Thursday, December 9, 2010

What's up?

Hi everyone! I've been home for almost a week sick with bronchitis and laryngitis. Funny how life slows you down sometimes. Maria(Canada), thank you for your comment. I never really "go anywhere". I look at this blog several times a month and think "why can't I blog". Then I give myself permission to ignore it. Ha. I've been giving myself permission to ignore myself all my life. I need the push so thanks!

So let's talk about why I'm not blogging. Um, because I'm scared. There I said it. I went too far into my story too fast and got scared. What exactly am I scared of? The vulnerable feeling I get that I spent forty years building a wall around.  Telling this story is like getting naked in front of people in the mall or something LoL.

I'm not really good at getting "nekkid". I had a good friend tell me once that I come off as a "hard" person, but that anyone who takes a little time to get to know me can see it's a cover. Ah, how many children do we see doing that? But I'm not a child. So when will I allow myself to be comfortable in my own skin. Will I ever trust or is that even necessary for finding "peace".

I have learned/recognized recently that I'm not content with my "all or nothing" approach to life. I am not able to do anything half way. I either give it everything I have or nothing at all. That includes housework, social work, parenting, friendships, relationships and of course, this blogging (obviously). I don't know how. I love my therapist. She promises me she's going to teach me to find some middle ground and how to find some peace of mind. I believe her too.

One decision I've made is to set a goal for myself to be out of CPS work by August 2011. (Every social worker knows that time will fly by). I don't want to jinx myself by telling my hopeful plans just yet, but new and exciting adventures are on my horizon and if they fall through, I'll develop a new plan. I'm resilient like that. It's time for me to be a social worker on my terms and CPS work has been a definite growing experience for me. I know it's time for me to be happy... now... not five years from now. I love my families, but I do not love the "system". I might talk about the "system" later, but not tonight.  I will always serve families and children. I know that is my purpose... I just need to find the right fit and avenue that will allow me to have balance in my life. It's going to be exciting!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I love the weekends. Every Saturday morning I get up and let my dogs out to potty and stand on the back porch that my sweet husband built with his own hands and look at my back yard which extends about an acre or so back. A field lies beyond our yard so I'm not looking at someone else's life. I see birds and bunnies, wasps and bees. Our little pool which has been so much fun this summer. I have never been so grateful to be just able to live my life. Our little dogs (a Cocker Pug, a Cocker Jack Russell who looks like a hot dog, and a Boxer) bounce around to say good morning (one of them is just a sleepy little runt and stretches and yawns and looks like she couldn't care less that I want her to make some business). I feed our two cats, one geriatric and the other most definitely gay. I always laugh when my daughter has put a night shirt on him that has rhinestones on it. He loves to wear night clothes to sleep for some odd reason. I pull his night shirt off and give him a good scratch on his belly as he flops over on his back.

My husband is always up before me and waits for me to get up each weekend morning to make breakfast. He's been making weekend breakfast for 21 years for us (when he's in town) Sometimes pancakes or French toast. Today, bacon, sausage links, eggs, biscuits and gravy. He always pours milk in glasses and sets them in the freezer so they are extra cold for our meal. He's a morning person and usually only gets a sleepy smile from me until I've been up about an hour. We don't usually talk in the mornings. We just "be".

Our son comes in from his morning walk and declares he's not eating this crap  as he makes his way to the shower.  After awhile he is in the kitchen making a plate of biscuits and gravy while his dad teases that he'll have to walk ten miles to get that off.

I comment that it's awfully quiet without our daughter here who is pulling a shift at her job. She'll excitedly come in around noon with some treasure she found on clearance while she was working and proudly show everyone in the house what kind of steal she got.

Soon we all start talking about our week and what we want to do for the weekend... Chores get divided and  done so we can get on with the business of doing something fun. Next weekend we're planning to go to the International festival so we'll probably skip breakfast and just get ready to go to town.I've been taking my favorite former foster child there every year for the past five years. We'll sample lots of cuisine from other countries and talk about getting a Henna tattoo which none of ever end up getting. I love the predictability of my life. So sweet and so simple.

Hope all of you are enjoying your weekend traditions.

Friday, September 10, 2010

An appearance

Hi everyone, I'm wide open tonight. Drinking tomato juice and watching Big Brother After Dark. I'll probably have dark circles for the judge tomorrow, but that's okay cause it's Friday!!!

Anyway, I've gotten a second job. I'll be moonlighting as a hotel desk clerk. Sounds really fun to me. Not that I have a lot of extra time, but I do have a lot of extra bills. Having a lot of kidney stones can get expensive even with insurance!! But I'm soooooooooo thankful for Lithotripsy (or however it's spelled). I could have gotten a side job doing some social workey stuff, but I'm saturated with that so I thought NAH.

The weather has been beautiful here. We've been getting furloughed at work as a "budget balancing measure" so I had a four day weekend last week. Honey took off work too and we did a lot of yard work and house work and watched a whole season of Weeds. SO irreverent and so funny. I didn't even feel a minute of guilt LoL. I was proud of that.

Therapy is going amazingly well. I know that the reason I've stopped writing is because I'm a place in my writing were I had very difficult suicide attempt. I realize I'm not ready to talk about it and that's really okay. I was just 13, but what a powerful time in my life. I can't decide whether I should skip that part and pick up after that so I can keep writing or wait until I can write about it. I'm definitely open to votes. Skip and write or wait. (I reserve the right to make the final vote LoL).

So what else is going on? My son is in love. Love definitely looks good on him. He's cute. The sad thing is that I'm concerned about his girlfriend and her family. I don't think he chose to fall in love with her. I don't really know them, ... only by reputation and the jail website. Not good news. We've talked about the issues and tried to set some boundaries, but he will be 18 next May and I really don't want to force him to become "private" about his relationship with her. (I call it secretive, he prefers the word private Hahahaha).

I hope everyone is well and thank all of you who are following this blog. I see there are some new comers and hope this blog helps someone in some small way. You all are the best and have been SO good for me.
I'm gonna go see what some of you have been writing about and hope to hear from a bunch of you soon!!

Sleep tight Blogger Friends!!! Babs. 


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I wonder why it is that when I feel like I could post and talk about the past when I only have about fifteen minutes before I need to leave or be somewhere? Then, when I have an hour or four... I'm sort of like... stuck. Like I don't know myself. But I do know myself.  Moments of clarity... a lifetime habit of ignoring.

Anyway, I have a flat tire and my honey is out of town. Thankfully, I have sweet co-workers willing to give me a lift into town. It's too hot to teach myself how to change a tire for real.

My mom's birthday is coming up on the 18th. Those are the times I wish I believed or believed more... or knew what I believed. It's so much less painful to just say I don't.  Playing with those ideas is like sticking my hand in scalding water.

It's days that I have flat tires, no money, and a whiny attitude that I want her. But not her... the her I wanted her to be. That I want her to be.

I want to whine and laugh and cry with her and see a smile or hear an exaggerated "I'm on my way".

I hope my kids feel like they have that.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Seveth Grade.

My mom had a lot of Church friends. I feel like I'm repeating myself. The majority of the friends she chose to surround herself with were people with were at the lower end of the intelligence scale. The majority had a host of mental health issues. Depression, a lack of ability to see beyond their own issues, made them blind to the reality of our lives. Well meaning. Big hearts, little sense. One of her friends had an ex-husband that ran an alternator shop. She arranged for me to have a summer job at the shop. I thought it was odd, but money was money. The man was never out of the way with me, but mistrust ran deep. I was always on edge waiting for him to try to touch me. He was older and odd. In the shop there was a caged monkey that he instructed me never to feed or touch. I could not open the cage, but I often talked in a quiet voice to the entrapped animal. At just barely 13, I was out of place in a run down building that employed just a few other men. A few days a week the man would pick me up and I'd spend my day doing odds and ends. He never preached to me. Never attempted to be inappropriate. I still questioned my mother's judgment and waited for the other shoe to drop.  I was never able to develop trust with the man who picked me up, but an there was an awkward kinship with that monkey. I knew that the man and his ex-wife had very active adult children in the Church. They had children by the van full.  By active, I mean fully participating in the Church. The man appeared lonely and his ex-wife was off her rocker. He appeared to be alienated from his children and grandchildren and I often wondered how he got through each day. I thought he would probably kill himself, but he never did.

Summer went by in a haze and it was time to start back to school. I had no place to fit in really. No child doing drugs thinks the people they do drugs with are really their friends. They might tell you they do, but they don't. They are just other people who have as many problems as you do. Misery loves company as they say and you learn to settle.  Children who don't do drugs avoid you like the plague. There were no "friends" at Church because let's face it. I hated them.

