a month on an out of home date.
*Write Tony a love note once a month.
*Sit down once a month to re-evaluate schedules and cut what needs to be cut, add what needs to be added.

*Pay off a set amount of debt. (52% completed)
*Save 17% for an anniversary trip (75% total). (100% complete....YAH!!)

*Finish C25K
*Read 75% of the Out-of Sync Child
*Complete "Save My Sanity" 21 steps

*Begin the process of talking about Emergency Kits.

*Life Books
*Right a note to our Case Worker.

*Spend one night away for our anniversary.
*Write a love note to Tony
*Sit down once a month to re-evaluate schedules and cut what needs to be cut, add what needs to be added.

*Pay off a set amount of debt.
*Keep paying to X-Box and dryer fund.