Saturday, July 30, 2011

Birthday Celebration

We celebrated Miss M’s bday today. She is such a swimmer we decided to do a small party at our pool. She loved being in the water with her friends. She loved her cake, too. She was so excited when everyone sang “Happy Birthday to You” and she sang it the rest of the night.

Here she is with her birthday cake:


In the pool:


Snacks, the goldfish were scooped out with a fish net:


Getting ready to sing Happy Birthday, sitting with her cousin and brother:


Jello Aquariums with gummy fish*:


*They were such a cool idea, but it was hot as Hades outside so they melted. It was 100+ degrees, good thing we were at the pool and not just outside.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Our Timeline of Fostering

We wanted to expand our family, we were dealing with infertility, we always talked about adoption and knew even if we hadn’t dealt with infertility that adoption was in our hearts. Hubby didn’t want to go out of the country, we both felt like a need would be better served here locally. Not to say it is the wrong way to go, it just wasn’t the way for us. My sister was adopted. I was there in the hospital when Jocie was just 8 hours old, I got to see her, hold her and I cried when I met her. She was so perfect and she was going home with us. I think because of Jocie, I always wanted to adopt, also.

We decided to go to a foster parent orientation in July of 2008. We started our MAPP classes shortly after that. MAPP classes were once a week in the evening for 9 weeks for three hours. It was the first time we consistently hired a baby sitter for C. I can’t say I learned a lot, but I do think they were valuable. Only one foster parent dropped out during the classes.

The two things I learned in that class that still stand out were:

1. We did a marbles exercise where we used different color marbles to represent different races, yellow for White, blue for Black, red for Asian, green for Hispanic, etc. Then we got to put a certain number of Marbles in for each time a statement was said and the color of the person represented in the statement. I.e. Put three marbles in for your neighbors, put two in for your school, put one in for your doctor, one for your dentist. At the end you look at your jar and see how colorful it is or isn’t. It is supposed to make you think how you would expand your “jar” if you had a child of a different color in your home.

2. We were told to close our eyes and imagine our neighborhood, our house, our favorite place to sit, our favorite things, and so on. This is to get you really comfortable in your thoughts and how comfortable you are in your house and with your stuff. Then we were told, “Imagine now that all of that is gone, all of the things that make you happy and comfortable are taken away”. Now imagine how a child feels, they were removed from all they know and taken to a stranger, to a strange place and these new people are so excited to see them, but they aren’t excited to see them because they want to be back home with their stuff, with their family, with the people they know. It was really heartbreaking and was supposed to make you realize that yes, you may be excited you got a placement, but temper that excitement because the kids will be suffering an emotional loss.

The classes ended in November and we filled out our mountain of paperwork, got our finger prints, and got approved to be sent off to the state to get approved as foster parents. It was a 60 business day review timeframe for the paperwork. Our SW for the MAPP classes came out to the house in early December and finished up all the paperwork to send our profile off to the state. She commented that we were the fastest to ever get everything done. Maybe she didn’t realize how excited we were, how much we wanted to add to our family. We wanted to adopt and through foster care was how we wanted to proceed. We got approved around March 2009, had a fire inspection and our house approved and then we sold our house and moved 20 minutes away (same county luckily) so we had to get our house re-inspected by the SW and a new fire inspection. It was August 6, 2009 that we had everything in place to get certified in the new house. (Ironically, it was August 2010 that Maya was adopted).