School began and my attitude pretty much sucked. I skipped 28 days of school my 7th grade year. Slipping a pad of school excuses in my backpack was easy from Dr. Dumbass's office. I became the master of my domain in seventh grade, but was lonelier than ever. I definitely was able to find people to hang out with while I skipped school, but not anywhere I'd want my children to be hanging out for sure. Some days I'd hang out with a girl from school who skipped more than I did and others I'd go to a man named Pappy's house. Pappy had four grown sons. None of them on the up and up. But Pappy never asked questions and there was plenty of alcohol in that house among other things. I will say those boys were very respectful of me in the sexual sense and it was as safe a place as any other.

But as luck would have it I did eventually get busted. I was skipping in this young woman's apartment in my own apartment complex. She needed to take her toddler to get his immunizations or something and I was getting ready to fry some potatoes to eat. I'd never fried potatoes, but I wanted some so I thought I knew what I was doing. How hard could it be?? Her parting words to me were "Don't burn my place down" and within 20 minutes I had set fire to her kitchen. Flames flickered up under the Cabinet as I grabbed a towel to put out the grease fire and of course the towel caught fire. As I panicked looking for salt or baking powder, the wall caught fire and a deep black smoke filled the apartment. No fire extinguisher, a small disposable salt shaker and water. I knew not to use water on an electric stove. Finally I abandon ship. I could hear the fire trucks and knew I was in deep shit. I was probably high truth be told. When I exited the apartment in full view of the crowd that had gathered in the parking lot, I spotted my mother immediately. God help me I knew what was coming. And this time I deserved it. That was the last time I skipped school.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Confession Time

Okay, so I started seeing a therapist. I thought I was just going to go and gripe about work. What social worker doesn't need an outlet? Of course, before the end of the session we'd already gotten to the heart of the matter... Mommy issues. I'm so transparent LoL. Anyway, I think it will be good for me, not to mention my friends. I never want to be that friend who uses every person in their life as a sounding board. I'd rather enjoy my relationships. It's amazing to me the effect she still has on me 19 years post death. I'm actually pretty proud of myself for going. I went through all the same bargaining dialog with myself that I imagine everyone else goes through... "I'm not crazy", "I got this", etc etc. and I DO "got this", but it's very nice to have someone to release all the things I'd like to talk about that I just wouldn't put on someone I care about.

In other news, we got a pool this summer. So much fun!! Great exercise, very relaxing. The heat has been unbearable this year and the pool is just a perfect cure. (except I get sea sick if I swim too long... I'm just a freak like that LoL)  We've been enjoying all the summer veggies our local farmers have grown, watching Big Brother (which is kind of boring this year) and getting ready for our son's Sr. year. Sr. pics were so funny. He's had that "Bond, James Bond" look in almost all of them. Oh! and I turned 40 this summer. What what!! Yes, I'm a grown up now. Thank you... thank you.. you can stop the applause now.

Tonight we're celebrating my daughter's best friend's birthday. She's such a sweetheart. I hope we can make it a very special day for her. Cake, presents and good food followed by the show "Pretty Little Liars". What could be better?

Hope everyone has a great day.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Life under control

Hi everyone!! I've been away forever it seems like! Caseload is back down to a managable 24 cases. Summer is beginning to wind down as school starts back in a little over a week. I've been taking a few summer classes to prep for grad school. I was thinking I'd go in August, but the ever procrastinating me is thinking maybe next year hahaah. I'm going to start posting again, but first I want to go read everyone's blogs. I've missed you guys bunches!!! Looks like I have some new emails too : )

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Still alive LoL

My case load's off the hook right now. Attempted suicides w/ gun in front of kid, sexual abuse allegations, meth use,  etc etc all on different cases. On the brighter side, I get to give away two cases to get my case load to 27 and have about eight kids being adopted this summer which will get me down to about 21 or 22 cases. Going to pick up a netbook today so I can stop lugging this laptop everywhere!! Thankfully I recently discovered McDonald's Frappes. Now that's some good stuff. Good for me mentally anyway. I'm having withdrawals bc I'm so behind on blog reading and posting. I don't know what's going on with anyone! Hope everyone survived the floods in Ky/Tn areas! Will check back and post soon!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eat. Lie. Laugh.

Depression and low self esteem was my constant friend.  I was familiar with depression and migraines and had been for years. Even though I wanted something different, I didn't know something different. I was never a "woe is me" type of person, but I was still miserable. First the yelling and hitting, then the migraines, then the vomiting. I learned to vomit just by thinking about it. I regularly saw Dr. Dumbass or was taken to the ER for Demoral shots as migraines. As usual, my mom was super nice when I'd get sick. After she caused me to be sick. Looking back now, I can see the cycle of abuse very clearly... tension builds, incident occurs, reconciliation, calm.  (Even after I went to foster care and the migraines stopped... I continued to vomit out of habit for several years into my marriage. I weighed 98 pounds on my wedding day and never really felt energetic).

Demoral was a certain escape and a dreamless sleep. I relished a time to sink into oblivion.  Dr. Dumbass put me on blood pressure medicine to try to control the migraines. Since the issue wasn't about my blood pressure, and Dr. Dumbass continued to up the dosage at every migraine, I was eventually on enough meds to stabilize a 400 pound hypertensive man.  S.T.U.P.I.D. My blood pressure began to bottom out causing me to be lethargic and even more depressed. The hospital finally told my mother Dr. Dumbass was going to kill me.

One thing there was no shortage of our apartment complex was pot/pills/alcohol etc. The summer of my 13th birthday I smoked my first joint. Everyone I knew got high. There was a sweet girl and her husband with two very young children who lived upstairs. She cooked mashed potatoes every night and I'd always sneak in and get a bowl of them. She was always kind to me and seemed to be glad for company. I always left her apartment before her husband got home. They got high and were nice people. I began to see pot as just something people did for relaxing, fun and entertainment. It was a rare day that you didn't go outside and smell it. My mom and step-dad smoked it. His dad smoked it too. What's the big deal right?

I began babysitting for a few of the neighborhood parents and usually they would smoke it right in the living room before going out. No one even hid it. They'd smoke it out on the porch, in the kitchen, in the living room... it was like smoking cigarettes. One of the women I would babysit for always talked about how she got the munchies after smoking. She said she couldn't pay me for babysitting, but would give me a joint when she got home. I didn't care. I just wanted out of the house. She said I could use some munchies.

I talked my mom into letting me go to the skating rink the next night and arranged to ride with my friends. I went to another girls house to get ready. I think my mom was glad I even had a "friend". I was definitely anti-social and sometimes stuttered when I'd try to talk to people if I was especially nervous. Pot was GREAT. I laughed, I talked, and I ate. I drank a whole pitcher of Kool-Aid and my new friends laughed at me chugging due to having "Cotton Mouth". They laughed harder as I leaned over the balcony and immediately spewed the whole pitcher back up. My body wasn't used to having that kind of volume thrust on it. I had been nit-picking my food until my body had it's own ideas of what was allowed in an what wasn't and munchies be damned.

Now having a few "friends" wasn't something I was used to and lying came naturally.  I'd spent years lying to cover my ass at every turn. I'd spent a good amount of time daydreaming up fantasy worlds to live in to escape my own life. I'd learned to keep secrets and lying was a way to develop a world I'd like to live in. As the summer passed, I developed a crush on an older boy across the hall from our apartment. He was the brother of the residents who lived there and I'd often babysit for them. Night time babysitting was easy. Kids were put to bed and I basically watched TV until parents returned. We'll call my crush Nasty Boy. Nasty Boy was bad. Bad. Bad. Bad. He was also about six years older than me. Another skill I developed through the years was flirting. I'd heard my mother more than once talk about what a seductive child I was.

I put my skills to work and loved the challenge of trying to get Nasty Boy's attention. I told him outlandish lies about being a model when I lived in Missouri and said I'd gone to modeling school. He laughed, knowing I was lying, but didn't call me out on it. He just let me spin my web of deceit.

[I believe that children lie for only a few reasons. 1. to cover their ass. We've all done that. Usually parents cause this type of lying by asking children stupid questions like.. "Did you do that" or "Why did you do that". If you want your kids to lie... ask those two questions. 2. to build their self esteem aka Fantasy Lying - self explanatory and finally 3. to control their environment. Kinda goes with 2. ]

Lying would by my friend for the next ten years or so. I really thought people believed this shit too. "Oh, I recorded this song wanna hear it"... "Um, isn't that Janet Jackson's new release". "Wtf... don't you listen to KISS? What do you know about Janet Jackson"? "Hello... MTV"?. 

I was out of touch with reality. But that was okay cause I could just smoke a joint and laugh. And laughter felt wonderful!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The wedding

Pothead's family lived in a very rural area just past a national park in our state. They were so rural it made the community we had lived in on the farm look like a city. Anytime I was exposed to new people, new families, I was very observant. It was like taking an Amish child and putting them in one of our houses for a few hours. Everything was new. Everything was strange. So let me tell you about this family.

