Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Safety: Door Stops

My mother is a clumsy person. She broke a toe on the toilet once. My sister is just as awkward. She and my mother share the same middle name, as does AJ. She also shares their clumsy trait.

This summer I have watched her flip on the trampoline, do cartwheels off the diving board, race down the street on her skating board with her dog pulling her, and countless other daredevil stunts. Yet she broke her foot on a door stop. I don't know how.

I do feel horrible that I didn't take her to the ER last night. It happened at 9:00 and it didn't swell. She kept saying it was broken. She came in and woke me up at about 11:45 to tell me it hurt. I got her an icepack and a motrin. She came in later at some time to tell me that it was still hurting. She didn't want a pain pill left over from her appendectomy so I didn't know what else to do.

I took her in early this morning and sure enough, she broke her cuboid bone. On a doorstop.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Our sermon at church today was about relationships. Funny that I've had it on my mind so much. Sometimes we love people and find a closeness in people who are no blood relation and at others we stand beside our family even if they have become the scourge of the town. Either way, family is often what we make it.

I've learned a lot about family ties because of adoption. My grandfather was adopted, his older sister being taken minutes before they were placed with my great-grandparents. His sister contacted him when he was grown and still spoke until she passed away. My daughter knows her half brother that she was raised with for 7 years and wants to keep contact with him. What about the rest? Does that make them go away? Of course not.

When people tell me I do great things with AJ, I often blush. One thing I do feel that I do well is that I encourage her to remember and love her birth family if she so chooses. Yes, there were problems. It was enough for a judge to remove them, but I think she will have to face that when she is older. It does stop any love that is there. I let her find her way because those relationships will be hers, not mine.

Sometimes that isn't an easy thing for me to do. I really just know that she is capable of loving many people.

On to family pictures. Here are some more of Padre Island. It was windy.

Here is my wonderful husband.

Where am I, asks my friend Deb. I did buy myself a white shirt to wear for pictures. (you will never see me in white) The wind was a nightmare. I even have tornado proof hairspray and it only combined with the humidity to provide something like the Jim Carey movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas. It was bad. So no pictures of me.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Writer In The Family

I'm sure I am skipping all over the place in this blog. While I had hoped that we would reach a point that adoption wasn't even something we thought of anymore, that isn't so much an option anymore. No, we don't make a point of saying, "don't forget, you are adopted."

There is much more than that to it. We don't talk about it everyday but we talk about things as needed. My decision to volunteer for CPS keeps my back in the world of foster care and adoption. Not until this summer did AJ have any participation in this. Of course, going to the office brought back memories. I don't know if it is good or bad, it just is. Memories exist and who am I to say she has to forget them. She can't even if she tried.

In other news, she wrote a story that is being published by Chicken Soup For the Soul. The book will be released in Sept and her story tells about her dog and how he came to be a member of this family. She compares it to how she was also one with a not so great start in life but has found a home.

This opportunity comes at the same time she has been asked to be the spotlight child for National Adoption Month in our area. She will be busy and I am praying that it will all be for a good cause. While I don't want her to stand out because she is adopted, I don't want to ever deny her past or heritage. We love her no less because she is adopted and it is just what it is. It is the way we built our family.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

This is AJ. She was at the beach for the first time in her life. She loved it.

I can't imagine that many people are as lucky was we are. We have a beautiful, brilliant, well mannered and loving daughter. She is a survivor.

People often tell me that she is the lucky one, having us for a family and that we adopted her. I don't usually say what I am thinking at that time, but no, she isn't the lucky one. She didn't ask to be taken from her birth family. She certainly wasn't lucky to spend years in foster care while the case dragged on. Lucky to have us? I can't imagine it.

Nobody tells children who are born to a family how lucky they are. As people are getting to know AJ more, they are seeing now that it is really her dad and I who are the lucky ones.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Vacation Bible School

Really, it isn't much of a vacation. I've worked it for years and worked with just about every age group there is. I even did Arts/Crafts one year. Arts/Crafts is not my forte.

