Wednesday, December 21, 2016

same old, same new

3 big happenings before the Christmas holiday.

1. I'm leaving my job.

I've worked long and hard to get where I am. And now I've been poached because of my skills. People keep stopping by and saying they'll miss me. I feel the same. When you spend 40 hours a week with folks for eight years you tend to get attached. I love this place to a large degree. But I need more growth in my professional skills and bank account. This was my first real job as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. I was just a wee bebe when I came here. It's the house where I grew up in. And even more so, that makes it time to leave...

2. We've a new foster daughter that came 2 weeks ago and she's leaving tomorrow. She was our 10th bonus kid. That's a lot of kids floating away when I think about it.

She  is our 10th bonus kid. I fell in love with her immediately because she is exactly the kind of kid we want to adopt. 10 years old, full of life, ready to bond and she folded right in. If you could see my heart it would look like this right now.

Geez, what a mess. I know this will be super duper hard but I'll survive. I'll heal up but right now, so much sad. I know this  isn't about me. I know she has family that'll be welcoming and safe. But wow, what a mess!

3. MY GYM. I'm breaking up with crossfit.

I got a personal trainer. Breaking up with a gym and it's people that you've been with for four years is tough. But for this, I know I need to move on.

And so no I press onward.

Merry Christmas Y'all!!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What if all is not lost?

Got my hair did at the walmart salon last week. As I was checking in, I noticed the little boy's grandma pushing a stroller. The kind where the car seat snaps into the stroller frame. She didn't see me but I approached her.

The little boy was with us for 3 years for some foster parent love. More respite care because his grandma had custody of him and she is older and well, he was a 4 year old boy. She needed help. And M's mom was in/out of jail for stupid drug stuff.

The little boy is here somewhere, on this blog. I think I called him M. Let me go look.

Ok, found him! He's the fuzzy one below.

L-R (M, Mac, River, Pancake) 

Monday, January 14, 2013:

M's Sunday school teacher sent us the following:

"We were talking about family and how we are all different but all
part of GOD's family. That with GOD we can always talk to him even if
we don't see him. It's not like you have use the telephone.

M went on to say this-- 

'My big family that's all together love me all the
time even when I'm not there. Pancake (my other sister) reads to me,
Mac shares his toys, my other baby River smiles at me. My other dad, Pancake's dad,
plays cars with me, gives me snacks, hugs me and tells me he
misses me. Pancake's mom let's me hug the baby and calls me honey.
My other daddy hugs me when I go to bed and never yells at me....he
hold's my hand too and not too hard.'"


It's been a year since M left to live with this dad in another state. Even though we had him for 3 years, I never really met his mom. So when I approached M's grandma, I was surprised to see her, M's mom. The baby in the stroller was hers. It was like a very bitter sweet, but super chill pseudo family reunion steeped in the weirdest of sadness.

I just needed to get my roots done people. Frick if I'm not 40 years old with almost all gray hair. 2 inches of outgrowth is too much. I can't own the gray yet. Plus, I need highlights so only professionals will do when getting my hair did. And I'm cheap so that is what brought me to the walmart salon on that very day.

They, the mom and grandma, say M is still out of state with his dad. They showed me an updated school photo and he looks great. I wanted to hug M's mom and grandma. It's super hard because they are nice and still in pain like me with this kid being gone. He's with this dad but gone all the same. They say M still asks about all of us. I say we miss him. I say we're still at the same address and the same number. If he comes up this way,  then we can see him at any time. All of this was said. We said our goodbyes. Then they went about their Wal-Mart shopping.  

So there I was, getting prepped for highlights on a random Thursday morning, trying not to cry. Sighing super heavy and trying to be all casual because the hairstylist doesn't need a client having a meltdown in the stupid chair. Girlfriend had three other clients after me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A few thoughts on Stranger Things

Shows that have a child in danger as the major plot conflict bug me. I am tired and vulnerable. Kids are my alpha omega and so it's easy to over feel about any kids, even tv kids.