Pothead had a mother that worked herself to the bone. She was short and thin. She had a hair-sprayed bonnet hairdo. She, nor none of the family members could sign, but she could finger spell to Pothead. Pothead and his dad and sister were all heavier set. The sister was in her mid-twenties. She still lived at home. She was homely and had really bad hair. It was kinky/frizzy. Nothing could really be done with it. She kept it short, but it looked like a football helmet. She could also finger spell.  The dad, who was illiterate and an alcoholic, used his wife or the sister to communicate with Pothead.

I asked my mom why his family didn't learn to sign. This was their son and they'd had like 30 some odd years to learn. Mom said that Pothead had been sent away to school to live and learn to sign and read etc. Since he was only home during the summers and holidays she guessed they didn't get a lot of practice. To me, it spoke volumes about Potheads worth to the family. Explained a lot.

We'll call Pothead's Mom Venita and Dad we'll call Henry. Venita and Henry got up at 4 am even on the weekends. Venita kept the whole house clean and grew vegetables in her spare time. The family drank a lot of instant coffee. The kids were lazy. Neither had any independent living skills. We'll call the sister Kara. Even though Kara was grown, she sat in her room and listened to music all the time. She had no social life, no friends, no job. Henry wasn't in the best of health. He made extra money selling pot. Venita pretended she didn't know he did that, but if I knew... everyone knew.

Venita tried to be very nice to my mom and us girls. She was happy Pothead found someone. She'd slice tomatoes for me if I asked and I'd try to teach her signs. Kara wished we'd just disappear. We were annoying.
I generally followed Venita around because there wasn't a single thing to do when we'd go there on weekends. Venita did all of the laundry in the full basement and had no contamination rules. The house was clean, but not to mom's standards.

I was talking to Henry one day, standing beside his recliner. He was stupid. He was always touching his dogs wang because he said his dog liked it. Venita would yell at him and tell him to stop. He asked me to get him a beer and as he did slide his hand up the inside of my leg. I leaned down and whispered that if he ever touched me like that again I'd break his fingers. He quickly moved his hand and I felt empowered. I never mentioned it to another soul. I assumed a lot of men were this way and had decided that I'd never allow a man to touch me again. But there was no sense in getting the whole house in an uproar. Would anyone even believe me? This was the third time someone had been a pervert with me. I felt confident things were nipped in the bud and went on about myself.

I have no doubt that it's likely almost every girl in the world has been put in that type situation. Maybe not a full incident of anything happening, but that some adult somewhere made them uncomfortable.

I was moving into a stage in my life full of angst and depression. I wore some matching stupid outfit with my sister to the wedding in Hog Waller County. Donna was there and as mom and Pothead took center stage, I remember feeling very disconnected from the events of the day. I can clearly remembering thinking that something was wrong with me because I didn't experience joy anymore.  I thought it was because I wasn't Church worthy.  I experienced anger, depression, nothingness, curiosity, longing, but joy and pleasure escaped my grasp.  I was powerless. The only person I had a connection with was in California and I had no idea if I'd ever see her again. So I developed some coping mechanisms. As someone who loved music, I wouldn't just listen to music,... I'd often pick out one instrument and focus on that part of the song imagining myself playing the instrument. This technique allowed all other thoughts and emotions to be drowned out and gave my mind a rest. We weren't allowed to listen to the radio at night, but I'd listen to songs in my head to drown out any thoughts that were threatening to drag me into darkness.  And time marched on.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Nodes aka Weepuls

Amanda... These are "Nodes"... except this one has feet and stuff aka Weepuls as these are called. Nodes are just the eyes. All different colors. If anyone wants some Weepuls you can get then here.

Here are the type stickers used for "kisses. I stole this picture from Amazon :O

Monday, April 12, 2010

Clarifying and upcoming posts

My daughter (who is grown before I get another hate email - which you can stop sending by the way because you're stupid I just delete them) who reads this blog and knows me as well as anyone in my life... pointed out that I might want to clarify to the readers that although yes, I was sexually abused, I consider the majority of my "trauma" to have been inflicted by my mother who did NOT sexually abuse me.  So, now that I've said that out loud, I want to talk about why I've been so slow to post lately.

The next several years of posts are going to include disassociation aka splitting, lying, promiscuity, suicide attempts, eating disorders, and a lot of other really reactive behaviors that we see in children in foster care every day. I'm going to talk about them so that we can possibly have a little understanding and compassion for what abused children could be going through although I make no claims that every child is reacting the way I did or that I had every reaction that other children have had or have. Every person/child deals with their reality the best way they can with the coping skills they have developed.

Also...I do not use the word survivor to describe myself because I am no longer a victim. I am mentally healthy in today's life (to the best of my ability LoL) and I don't pretend that the past doesn't affect the way I view the world. That is true of every person. I also realize I talk a lot about being in spiritual conflict and crisis throughout this blog which has remained a final unresolved issue. I have received a few emails from some well-meaning, but narrow minded people who want to tell me that I'm going to hell if I don't accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, so let me say this:

I love people (and sometimes I hate people). I love the variety of paths that people have lived and where that has led them. I love learning from them and developing new perspectives because they were able to articulate something in a way that made sense to me.  I love a lot of believing people, both Mormon and non-Mormon. My  issue is not with people as people... so don't make this about you or your religion or your personal relationship with God... and please... don't make it your personal goal to save me by telling me I'm going to hell. I climbed out of hell and my personal belief is that hell is created by people. I've found the  most loving of Christians are gentle with non-believers. I don't respond well to any other approach. And I'm really  not ready to deal with all that yet and I don't have to. I'm on my own timeline, living my own life at my own pace. If I get hit by  a bus tomorrow, I was still a good person despite other's criteria regarding my soul.

This is my journey. I cuss. It's not to offend, it's because I thought  I cuss word. I blog my reality... as I remember it.  It's not my intention to cause contention among believers. It may help you to understand the struggle of abused children as it relates to their conflict with religion and/or God, if you'll just take a deep breath. I think this is where some psychologist somewhere says "I'm okay, You're okay".

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Church Camp

It was hard to  make sense of  my world at 12.  I was grieving my grandparents and my understanding of my mom was in utter chaos.

One night as I was laying in bed, my mom came into  my room and sat  on my bed. Wtf.

I just sat there. What. does. she want.

"Are you excited about going to Church Camp in the morning"?

"No, I'm scared".

"You'll be fine... and...I have good news...when you come back  Pothead and I are getting married".

Silence... crickets... I don't get it.

"Um... is that why you're sending  me away this  week so you can be with your (insert 12 year old smart-assy-ness here) deaf pot smoking boyfriend LOVE"?? This was one of the first times I can remember consciously trying to manipulate my mother. I usually was a soldier at trying to please her, but the window was  opened so I jumped through it.

"No, of course not! I think you'll have fun". She tried to hug me. Such a rarity. I stiffened my body. 

Now I lay in bed wondering why... why was she smoking pot, why was she marrying a non-church-member? Yet, at every opportunity she was speaking "Church speak" and etc etc.

The next morning she dropped me  off at the Church so we could head  off to camp. I was not a child who was comfortable in her own skin and definitely didn't do well with change.  I needed what was familiar even if it was bad. Shy and awkward I got into the van. Most of the girls in the van were from two different families. Each family had like 421 children. I was always curious how these righteous girls' fathers could not only afford a gazillion kids, but they all lived in beautiful homes and had the nicest of things. On one income nonetheless. It  must be because they were righteous, I assumed.

I nervously twirled my Choose The Right ring as we pulled up into Church Camp and read the sign that said "Mt. Zion something something". As we got out of the van, I quickly scanned the surroundings. Up on a far away hill was a beautiful lodge and opposite were several medium sized cabins. One of the particularly pretty, but bossy girls told me  to grab her luggage and bring it to the Lodge. I was new and it was tradition.  Fury swept over me in a flash and I kicked her suitcase over as her dumb ass flew up the hill giggling with her friends.  Eff her. Second thought. Turn the other cheek.  I trudged up to the Lodge carrying my bag (leaving hers) when the girl looked back.  "If you don't have MY bag, why are you coming up to the lodge"?, she sneered... "YOU sleep in the Cabins. You're a first year"! Ooooh, that BITCH. So  much for Jesus touching your cold heart. Another faker. I'm sick of them.

I turn around and head back towards the Cabins and am directed to the correct one by some older teen wearing a camp t-shirt.

I hugged myself with a little Jesus talk and summonsed the courage to go into the cabin. My temper had cooled by the time I got there and as always I got over myself as quickly as I got mad. That just meant I wasn't mad, not that Ms. Priss and I would be friends.

I had wasted time getting into my cabin and was left with a top bunk. I was not a fan.

I put my belongings on there and climbed up. I would just listen  for the night before I acknowledged anyone  or talk. The girls tried to talk to me and  I just looked at them.  I couldn't speak even though I knew it made me  look rude.