One year we were getting ready and the phone rings, asking us to pick up some kids a few streets behind us. They wanted to come but didn't have a ride and this person's van was full already. I probably grumped a little that it would cut into a few minutes of time but I already knew these kids. I had the boy in my class the year before. The little sister, I didn't know so well.

The first night was fine. They were well behaved and happy to have a ride. On the way home, she leans up and tells us that they are foster kids, hoping to someday have a family. She really wants a mama. Once we got home it was all Dale could talk about.

The next night she was late coming to the car. I was impatient and asked the brother, "What is taking her so long?"
"She wants to look perfect for you guys," he told us.

Yikes. She came out, finally, in a pretty little dress with lacy socks and black shoes. On the way home that night she leaned up and said, "Have you ever considered adoption? I know you would make great parents." She was 6 years old.

That is the beginning of how AJ came to be our daughter. Dale wrote in his home study essay (one of many) that his heart was heavy ever since meeting her. He couldn't forget her or his feeling that he was meant to be her father. There is much in between and it was a hard battle. She can barely remember that. Her brother was moved about six months later, the state deciding they shouldn't be together. He had special needs due to abuse/neglect, and needed a higher level of care. A little less than a year after VBS, she was free for adoption.

That is something we never thought would happen.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Rainbow Room

It sounds like a fancy tea room with fine china and lace tablecloths. Maybe even small cookies with a special filling, ones you can tell were handmade.
But it isn't that at all. The Rainbow Room in Texas is an emergency resource room that holds supplies, clothes and items for social workers to pull for kids as needed. Imagine picking up a child who has been in the ER for the last 7 hours, or pulled from a crack house, or the police station. They have nothing but the clothes on their back and often have to wait a few more hours until the social workers can find a temporary home for them.
This is where the rainbow room comes in to play. THere are diapers, formula, clothes, shoes, school supplies, shampoo, ect. The neat thing about this room is it is ran 100% on donations. Volunteers stock it and make sure there are no empty shelves. It isn't an easy job when very few people know about its existance.
This is my summer job. I work year round to help raise awareness and items for the room but in the summer I can get in there and really work. Today I will and even take AJ. Last week I worked and saw that we were low on diapers, formula, and we needed the summer clothes to replace the winter clothes.
I hope that if you have time, items or money to give, you consider the rainbow room or a place like.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Hush Little Baby

It is 6:05 and the kids are sleeping on this Saturday morning. The early mornings are the only time that I have any sort of peace and quiet.

Since Dale and I have had children since the start of our marriage, we were a little excited to start planning our empty nest a few years ago. We were going to go slowly and be prepared to move to the country by the time RJ was out of high school. We looked at land and at cabins. We measured and set our goal of 2008 to be ready.

That time has since came and went. We now have a daughter. The empty nest is now a few more years away and instead of it being in the country we are looking at going wherever she decides to go to college.

As I prepare my lessons for Vacation Bible School this week, I replay in my mind exactly how she came to us. It all started with Vacation Bible School. At least it was the start for us. She had already been in foster care for several years. When we got a call to pick up some kids a few streets behind us and bring them to VBS with us, we had no idea that we would someday adopt the little girl that dressed up in her best dress and lacey socks just for us.

But we did.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Who are we?

Our family really isn't like most others. We are a blended family that has melted together pretty well. It did take quite a bit of work though. More on that later. Through my job as a teacher, I am seeing that most families don't fit the Cleaver mold anymore. Some are the typical divorce/remarry, many are grandparents raising grandchildren, and many more.

Our family started in 1997 when Dale and I got married. He had been divorced almost 2 years and had one grown son and two at home. One was a teenager and one was 6. I had no children. We married and have since had maybe one weekend alone. We jumped right into family.

We brought a daughter into the mix with three boys. She was 8 when she came home to us. That is a story that takes a long time to tell so I'll save it for another time.

We are members of a small Baptist church, I teach school, and I volunteer for the local Rainbow Room in our county. I love photography, reading and writing.

This is who we are.