It's not a subtle show. The creators obviously have much love for Stephen King novels and played many rounds of D&D. They also seem like amateurs with their writing and production. It's like they have a nostalgia check list to write about. Banana seat bike, 80s music, corduroy backpack, walkie talkie (check! check! check!).  Don't forget to show the mix tape that the boy's brother made. (Super check!)

This betrays the subject matter which again, is about a boy whose missing. Gone. JUST GONE. There is a girl too. Resplendent with Carrie like abilities. The mine is deep but not explored sufficiently. There is an absolute devastation with missing children. The boy's mother, played by Wynonna Ryder, remains upright and functional. Soon she learns to talk to him through Christmas lights. It's a surface and inconsistent performance at best.

I blame the writing that relentlessly ticks off that list versus creating structure for the world to come alive. The creators underestimate the audience and tell too much. I also blame the actress. I don't think Ryder runs that deep. Plus, she's not a mom. What vault does she have to store complex emotions?

There is a cop in the show too. It's the same problem though. The creators are relentless with pulling up that list and using a cheap plot device (the cop had a daughter that died) to make us feel something for him. It's not a terribly complex character but the actor does what he can do.

I can say the kids are the best part of the show. I love the girl. That was the only scene were I loved Ryder. When she's in the pool and Ryder is comforting her like an actual mom. That read right. I honestly felt unsure if I could do that. Not comfort the girl but send her searching for one of my kids knowing it would be harmful to her. This bothered me.

The overriding issue that since all of this has been done before, how to make this series without repeating the master's material? It can be done. Walking Dead is a zombie show. Millions have been before. Game of Thrones has elements explored before as well. But everything can be done in a new way.

The key is to make everything smaller. Tighten up the place and characters. Use only what is needed and let go of wanting to show. Leave loose ends and inconsistencies. But we shall see, here's hoping the writers stop with the relentless checklist and get back to framing a world and characters that are real.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sperm donors, foster to adopt and the spaces in between

So here we are, in the spaces in between. No bonus kids at this point. Just me, Mr. Hall and our bio three. We are ready for more and waiting.

It's a weird space.

My friend is getting sperm injections. She's single, over 35 and done with waiting for a dude. By all accounts, this method of growing one's family involves a lot of doctor visits and people touching your hoo-ha. It also seems super expensive.  She has enough capital to cover three tries. The first one didn't work.

I didn't think it was going to work. It's almost like forcing a pregnancy with these injections. The magic is sucked right out of it, it seems. I have very fond memories of regular sperm injections from a loving husband and even then it took forever.

Now she waits to start another cycle and more injections are involved. Hormone injections. She had asked if I would help her and I said no. It was hard saying no. Super dupa hard.  But for so many reasons I said no.

I'm not skilled with injections--I haven't been a real nurse like that in over 10 years.
I don't want to screw it up.
If things go wrong, I don't want her blaming me.
She's sensitive to needles and has had reactions (nausea, passing out) before and I don't want to be there if that happens
Hormones make women crazy, these hormones anyway. I don't want to be part of that crazy.
The rest of the crazy I'm ok with.

But maybe I'm not. I harbor judgment. It's ugly and I have no right. But I like to hear kids having two parents. She is purposefully creating a life without a Dad there. And it's ugly how I feel because I know what it is to long to be a mom. The crazy of wanting more kids is strong in me. 

I know..I know.. go ahead and judge me. I'm not that good of friend for her right now.  

I've made my peace with her leaning on me. My heart will break for her if it doesn't go as planned.  I'm here for her in many different ways. Others are all gaga over her process. I'll let them do the injections.

but.. yes.. this is  ugly...

I think it triggers my own pain. Long time readers know the miscarriages I've been through. Getting pregnant with my third child was an ordeal. I've healed quite a bit but it'll always be there, the pain. Like a river that ebbs and flows. Just like all the women that have miscarried.

My friend does have a plan b.. if the sperm injections don't work... its to foster to adopt.