We had supper in the cafeteria and got ready for bed. I climbed into my sleeping bag and let releasing tears of anxiety slip quietly into my pillow. Crying  made me feel better and  I fell asleep hoping a spider didn't crawl on me in the night.

The next morning I woke up slowly. No one else was in the cabin. As my senses came to me I felt a stickiness between my toes and noticed that several differently colored circled stickers we all over me. I must have been OUT.  In my bed were little colored puffs with eyeballs. Cute. I didn't mind that they had put toothpaste between my toes, but I was pissed that my sleeping bag was now sticky and I didn't know how I'd  get it clean. Pain  in the ass.

One of the girls  ran back  into the cabin to grab a hat and noticed I was awake. "Hi, come on, we're going to prayer".

"What is this"?  "Node kisses", she stated.
"What are...nodes"?, I asked feeling stupid.

The girl picked up one of the fluffy balls and held it up... "Nodes... every year the nodes come and kiss the girls in camp and one girl is chosen to be the Node Princess. She is absolutely covered in kisses. Hurry and get ready and come see." she said smilingly as she hurried back out the door. Maybe I'd make a friend.

(*Edit: I somehow learned to cope with abuse, but it nearly took me down when people were nice to me. I don't know why I feel the readers need to know this, but in re-reading it, I felt I should say that). 

I got myself out of the sleeping bag and cleaned up the toothpaste the best I could. I dressed quickly and went to find someone to tell me where they showered and to ask  how  to clean my bad. The staff showed me to the shower and kindly took my bag to wash it.

Let me tell you about this shower. In a word, G R O S S. I tentatively crept up on the cinder block building which had several shower stalls with shower curtains covering each stall. It was dank and dark and dingy. I grew up on a farm, but I at least had a door  to shut when I bathed. I checked the corners and walls for spiders and thanked God for flip flops. I decided I wouldn't get "nekkid" and would just wash my legs off and make sure I had a bathing suit on next time I came to shower. I just couldn't get undressed in  this open building. As I left the shower building I looked up at the lodge and hoped I could stay there the following year.

I made my way to the rest of the group who was done praying by now. They were heading off to breakfast and then crafts. I liked crafts. Later in the week we would go rafting. I don't like open water. So that's going to be  a problem. I also don't like hiking or exercising. I would really like to just swim  in the  pool and do crafts, but we stay together as groups for the week. I finally make it through the week and it's  time to go home. I didn't make friends. It wasn't that I didn't want to. I was just too awkward in my own skin and my own mind.  I climbed back into the van for the return trip and just resolved myself to letting life happen to me.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Priesthood

Life was full on new things to adjust to in our new town. There were lots of people and living in the "city" made me feel small. I had never been in a mall which I found to be overstimulating and overwhelming. The new ward we were in was also vastly different. No longer was I sitting in a small one room church with all the blue haired ladies, but was now surrounded by large young families with lots of children and loads of church activities. I started going to Relief Society on Wednesday nights with my mom and sister. There were many Sunday school rooms and a large Chapel. It kind of reminded me of the Ward we attended in Missouri.

There were church youth dances and the young boys were obtaining their Priesthood holdings.
Boys become Deacons when they are 12 and at that point are "over"  their mothers in their homes because they hold the Power and Authority of God. 

(Here is the hierarchy and privileges of the Priesthood holdings in the LDS Church if you're interested. I won't bore you with the details).

Now older members of the Church may be  able to "explain" the reasoning behind this, but 12 year old boys do not have the maturity to handle holding the responsibility of acting on God's behalf without a little ego of their own in there.

In Sunday school I would ask the tough questions because I was simply fed up.

WHY can't girls hold the Priesthood?

"Because you are a Daughter of Eve and have the honor, privilege and responsibility to bring spirit children to this earth who are waiting for a body. Boys can't do that".

Well... WHY can't girls get into heaven unless their sealed in the Temple and their husband "pulls them through"?

"It's time for the hymn, maybe you should talk with the Bishop".

I smugly know your ass doesn't want to talk about it and I really don't care about the dozens of eyes burning into me because I'm asking. I know, I know... When the prophet has spoken, the thinking has been done.

I feel sorry for my mom because she is single with two children in a Church that says she will not get into the highest heaven without a worthy priesthood holder dragging her up there. (Plus she said she's so sick she has to try pot to feel better. I had to laugh at her lame attempt to tell me she was just "trying" pot). She's basically busting her ass and my chops for nothing.

I'm confused about why I, as a 12 year old girl, can think enough to question religion and the existence of God when fully grown college educated men and women sitting in the pew beside me just accept without question. Faith means nothing to me. Where has God been? When my mother makes comments like, "We need to pray because I can't find my keys" and "The Lord has blessed us" I wonder what the hell is wrong with her. She seems so smart.  I silently berate myself because I'm apparently not worthy to know God's presence (sounds a lot like my mother's own voice now that I think about it). I resolve myself to live the teachings of the Church so that God will find me.

I recall my grandmother telling me she believed in God because Jesus sat at the foot of her bed during a terrible crisis in her life. To this day it is the single comment that causes me to continue to struggle.  My grandmother never lied to me and if not for hearing her words of conviction I would be done with discussions of God for good.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Amish Grace

Amish Grace is premiering on the Prozac Channel  Lifetime Movie Network tonight at 7 Central if anyone wants to watch it.

A hypocrite

Now that we had moved and another summer began... life was very different. 

Mom got a job in another town and was gone during the day. A grocery, doctor, Laundromat and our elementary school was within walking distance of our apartment. My sister and I often slept in and then walked to the school for the sack lunch provided by the school's summer lunch program. We sat under a tree and I often let my sister play for awhile after we ate. I usually saved the fruit from lunch in case I was grounded to my room for the evening. I felt grown and very adult like that I was responsible to taking care of my sister and took full bossy advantage of that. I often cheated on my chores and made her do part of them and broke all the contamination rules for the ones I did do.

We began attending a new ward at Church. There were some "mean girls" in the new ward. Many of the families were very large and there was an on-going competition to see who was the most temple worthy. I didn't make myself any friends correcting doctrine that was being taught wrong in Sunday school. Apparently not every child is read to from the Journal of Discourses.

I always had the chores done before mom came home in the evening and on Saturdays carried the laundry about a block away to the laundry mat. My mom went the first few times to show me how to bleach out the washer before using it. How to wipe out the laundry baskets during the wash cycle so that I didn't contaminate the clothing. Each week I was given a roll of quarters and most of the time told to carry the laundry down. Sometimes it would take several trips, but there was no more hanging clothes on the line. Sometimes I would put some of the quarters in the Pacman arcade game and pray while I was playing that my mom wouldn't "check in" on me. I cherished moments away from her. Freedom that wasn't really free.

We fell into a routine of chores and church in our new community. Sometimes we would go outside and get to know the neighborhood kids. None of them too savory.  My mom made a new friend, Donna. Donna had an edge to her. She didn't play by life's rules and I liked that. She was blunt and to the point. Shit didn't get to her much and she just dealt with whatever needed to be dealt with and moved on. She sometimes stayed all night and I soon learned she had cancer. A shame really.

Days went by and routine set in. Donna convinced my mom to lighten up the reigns on us a little bit and told her to let us go outside and "play". I remember smiling as I heard Donna say "What the hell", putting my mom on the spot.  My mom and Donna bonded. I think maybe because they both took a lot of medicine. Mom said she had Rheumatoid arthritis and took her pain medicine and "Gold" shots. Donna took pain medicine for the cancer. I had decided my mom was a hypochondriac and her "illnesses" were an excuse to make me do everything while she took pills and naps.  I tried to be good and wrestled with my relationship with my mom during the day and God at night.

My understanding of my mom changed on a late night when thirst brought me out of my room while Donna was sleeping over. I snuck across the hall and put my lips under the bathroom faucet for a cool drink of water. I listened to my mom and Donna whispering and giggling at the kitchen table and took in the smell of something funny. A smell that was familiar in the air of our neighborhood. My mind was spinning. No way. My mom still smoked cigarettes then even though it was her last barrier to being given a temple recommend. But this wasn't cigarettes. I snuck down the hall and as I approached the end of the hall, made a surprise appearance and announcement that I needed a drink. I glanced at the glass bowl contraption filled with smoke as my ears rang with mom's controlled voice telling me to go back to my room. The one that said she meant business.

So mom was smoking pot. I laid in my room and tried to make sense of it all. Nothing made sense.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hershey's Better Basket Blog Hop

My good friend Social Wrkr 24/7 over at Eyes Opened Wider sent me an Easter Basket to help out the Children's Miracle Network.

Here’s all you need to do: HERSHEY’S BETTER BASKET BLOG HOP RULES:

* Create a blog post giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger – you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want.

* Link back to person who gave you an Easter Basket.

* Let each person you are giving a Virtual Easter Basket know you have given them a Basket.