We then needed to get a Licensing Social Worker assigned to us, she came to visit us and then in October she went out on medical leave, she returned shortly in December before Christmas vacation. I was so ansty to get that first call, the one where we would have a child placed with us. It was our worker that I called on January 3 when I returned back to the office and she was returning back from Christmas break. I left a message (one that I had left almost every other week since September). Hi, I was just calling to see how things were going, etc. etc. etc. Trying not to sound too stalkerish eager. She called me back with a potential placement that afternoon. A little boy, free for adoption. She sent his paperwork over and I read all of it, Hubby read all of it. I was ready to say yes. I was hesitant, I wanted more information, there wasn’t more. I told her we needed to think about it overnight. I talked with my mother-in-law and my mom that night. I was pretty sure it wasn’t the right situation. I didn’t want to say no, though. Hubby and I went to lunch on Tuesday to discuss again (like we had been that whole night). We finally decided it wasn’t going to work. I slumped back to my desk not eager to make the call that we couldn’t. I got back to my desk and my Social Worker called. I apologized for not getting back to her sooner, that it wasn’t the right situation. She replied with a simple, “That’s okay, I was actually calling you about a little girl, 5 months old, we are 99% sure it will be adoption.” She then gave me a lot more information and the little girls Social Worker’s information. I told her I needed to call my husband, but that it sounded positive. I relayed the information to hubby and he simply said, “I think you can make the call.” What?!?! I get to decide. No, he meant I can make the call to the Social Worker to tell her yes.

I talked with the Social Worker and over the course of the next day we decided that we would get her on Friday after her bio-mom visit. We had been given the option of meeting her first and then deciding whether to take her or getting her sooner. I simply said I don’t need to meet her first, we want her, meeting her won’t change that. I couldn’t imagine saying no to a baby. We had information on her from birth, her medical history, mom’s prenatal care, etc. It was enough.

The first thing I bought was an Ergo carrier. I had told myself that if I was ever lucky enough to have another kid, I would get an Ergo carrier to carry them around in. The next and silly thing was a swim suit, yes a swim suit for a 5 month old. I managed to get a crib, get it put together, and set her room up with a crib and dresser set. We got rid of the full size bed we had in there since we didn’t know what age placement we would get. We were ready and I was walking on Cloud 9 all week.

Friday morning it started to snow a little and I was so worried the weather would delay me meeting her. Fortunately, it didn’t snow too bad Friday morning. She arrived at 10:30 am. I think she was the most prepared baby ever in foster care. She came with two huge plastic tubs of clothes, shoes, diaper, wipes, bottles, food, and formula. Along with two bags and her car seat. I had heard stories of kid’s coming with just the clothes on their back and nothing more. Miss M had everything we would need to get us through the weekend and more.

Here is Miss M in the first few hours she arrived with us:


Here she is sleeping in her crib in the first few hours:


Here is the Proud Big Brother that first day:


Story to be continued…

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Race and Adoption

In some ways I feel like we have it easier in the TRA (Trans-Racial Adoption) than others. C looks like a blend of us, M is brown like daddy, D is also brown like M and Daddy. Me and C are the only ones that don’t have a match in the family. Yet, in other ways it is still just as hard. I still have all the worries I read about on blogs of other trans-racial adopters. I worry do we have enough people in our lives that look like M and D? Do we have enough role models (or as Mama C calls them People of Power)?

There are a few things that I have sought out that I feel good about.

I started an interracial playgroup when C was 1. I did this for a few reasons, I wanted him to see other families that looked like us, other families that looked different, and make some friends of all different races. I am pretty happy with the long-term result. We made a lot of good friends and we continue to expand our circle and he gets to play with kids that are all different shades of tan/brown. I realized after we adopted Miss M that it was even more important that she also see other adopted kids in the playgroup (which we already had).

The girls’ pediatrician is black. I didn’t pick her because she was, we saw her once for a sick visit at our current large peds practice and loved her, not because of her skin color but just because she was that awesome. Also, the other pediatrician we see there was a foster parent and adopted two of his foster kids. How lucky is that, that we happened to stumble on these great resources?