Which is where we are now. Starting our journey anew as they say. We are sufficiently recovered from our past foster hood excursions. Mr. Hall wrote the social worker and gave conditions on what we would like to do next. On what we are looking for. Conditions on age and such. Conditions! So up front that man. But, you get what you ask for I guess. NO need to beat around the bush. We don't want to be baby sitters and don't want to travel super long distances. We have space for one more at this point.

So here we are, the spaces in between... 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

It starts with an idea

What is there to say that soon Mr. Hall will make contact with the social worker to express our interested of adopting from foster care. He's already said it to another social worker.

There is sort of a predictable process to getting pregnant. You stop birth control, start tracking ovulation and Mr. Hall becomes quite happy with the increase love. Adopting for the foster care is completely unknown.

But Mr. Hall is regimented. Step by step for him. We first met with an adoption foster care social worker back in 2011 and decided to just do respite and/or foster. Five years later he's closer to adoption. It's tough because I want to adopt and always have. He does too but timing and consideration of so many other factors go into this.

We needed our genius son better. Which he is. We need our daughter better. Which she is. We needed to heal from the almost 3 years of our bonus kids. Which we have. We needed a vacation. Which we took.

We need me better. My workload capacity and ability to calm needed to be increased. Which they are. Mr. Hall just needs more massages and that's getting better too.

So, are we ready yet?

I don't know. It's scary and crazy and wonderful.

When we got pregnant the first go round it was magical. It all started with an idea. We wanted to have a baby. And now, thank the LORD, we have three!

And now we have this idea. It's always been there but now it's being said out loud. To social workers. To family. To friends.

We want to adopt from foster care.

It's almost too much for the human spirit to bear doing this.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

2 second family hugs are the best

Wake up at 6.30 am. Tired. Didn't wake up in time for crossfit. It'll be a squeeze, but I'll go tonight.

Rustle the middle son Mac. My genius son. Put a kitchen timer next to his head. 10 min to get up or consequence. This keeps me from badgering him. We would use an alarm clock, but even the blaring ones don't rouse him. He slept on living room floor. It works better than his bed he says.  At least this week.

Attempt coffee. Get half of it down. Make oatmeal. Also half. Can't find clean pants so I put on a dress.

Skittle around my daughter Pancake,  whose standing near the stove eating a bagel with peanut butter. She doesn't talk. I go for a side hug, she tenses. At 13, she's not interested in hugs. I don't care. I side hug. We confirm I'm picking her up from volley ball. She makes a joke and I'm so happy. She stopped joking a few months ago and it was tough. But today, a joke. Praise HIS NAME!! With two bites left she puts her dishes in the sink.

My 3 year old son River bellows from upstairs. OPPPPEEEENNN IIITTT!! It being a  wee baby gate for his room. He rattles it with his foot, clutching matchbox cars and plastic Easter eggs. He doesn't want to put them down and open the gate. He has to pee. Desperation sets in. The volume rises.... OOOPPPEEEEN IIITTT!! I go open it. Give him a squeeze and he's off to potty. Still clutching the cars and eggs.

The timer goes off. My genius son is snoring hard. I get a squirt bottle and mist him. Loud snarls spiral up from the nest of blankets. Then he curls up like a caterpillar, trying to go back to sleep. I turn the nozzle from mist to stream. Three squeezes to the forehead and he's up. He stomps downstairs to get dressed. He has 9 min to get to the bus. He's too late for breakfast.

Then there is Ruth. Our wee puppy dog. Dogs are the frickin best!!

My daughter leaves like a ninja. But I see her. I run to the door, flip it open and holler 'BYE SWEETIE...LOVE YOU....HAVE FUN AT SCHOOL.' She barely turns her head but a slight smirk appears.  She heard me.

I go and check on my genius son. He's laying on the bathroom floor. Fake sleeping. I tell him get up or no electronics for a week. I can see his light now. The coma has lifted. The bus carries him to school. 