* Leave your link at comment section. You can also find the official rules of this #betterbasket blog hop, and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s there.

* Hershey’s is donating $10 per each blog participating to the Better Basket Blog Hop to Children’s Miracle Network (up to total of $5,000 by blog posts written by April 4th, 2010).

* Please note that only one blog post by each blog url will count towards the donation.

Simple enough right?

So check out these great blogs who I'm sending an Easter Basket to and let's help some babies along the way!

Meet The Meanest Mom , Jana, who writes about her journey raising four little ones. She seriously cracks me up.

And Dragon Li who is On the Path to Bliss , an excellent writer, who like most of us, is just trying to figure out who she is.

And finally, Ms. PennyWilliams who is sharing A Mom's View of ADHD.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blog Roll

How come the new blogs I follow aren't jumping into my blog roll? Am I supposed to do something?

24/7 we're going to have to get together to sort them somehow too. I've found so many great blogs!!

In response to "A tough day"

Your Mom sounds like a wonderful lady  As for seeing so much, I think I’m pretty desensitized. I know that doesn’t sound like a good thing, but it can be.

Hi Paula *Waves* You know I feel like pinching people’s heads off all the time, but I at least have the common decency to do it behind their backs and behind their kids backs. It’s really hard to develop understanding and tolerance sometimes because of the really stupid things people do.

Snarkymom. Love your blog. You sound like me in my real life. I try not to put a lot of my real thoughts out there because I’m scared I’m going to alienate a lot of people (of course a few trusted people know that side of me) Lmao. Guess I should get the over that. I definitely didn’t say anything to the foster parent. I sent the R&C worker and my supervisor out there while I removed two children on another case being exposed to meth use. Yuck. And really it’s a good thing too because she had really pissed me off and I like to use the F word… a lot.. esp when I'm mad and that's just not professional. But I was honest with the little girl (on an age appropriate level, of course) and she was ecstatic to be moved which made things SO much easier in moving them. The baby is adjusting quickly too.

J, R&C found a wonderful placement for them in the same school district which made me SO incredibly happy. They are the sweetest kids.

Tara, I seriously KNOW that it’s hard. I struggle at least every other day not to snap someone’s head off because they have smart ass mouths, make stupid decisions and then blame everyone else. And the lying… Yeah, I really despise lying. I’m glad you are able to control yourself for the sake of your little ones especially when they are venting on their own. It’s be so easy to be like “Yeah, your mom really freakin' sucks”.

Hey Jodi, be glad you chose the other path hahaha. I tried to make sociology my minor, but the social work department and the sociology department wouldn’t accept the other one’s stats class and there was no WAY I was taking stats twice. I hated that class. LoL.

K…mom, this blog is the epitome of free therapy blogging. I was told today I’m getting a reputation. This is the fourth foster home I’ve caused to be shut down (and I've had a few others put on notice). I’m determined common sense is going to make a come back though LoL.

Hi Maggie, I totally agree it sucks. I’m glad the majority of my foster homes are fantastic or I’d really have to quit!

Hi Von, Welcome to my journey. I checked out some of your blogs which are really cool. I really liked the quote you had on one of you blogs that said "the lifelong dialogue between our mothers and ourselves transcends their deaths"

I’m probably gonna have to steal that if you don’t mind.
Anyway, I’d have to respectfully disagree that the other comments weren’t as sympathetic to the children’s plight as they were to my own. I think they're just trying to be supportive and I really need and appreciate that.

And yes, I agree the kids are having a rotten life, but I truly have so much hope for them. The little girl is sharp as a tack and very intuitive. She’s going to go very far in life. The little boy, such a doll… I’m very hopeful that their mom can turn things around too. She drives me nuts, yes, but she has potential and if she can’t turn it around, I’m confident in my own abilities to make good decisions to ensure they have what they need and deserve (ultimately it’s the judges decisions, but I write a pretty good court report)
I also completely agree that foster parents need and most would appreciate more training, but confidentiality is common sense and common courtesy.

I just wanted to say I was really proud of R&C on this one because I usually get a lot of shit from them when I point out problem areas with their foster parents. They get really defensive like I slapped them around or something. They didn’t really have a leg to stand on this time though did they?

Cross my heart

I read all your comments and am going to do some serious blogging/responding this weekend. Everyone raised some good points. And plus I checked out Snarky mom's blog for the five seconds I had this morning and I think she's my freakin sister. LoL. (But I think I have to work Saturday so it might be Sunday before I can get back here).

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Ended up moving the kids and closing down the home. The kids did great and I'm so glad we made the right decision. Did another removal too. I think there must be a full moon out. People have been off their rockers this week! Thanks for all the support :) Babs

A tough day

So I had to put my big girl britches on the last few days.

Eight months ago I got a particularly tough case where there was an infant and his seven year old sister placed in care due to the mother's drug use during pregnancy.

Let me first say that I don't think anyone sits down and thinks "Wow, I'd like to be a drug addict".

The mother simply doesn't have coping and good decision making skills.

The foster mother was new. Her first placement. I hope I can support her through the turmoil that is foster care.

On several occasions I asked her R&C worker to go on home visits with me so she would feel supported. (R&C is Recruitment and Certification for those not familiar with foster care lingo).

Foster mom and dad have a daughter of their own who is about five years older than the little girl.

The little girl has way too much knowledge for her age and is very intuitive.

Foster mom and mom clash. Well, to be honest I clash with mom too. Mental health issues can be difficult to navigate.

The tough part is that the little girl keeps telling mom, who tells me that the foster family is saying very degrading things about her mom in front of her, on the internet, to other people etc.

As the SW it's my job to address those issues. Of course, foster mom lied and said the child was making stuff up and manipulating. Okay.. maybe... I'm just letting you know that IF these things are going on, they shouldn't be.

Then I find out that not only is it true... (Shoulda blocked your Facebook), the family's real names, pictures and foster mom's true opinion is all over Facebook.

The child reported to me that she gets punished when her mother reports things to me because the foster mom says that "what happens in the foster home should stay in the foster home".

So, even though I rarely move kids. I hate moving kids, my supervisor says this is enough and I have to move them. And I agree this isn't a workable situation since I've addressed this about five times now.

I feel like I've failed these kids. I'm probably going to need to cry this one out. I did buy a few weeks to make one last ditch attempt to find some relatives. I have a few leads.

I completely understand the foster mom's frustration and feelings! But her feelings don't come before the child's feelings and needs.

It really doesn't matter if you think that the child's mom is crazy. The child loves her and should be free to do that without hearing snide remarks. Now, I have to move a child from the only home he's ever known and the mixture of heartbreak and anger are a disappointing wave we all will have to ride now. Ugg.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Open Adoption Interview Project - March 2010

I kept meaning to post that I was participating in a match and interview project about open adoptions hosted by Production, not Reproduction but I kept thinking Ooh, I'll get to that and of course, didn't. BIG props to Heather for putting this together. It's exciting  that over 65 people participated!! I can't wait to read them all and hope you do too.

I was matched with a very special woman named Jodi. I was really nervous at first because I am not adopted... not adopting or anything. Maybe adoptive parents wouldn't want to hear my perspective, but I am a social worker and I love to learn.

Jodi did more than teach me. She allowed me into her life and her heart. She has already adopted two beautiful children and she also received another placement during the time we were getting to know each other!! I'm so happy for her and her family and their families too! Jodi is living a Simple Perfect Life.

Jodi went above and beyond with two sick children and a newborn to answer my interview questions (which were pretty personal). Thank you so much Jodi for showing us some of the most selfless love I've ever encountered. Jodi welcomes her children's families in with open arms. She completely enjoys every new experience her kids have and wants to share that with their "first family". Adoptions I've worked with are generally involuntary on the part of the birth parents. They aren't allowed to see their children. It made me so happy to see another side of adoptions.  You're simply amazing!

1.How does open adoption work? 

There are probably a gazillion different perspectives of what open adoption is.  We worked with an adoption agency and had a profile in a book where expectant parents working with the agency would select profiles/families that interested them.  Generally there would be a "match meeting" where everyone would get together and have kind of like an interview or get together to see if the families feel like they would make a good match.  If you become a match, then usually there is a "cooperative agreement" that is created  with what the families agree to with openness in the adoption and the adoption process sometimes even including the birth process, doctor appts., what you agree to help with financially (the laws vary by state).  Our adoptions are fully disclosed--meaning, the birth family knows our complete names, where we live, (haha--that's funny to me because they come to our house for visits), our phone numbers, we "facebook" each other, email and call (well, at least we have each other's phone numbers. . . it doesn't work very well for me to make phone calls cause the kids are always noisy when I'm on the phone!)  Some adoptions just have the birth parent pick the family and they never meet and they don't know what state their baby goes to or last names and such. . . Each adoption is so unique to itself that all the finer details are always completely different--so it depends on what kind of ongoing contact throughout the child's life will be decided upon. 