One place where I tried and failed was joining an “African American Playgroup”. I still feel so disappointed at how I was excluded. I am glad that M wasn’t old enough to see us get slighted. We went to two of the play dates and I mistakenly thought I was welcome. When I asked to join their discussion/planning group on-line I was given the run-around and then finally told “it's just sticky... some folks would not express themselves freely if they saw an "outsider".” There it is I am an “outsider” and not welcome. I was and still am in shock. Aren’t we all just moms with a child of color? Doesn’t M deserve to have friends and be in a playgroup with kids that look like her? Maybe it is only about me and because I am white. Who knows? In the end I decided that it doesn’t matter. M has a best friend that is also adopted and we love their family. We see them a lot. M also has baby D who is only 15 months younger than her and what is better than a sister. So maybe she didn’t need it after all. I do worry as she gets older and makes friends in school that are also black, will she get teased because her mom is white. I hope not.

She has family that looks like her, her grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins. She has her daddy that looks like her. Her birthday party will be diverse. (Yes, that is one of my crazy worries). I can’t help but cast judgment when I see other TRA Families and see their pictures and their kid is the only kid of color at parties, at their own birthday party. I know it has to be hard, but we have to make an effort, right?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Birthday Girl

Sweet Miss M is two! I can’t believe how fast time flies and that she is two already. My little pudgy cheeked baby is now full on big girl.

She can sing the Happy Birthday song, but I cannot get it on video, she just starts blowing raspberries when I try. She said “I two Happy Birthday Me!”

One Year:

Two Years Old:

I brought cupcakes into her class and she wore a Birthday Girl shirt, she loved the cupcake on it. She was so happy to have the cupcakes and I got her a Mickey Mouse balloon since she has started liking Mickey Mouse now.

All in all I think she had a good birthday.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Summer Camp

Surfer Dude is in traditional school calendar because he is a magnet student. I love the year round calendar, but I love his magnet school more. So when the summer comes, I am challenged with finding him fun, unique, and cool camps. He loves sports, so a lot of the camps I choose do tend to be sports related. This summer I wanted to have him do at least 2-3 more academic ones. One huge challenge is that some of the camps are not very working parent friendly. How does a camp cost $245/week and end at 2:30. It boggles my mind.

This summer was the first time he didn’t do NC State Soccer. I am sure they didn’t notice me boycotting the camp, but they changed the stop time from 4:00 to 2:30. There was no way I was paying the money to then have to tweak our schedules all week to get him picked up at 2:30.

But, I found him some really cool camps, he did camp at an ice house, a sports center (that ran him so much I did have to pick him up early one day because his head/stomach hurt, which is code for tired), a drama camp where he put on a cool play called Stone Soup, and this week he is doing an academic camp at NC State. He will be there 11 hours a day, eat lunch and dinner there and switch classes. I am super excited. He is, too. He asked if next year he could be an “overnighter” and sign up for Lego robotics as his class next summer. Although he isn’t too happy that TV will be limited this week so he can get to bed at a decent time.

Here is my camper:


What do you do for summer camp, what has been a success and a failure?

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I love the girls so much! I cannot begin to even describe the joy I get from watching Miss M read to Baby D or watch them interact. Now tonight, I wanted to separate them as Miss M sat on baby D for the third time or tried to cover her with the towel for the second time. But about 99% of the time, they have the sweetest interactions.

Yesterday I sat and watched them for probably about 15 minutes. Baby D was in the bouncer just bouncing away and Miss M pulled her music chair up to the bouncer and was “reading” from a book like she was a teacher. The funny thing was she was “reading” a klutz magnet and science book and showing Baby D all the pictures like she would totally be interested. It was super cute, though.

I put Baby D in the shopping cart with Miss M for the first time yesterday and Miss M could not have been any happier. She hugged her, patted her, talked to her, and smothered her. By the end of the trip, Baby D had enough, but I loved watching them play and laugh and smile and coo.

Here is Miss M “reading” to baby D, who just wanted to eat the book:


Here they are in the cart:


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

One reason

One reason I love having a girl:


I painted Miss M's toes for the first time, she calls them her pretty pretties and she has to show everyone how cute they are.