River announces there is no need for pants today. Underwear day he declares. I leave him with a bowl full of raisin bran and my husband who will get him dressed. Like putting pants on a bucking kangaroo. I head out. I forgot to brush my teeth and couldn't find a hair brush. Pancake hoards and hides them. I brush both when I get to work.

There are a number of tough cases at work. I prescribe mental health medications. I see dementia cases where I can't really help. I feel sad for and with them. I see relentless drug seekers who make me angry. I'm not a vending machine. You don't want to get better, you just want a fix. That's not going to happen in my office. I don't say these things. I say, No. And. We are done,  get out of my office or I'll call security. Because now I'm mad and scared. Addicts can be dangerous. They leave. I'll have to answer to the patient advocate for that.

I see patients who are doing phenomenal. I count the blessings. Coworker lunch goes well. Lots of laughs and support. More patients then done.

Then the kid pick up mambo begins. I start with my daughter from volleyball. She's hunched over, walking forcefully to the car. I can tell she's crying and trying to hide it. She's introverted and sports requires a lot of effort socially. She's doing it though. I smile and give her my phone so she can dive into tumblr and pinterest.

Then our new foster girl Andrea. Her pick up is at an after school program across town. My name is not on the list for approved picker upper people. They only have Mr. Hall's name. Mr. Hall is across town picking up Mac. It's 5.30 pm and there is no way to contact a social worker to address this. The after school teacher says she'll call the birth mom. I sit down with Andrea whose all smiles and happy. She's truly a beautiful girl. I'm humbled and happy. We color and wait. I've got 15 min to pick up River but I'm at peace. There is no rushing this.

Mom calls back and gives the O.K.

We pick up River who leaps into Pancakes arms. We all do a quick group hug. Pancake doesn't fight it, at least at first.

2 second family hugs are the best.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Love and Logic and my genius son....stay tuned.....

There has been some back sliding with my genius son and his behaviors at school. He's a defiant kid at times. He doesn't like the rule of no running in the hall,  so he'll run in the hall. Or argue with the teacher. Or make noises when others are presenting their projects. Or go outside for recess when he's on detention and not returning after the bell rings. This is  no good.

We had been using two behavior techniques. One being 1-2-3 magic parenting. The other being "your defiant child". They worked well enough. It's a lot of heavy lifting though. Lifting my very, very VERY strong willed child can do himself. Which is were the love and logic comes in.

Love and Logic  was a six part class Mr. Hall  went to.  It's well known in foster care circles because you want to love on the kids. Logically. It's not about punishment because you don't want to be punishing with traumatized kids (which foster kids are).

My son has a lot of behaviors that mirror the foster kids. Naughty behaviors. Only my son is not a traumatized kid. I nursed that kid for 8 months. He was a perfect love and still is. He's  just a genius who wants to be in charge. Only he's EIGHT with college level smarts. Emotional wise he's about 6. All whirling in a tornado of ADHD.
And I'm tired. We're tired. We're tired of using behavior techniques that require a lot of us pushing him. Mac can start taking over some of this. It's time to shift the responsibility to him.

But, my husband went to the classes and I didn't. He needed the foster care continuing ed. I'm all caught up. So I'm basically flying blind with this. Trusting my husband as he guides us through is a new process. I'm usually the one in charge. I don't know this system.

Basically, love and logic is letting the child experience consequences. Like when I ask Mac to walk the dog and he ignores me, I'm not to argue or badger. Or yell. Shut up. I DON'T YELL.

When he ignores me I'm to say, "We'll take care of this later." And if he argues and says, "I don't want to walk the dog."  I'm to say, all monotone, "I love you too much to argue, we'll take care of this later." And the later consequences includes deep stuff. Like stopping all electronics and throwing them away.

Only the dog doesn't get walked. Mac doesn't do his chore. I walk the dog then. How is this helpful? At least when I badger, cajole and bother...the dog  GETS WALKED.


But whatever.

I trust my husband. He's a logical engineer and he believes in this. I follow him.

Stay tuned....  

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