2.Are you allowed to change your mind or is it a legal agreement?

 Not all states have what is called a "contact agreement", which is a legally binding agreement on what is decided upon in the adoption.  (ie, visits, photos, how many, when, etc.)  Even though it is legally binding--if it is broken, the adoption would not be overturned--and mediation is required before you could take the other party to court.  I think it is kind of a crock if there really are no serious repercussions to not following a legally binding agreement.  We do have contact agreements here in MN, but we do not have one with Jakob or Jada.  I am not sure if we will have one with Jenay.  It is usually up to the birthparent.  We have a cooperative agreement with Jakob's birthmom which we don't really follow (for the good) because she is just part of our family now.  We don't even have a cooperative agreement from Jada's birthmom.  She originally wanted a closed adoption and it "opened" fairly quickly starting with emails, then some visits.  I think both our birthmoms are pretty comfortable asking if they feel they want to see us, or want some more photos, or whatever. 

I think the most important thing is to not intentionally promise something for the purpose of getting a child when you rightly know you are not going to fulfill those promises.  Open communication is so very important.  If somebody is uncomfortable with something or the situation changes then you need to at least communicate that rather than ignore the person or "close" the adoption.  

 3.What are some of the pros and cons of having an open adoption? 

I seriously can't think of any cons of having an open adoption.  I am not saying that things are always easy, or not exhausting, but we sacrifice because this is what we have accepted as our family.  Any parent would do anything for their child and this is what we choose for ours.  There were many ups and downs during the first year of our first adoption.  We were not really understanding what Kaiti was going through and we were all in uncharted territory.  Lots of uncomfortable situations--that seriously would not be uncomfortable now that we've been through it all! haha!  (Like her graduation open house and meeting all of her relatives--we were very very nervous!)  All that unsolicited advice, again, from people who have no business even thinking they have the first clue about adoption.  People telling us she shouldn't be coming over to our house or that we saw her too much.  Our kids are awesome and they wouldn't be our kids without their birthmoms choosing us to be their parents.  I think I put this in another answer, but you should see our kids when they are with their birthmoms.  It is amazing! 

Our kids get to know their stories.  They get to see who they look like.  They get to be loved by more people.  They get to ask their questions in the future and get first had answers.  We get to face all the difficult times together.  There are so many emotional layers to adoption--aspects on all sides--and by coming together and being open, honest and respectful, we can at least face the emotional hardships (and happy stuff too!) with love, support, honesty and respect.   

4. How open is open? Does that degree of openness vary from situation to situation or is it pretty much the same for all parties involved? 

Openness in adoption is what makes every "open" adoption unique.  Generally, the chosen "adoptive" parents and the people involved with the birth family side sit down and decide what kind of openness they all agree upon for their adoption plan.  That could mean photos, emails, letters, visits, whatever they agree upon.  Some families may not exchange full names, addresses or phone numbers.  Their communication may continue through the agency or attorney that facilitated the adoption.  All of our birthmothers know where we live and we usually have visits at our house.  The kids are comfortable and I know it is child proof and quite honestly--it is the easiest.  Anyone who thinks you can have a truly quality visit in a restaurant with young children is fooling themselves.  The birth family gets to see their child in their home, their room, their place of comfort where their true personality (and tantrums) come out.  They have our phone number, email and we are on facebook together too.  It is a great way to share photos and updates and quick notes.  We have a cooperative agreement with Jakob's birthmom (which we hardly follow).  Kaiti has been super helpful and been available to watch our kids when we needed help.  I think we try to get together around once a month, sometimes more or less, depending on our schedules.  We have nothing written up with Jada's birthmom.  She currently lives out of state and when she comes home to visit she just calls us and we get together.  We email on facebook too.  I wish she lived closer, but facebook helps it feel like she lives here.  We don't have any agreement written yet with Jenay's birthmom, but it will be open.  We will be meeting her mother in the near future and have plans for her to visit us at home too.  It is my dream to have them all over at the same time someday.  They haven't met in person yet. . . but Jakob and Jada's birthmothers are "facebook" friends.  They are all a part of our family.  They are a part of our hearts and souls, the reason we are who we are today.  So, I will do whatever it takes to keep them involved in our lives. 

 5. Do you or your husband ever get jealous?

I think there was a time when my husband worried about our son not wanting to spend Christmas with us when he was an adult and choosing to spend it with his birthfamily instead and felt a pang on his heart.  And then I said why wouldn't we be able to arrange something to spend it all together?  In all honesty, it makes me cry good happy tears to see my children love their birthmoms.  There comes a time when we need to let go of our children and let them make their own decisions and spend time with whom ever they choose.  They are not possessions.  I never want them to feel like they are letting us down for wanting to love their birth families--or anyone else for that matter.  I don't want to hold them back from anything. 

6. Is there an open arrangement with just the birth mother, or is the father and extended family involved too?

All of our adoptions are just open with the birthmoms.  We have a family relationship with Jakob's birthmom and her family.  We know her boyfriend, periodically meet some of her friends and have met some relatives too.  We know who his birthdad is but have no contact at this time.  We have a relationship with Jada's birthmom and have met her birth grandmother a couple of times.  We know her birthdad's first name and a bit of his story, but have no contact with him at this time.  We will have an open relationship with Jenay's birthmom and are meeting her mother sometime in the near future.  We may or may not ever know whom her birthdad is and most likely will never have contact with him.  Of course, things are ever evolving so relationships may change as we all change, grow and mature.  We may meet more family members in the future--who knows!

7 Do you worry that the birth family will try to tell you how to raise your children or undermine your parental role?

 No, we do not worry about this.  Our birth families have been very supportive in our roles as parents.  I know that I am very over protective and cautious as a parent.  It shows--in very obvious ways.  It was more obvious when we just had one child.  I'm sure they have all thought I am kind of weird with my ways at some point! haha!  No different than my own biological family--only my biological family has no reserves about voicing their opinions! haha!  If people really know me, for me, they know that I will listen respectfully--and then just do things my way anyway! :0)

It is really amazing how much unsolicited advice finds it's way into our lives--in anyone's lives--when it comes time to parenting.  I, personally, have felt a lot of internal pressures as an adoptive parent.  Hoping that I can live up to not only my own expectations as a parent, but the expectations of our birth families.  I want to make all their hopes and dreams come true too--for their child that they entrusted to us.  We are certainly not perfect, either, so if things are not going the way you envisioned, we are always carrying the extra pressure of letting our birthmoms and their families down.  We have learned along this journey, that we cannot worry about things we have no control over--it will eat you up.  We cannot worry about something that "may or may not" happen in the future.  We can only educate, communicate, and prepare ourselves for the unknowns.  We have to support each other.  We have to "walk by faith, even when I cannot see" (Jeremy Camp).  And that is why our faith is important and strong and necessary in our lives. 

8. Do you ever feel intruded on by having an open adoption? Any regrets?

 I definitely do not feel intruded upon with an open adoption.  There were a couple of times in the very beginning that we had some unexpected visits with Jakob's birthmom stopping over unannounced--completely innocent, but I guess it only was kind of pushing it because we were so tired but didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings by asking to end the visit at a reasonable time.  Now that I see things from a whole picture rather than from a cloudy over tired mind, I cherish the unplanned and unexpected.  You just don't know what life may bring!

I think most of the intrusions come when complete strangers walk up to us and ask us if our kids are adopted and where from--without any respect that maybe it is a sensitive subject for our children.  We do love to share our stories, but we know that at some point, it will be up to our children what is openly shared with strangers who ask silly questions out in public.  (Well, they are not silly, but sometimes I just want to say DUH!).  Once somebody asked if Jada was adopted and my hubby said, "no, we just forgot to put sunscreen on her." 

I think my only regret is not starting the process sooner.  I do believe that it is all in God's timing, but had we started sooner. . . we would have most likely adopted more!  The cost was so intimidating when we initially pursued adoption that we held off for awhile thinking we couldn't afford it.  Who knew what giving up a few "finer" things in life would bring us!

9. How do you think having and open adoption vs. a closed adoption affects your children?Do you think it will be confusing for them in the long run?

I think keeping things a secret and creating the opportunity for our children to create that "fantasy" is far more confusing  than having an honest open adoption.  There are some tricky things that we will have to face in the future as far as when to share age appropriate truths, but far better than a fantasy.  If only all of you could see our children with their birthmom's--you would get it.  The light in their eyes, the laughter, the happiness that comes when we get together.  I'm sure there will be more difficult days and questions, but we hope they know they can love their birth families as much as we love them.  I like to explain it to people like this~Jesus has enough love to go around for everyone that wants to accept his love--even enough for those who don't want to accept his love, so there is no reason we can't love like Jesus and have more people in our lives to love and be loved. 

I also feel like I know my children better because I know their birthmoms and some of their birth families.  I see their personalities, their looks, their mannerisms, all in my children.  If I look at how much I love this. . . then I can see how much more it will mean to my children.  How neat it will be to have somebody to share those things with on a personal level. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ministers and Moving

As I've said before, my mom drew the weirdest of people into her life. Generally, the children of her odd friends were my playmates. There was a family building a log cabin who lived their summer in a circus tent. They were vegan and had twins; a boy and a girl.

During the summer we participated in the play "Annie" for the locals and went a few days a week for practice... nerves always got the best of me and I was sure to break out in hives that a dose of Benadryl would easily cure. I spent a lot of time with the twins that summer.

After their house was built in the fall I went to spend the night with them. We ate vegan pizza and the twin’s biological father came to see the new house. I though it was really neat how the step-father and natural father of the twins were friends. The girl twin was a hateful little princess and would get mad if I tried to sing while she was singing. Soon I found out why she was so hateful.

After going to bed that night her biological father, who was a minister, attempted to put his hands in my underpants, thinking I was asleep. I simply rolled over avoiding him until he left the room. I waited a few minutes as anger boiled inside me. I thought that because everyone in the town knew my secret, they thought I was fair game. I finally summonsed some courage and jumped out of bed and went downstairs to tell the mother. She was shocked, but got him to confess that indeed he'd tried something on me. After that the matter was simply dropped. I felt as if I wore a scarlet letter and my mistrust in the "clergy" deepened. I never saw the family again (they went to a different school and were not members of our church).

It wasn't long before my mother announced we would be moving to the town she went to school in about an hour away. Grandma would be moving to California with Papa to be near the auntie. My world was shattered. On one hand, no one would know, but to lose my grandmother again was devastating. I did look forward to more modern conveniences, but to be alone with my mother left me feeling defeated.

We moved to “government assisted housing” aka the projects and I finished out my sixth grade year in a new school. I didn’t bother to get to know my classmates and couldn’t tell you any of their names. At this point I was living one day at a time and sometimes an hour at a time. Isolation swallowed me.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A new boyfriend

Momma met a deaf man while she was in school. He was pretty funny. Between his visits, visits from Church members, momma going to school, going down to grandma's house, etc, life began easing up a little bit. Summer always seemed to make life a little easier.

There was a big spool that cable used to be on that Papa knocked a few boards out of the side for me so I could hide inside. I loved hiding. Hiding made me feel safe. I'd climb into the spool with a book and no one would bother me for hours that summer. I'd giggle when one of the cats would find me and try to climb into the spool with me. I'd be even happier when Papa would set a PB&J sandwich cut into fourths and a cold glass of milk on top of the spool. He'd walk through the yard whistling with the goodies Grandma would make, sometimes cookies, sometimes cake and leave the treats pretending he didn't know I was in the spool. I'd barely wait until I heard him turn back towards the house before my hand would reach up to gather my treats.

I liked mom's new boyfriend. He taught us how to sign and was a big kid himself. This is how stupid he was though... one day he was goofing around and poured motor oil over my head. Now remember... all the water had to be heated so I was PISSED I had to wash my hair in Dawn dish washing liquid about 92 times to get the oil out. He felt really bad though. He didn't go to his own church so he was open to going with us. I really liked that I could turn my back and say smart ass things and then turn back around and smile innocently when he was around. He kept momma occupied so I tried not to run him off.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I hope all my Christian friends can bare with me for a few minutes, but there is nothing in life that brings me more anxiety than the Mormons coming to my house... unannounced and uninvited.

They just left. This time they brought the former bishop with them. We were playing Wii (before Survivor and Greys come on) because we needed to destress from the day for awhile.

The mere half an hour they were here filled me with almost a panic.

Why do they keep coming here? UGGGGG.

Yes, please come on over on a work night when we're all in our boxers and tank tops playing Wii (Thursday night is sandwich night before some hater talks about how I need to be tending my grown children). Thursday is our favorite day... great TV, the weekend is just a day away. LOVE Thursdays!

Ahhh and thank you to my children who scattered like roaches. Chickens. LoL

And Amanda... Thank you for encouraging me to keep posting. I plan to post more this weekend.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Good Morning Beautiful Sunshiney Weekend!!!

I can't believe you are you there Mr. Sun! I've been waiting for you for ever so long. I'm going to a babyshower and to do two home visits today. Please don't run away when I go outside. I've missed you so!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Time for a Round Robin!

I love games and so do my "kids". I found an amazing teacher's blog  here with LOADS of free resources, games for autistic children and links to everything and anything you can imagine. One of my favorites to use if I have a child in my office is this simple sequencing site found at Jacob's lessons.  I've never met a child who didn't love to play on my computer LoL.

Let's see how many of your favorite resource sites we can list and compile. Take the link and add it to your own  blog along with your favorite resource link. (Post it here as well so we can share what resources we're using for those long days and bonding exercises!!)

I haven't figured out the sorting blogs and links in my side bar yet, but I'll try to do some google learning this weekend.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Send your RAD kids cards this week!

I can feel today is going to be an awesome day!

I'm really grateful for my loving friends and family. I hope I can touch their lives today in a way that makes them feel cared for and appreciated.

I hope I'm productive and knock several assessments and case plans out.

I hope I trust today... I hope I give the benefit of the doubt today.

I hope the same for all of my RAD "kids".  Please take a minute to mail your RAD and Asperger children cards/postcards/letters today. Even if you live with them. They love mail and it only takes a minute. It helps them feel connected and thought of. It's something they can keep and hold onto when they have bad days.

Have fun today :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Lovers ~ Check out this Awesome Contest to win books!!

If any of you love to read, you'll LOVE this contest from a fellow blogger! Check it out here at Bloody Bookaholic.
Now I just need someone to tell me how to post in the side bar! Thanks in advance  and good luck in the contest!!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

During the last post...

First, I want to note that I noticed when I post about "then" that I start the post out in past tense and by the end am writing in the present tense. I could go back and change it and am fully aware it's not "correct", but I've decided I will leave all "then" post as they are because I literally do start out thinking in past tense and as I journey feel I am actually there. (Probably the reason the posts are slow coming LoL).

Secondly, I want to say that three young Mormon Missionaries graced my door while I was posting the last post.

My first thought was that I didn't want them to come in because I haven't started Saturday chores because I was blogging and few chores get have gotten done this month because I worked the past two Saturdays. How embarrassing.

We stood out on the porch for a bit,... a former bishop had given them our names and said we were "good people". He really should have warned them and maybe he did.

Good or bad, I am an honest person. Can we come in... well, no, the house is in disarray ( I haven't even brushed my hair and so am I). I feel caught off guard and struggle with wanting to send them away and the feelings that these three young boys are someone's sons.

These young children saved their money and left their families to have this experience.

Come to the back porch and I'll talk to you for a short visit in the sitting room. We're remodeling the living room and there's drywall dust on everything. Dishes aren't done and the dogs are excited with visitors. Trash isn't taken out yet and our house needs a good cleaning.

I'm very thankful they can't see my car which is much worse since my daughter took it to go to work this morning.

The boys come in and have a seat. Awkward silence fills the room. Finally I say "You realize I'm inactive and have been for more than 20 years right"? They reply yes and I realized they had been warned. " Do you mind telling us what your issues with the Church are"?

Oh good grief... Really?? DO you have all day? I try not to cry. I hate talking about my relationship with "God, the Church, and especially Mormon Doctrine". I'm fully aware that this is an unresolved issue in my life that I try to ignore, but is harder to ignore than any  other aspect in my life.

How much is appropriate to talk about? Why open this can of worms? These boys are barely older than my own children. What life experiences do they have that can equip them for not just a non-believer, but someone who carries baggage regarding the Church?

I just sat there embarrassed and wishing my eyes weren't filling up. UGGG. Where the hell is the control you have at work... This is my home... I wasn't expecting this and not prepared to put my armor up. I was JUST blogging which makes me really vulnerable.

"Did you grow up in the Church"? - Yes, my father was Catholic and my mother was Mormon"...

Church babble began filling the room and I can't hear anything being said because my mind is spinning --- "Can we pray with you"?
"You're more than welcome to pray for me when you leave as I'm sure you will, but no, I'm not comfortable with us having a prayer"...

One of the boys is speaking, the other two are quiet. Finally, I just spill it...

"I don't believe... I think the Church is based on a bunch of lies and nit-picky rules that are meant to control it's members and nothing you say is going to change that today... can I get you something to drink"?

"Mr. Bishop did tell us you had some harsh experiences with the Church and feel very hurt by the Church... I've also been hurt by the members of the Church"...

The Missionary talky boy is struggling and has soft eyes. His chin quivered. I feel sorry for him. I'm making him uncomfortable. I again realize his heart is in the right place and he deserves respect and honesty...

I don't have all day for a back story and quietly begin to talk with the young men.

I ask if they ever read a book called "The Miracle of Forgiveness", written by Prophet Spencer W. Kimbell. A book that teaches the six steps to true repentance.

They have read it.

I start by stating that I respect every other person's right to self-determination and that I don't want to share my views of the Church if with them because I just don't have nice things to say.

They continue to press me and I share with them that I believe the Church to be racist, sexist, and harmful.

Most people are aware that the Church did not allow Black and Indian people to hold the priesthood until 1978.
That they were marked with their blackness as a punishment for the sins of Cain.
Prophet Kimbell often talked of the delightsome of their races becoming more white... as can be seen in this quote:

"I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today.... The day of the Lamanites is nigh. For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised. In this picture of the twenty Lamanite missionaries, fifteen of the twenty were as light as Anglos, five were darker but equally delightsome. The children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation. At one meeting a father and mother and their sixteen-year-old daughter were present, the little member girl--sixteen--sitting between the dark father and mother, and it was evident she was several shades lighter than her parents--on the same reservation, in the same hogan, subject to the same sun and wind and weather....These young members of the Church are changing to whiteness and to delightsomeness."

Prophet Kimball also taught perfection... which plagued my daily life. 

But the final straw for ME... was when my mother was murdered... We no longer talked and that's for another post... but I truly believe my mother died due to the teaching of the Prophet Kimball who taught that:

"Also far-reaching is the effect of the loss of chastity. Once given or taken or stolen it can never be regained. Even in a forced contact such as rape or incest, the injured one is greatly outraged. If she has not cooperated and contributed to the foul deed, she is of course in a more favorable position. There is no condemnation where there is no voluntary participation. It is better to die in defending one's virtue than to live having lost it without a struggle."
- Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, page 196

These types of teachings caused my mother to 1. blame me for not fighting back an incestuous relationship with her husband... and 2. to lose her own life because she DID fight back. I believe if she had been cooperative she could have escaped with her life... and she didn't. 

So Dear sweet Missionary boys... this river runs deeper than any bishop could prepare you for and while I will never disrespect you, because I understand you have the right to do and believe as you will... Life has taught me more than your testimony will ever overcome. 

Pretty much after that they left. I should have just let them stand on the porch until they left. 

******* I'm moving this post to the "then" section" because I feel like it's a better fit. Hope that doesn't make things too confusing!! ************************

The Worst Birthday ever...

The auntie had built her house on the farm and within a year or so moved away. We moved into her house which had concrete floors. We were excited because it had running water (no water heater though). We still would heat with wood or coal, but the house was bigger.

My mother started dating a man who we'll call Bob. Bob had bug eyes and a lanky awkward build. He was a godly man, but not a Mormon. The mixed messages were infuriating. I wore my homemade "Little House on the Prairie" matching - my - sister's -dress as we drove to the next nearest town to attend Bob's church. They did not believe the way we believed and also held a Book of Mormon up during their sermon and talked about how Mormon's were a cult.

I looked at my mother with accusing eyes.

She ignored me. She knows I'm on to her bullshit.

On Monday we had Family Home Evening as "suggested" by the Church. Momma read an extra long article from the Mormon Doctrine book she'd purchased years earlier. The book was thick and laid out in an encyclopedic fashion. Footnotes legitimized it's content from the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine & Covenants and now and then the Bible. There were also teachings from prophets of the past and their teachings of blood atonement and multiple wives scared me into submission.

My birthday was coming up and I had not embraced my mother's new boyfriend and his wicked religious ways.

He attempted to make friends with us and I was having none of it. When I saw them kissing I would interrupt them. He would be the damnation of my mother and God would be proud of my interventions.

I whispered hateful scolding words to my little sister if I caught her interacting with this misguided weirdo.

My interference in my mother's personal life would be paid for. She reminded us daily of how she risked her life to get on the interstate to go to school to provide us a better life.

On my birthday, the May morning sun warmed the air to a comfortable temperature. I loved Saturday birthdays and was excited at what the day would hold. School was out for the summer and I was excited the exploring to begin. My mother usually set aside her usual sarcastic bitter tongue on a holiday and birthdays were definitely a holiday!

Chores would be done first and I thought we could rush through them and maybe we would get to go to the town library which was our tradition.

I was assigned to dishes as usual and set about warming the water on the cook stove. While the water heated I ran into my room and quickly straightened and tucked. I was only a head start.  Dusting would wait! It was going to be a great day!!

Grandma would make something special to eat. I just knew it would be my favorites.

I took extra time while doing the dishes to make momma proud and to ensure the day went well. I carefully unfolded a clean towel, careful not to let it touch me in any way. She had cautioned that we were unclean and mustn't contaminate while we cleaned by touching clean things on our bodies, letting it brush the front of our shirts etc.

I poured three caps of bleach into the soapy dishwater and swooshed it around.

Always start with the glasses. Wash inside, then outside, then wash the rim, then the bottom. Rinse very well because if she tastes soap in her drink she will bare down on you.

Silverware is next and make sure you wash where you held the utensil to wash it. Then bowls and then plates. Pots and pans will be last because they are the dirtiest of all the other dishes.

Done. I start drying and putting up dishes. I inspect them quickly to make sure I got them clean. I'm trying to hurry so we can get on with our special day. I know if I put up a dirty dish, I'll have to wash every dish in the house because I've contaminated and need to be taught a lesson.

After I finish I am assigned to clean the tub... I sprinkle Ajax in the tub and carefully scrub in  small, circular motions and try not to miss spots.

Methodically and carefully,  I scrub the tub when I hear her from the other room remind me to wash the walls as well. Uggg. My arm is tired and my fingers are pruney.

I hear her tight voice tell my sister that cleanliness is next to Godliness and to gather the laundry. She will begin the laundry in the electric ringer washer and I will hang it on the line. Dread fills my body. My arm aches from scrubbing and I long for a break.

Hanging laundry is hard because you have to shake and snap out the wrinkles without the towels and clothes touching your body.

Then you have to reach above your head to hang the clothing as she has specified in a very particular fashion. Nothing can fall to the ground so you have to ensure that socks aren't stuck to the clothing you're hanging. My arms and shoulders ache and I'm feeling overwhelmed. I can tell we're going to clean the entire day.

Hopes of going to town soon vanish and I clean and cling to the hope of going to Grandma's for supper.

After laundry I'm sent to finish cleaning my room. I'm tired and don't really give a shit. I tuck and hide what I can and spend some extra time making the bunk beds. The top bunk is hard to make and I pinch my sister hard when I see her sitting on the bottom bunk I just made. She cries out and runs to her savior and queen.

I turn up the radio in my room to drowned out my thoughts. TURN THAT DOWN AND GET IN HERE.

"If you can't be trusted alone in the room with your sister, you can work out here where I can watch you". ... I Windex about seven windows and the storm door inside and out. We finally eat a sandwich which I devoured. My hands smelled of bleach which made the sandwich taste funny, but hunger won  over.  I wonder how much more we'll do. She has cleaned out closets and done chores we're not able to do. Momma tells me to sweep.

After that I can dust. You never dust before you sweep. I sweep and sweep with vigor because her eyes are on me. Anxiety and anger begin to make me shake. Clouds of concrete dust fill my nose. My bleach burns the back of my throat and my left eye begins throbbing.

I hold back hot tears of anger and despair. Hatred fills me and I try to fight it off. Nausea and pounding fill my head and stomach.

I hear her in my room dumping out my things in the middle of the floor as she has done so many times before. A mountain of shit... clothes, Legos, toys everywhere. I hear her fake-calm, sarcastic, tight "Do right the first time, or do it over"

I drag myself into my room... I can't take anymore. I feel so sick and I just want to lay down. I don't even CARE about this shit. I know I can't throw it away because she sacrificed to buy these things for me. I sort and fold and recruit my sister to please help me.

She forgave me for the pinch and I could see the pity in her eyes. Quietly we sorted and dared not stop... The longer I sat there, the sicker I got.

Finally, as we neared the bottom of the pile, nausea overwhelmed me... I knew the clothes on the line were dry and needed to be brought in for ironing while I hung another load outside... the day was nearly over... There had been no acknowledgment of my birthday and I was given nothing but a migraine for my 11th birthday.

I heard Bob's car pull into the drive and it was more than I could take. I got sick and was grateful to have made it to the toilet. I recalled having my hair cut off because I got vomit in it several years before... I always felt so much better after getting sick. Not well, but much better.  My mother's demeanor changed immediately with the arrival of guests and, of course, now that I was sick, the "other mommy" would visit. I took a nap with a cold cloth draped over my eye and when I woke up we walked down to Grandma's for cake.

I ate my favorite... Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing... There was no excitement, but I forced a smile knowing that despite the day I had... Grandma didn't forget... she cared enough to make a cake that I swallowed over the lump in my throat. I eyed Bob across the table and was happy to be invisible for awhile.