Saturday, September 30, 2006
Joe and Tamesha threw a party for Alyssa today at Chuckie Cheese, a place I'd never had the pleasure of ever stepping foot inside of in my life. It was a shock to my senses, made my own rowdy house seem quiet as a chapel in comparison, every child in the place an instant victim of sensory overload with wild-eyed parents.
Alyssa's other grandmother, Tammy, is holding her here. Alyssa also had both great grandmothers there, aunts and uncles on both sides of her family. As my kids marry into other families, or have connections to so many other people, I become staggered at the amount of people linked to our family
The pictures of everyone are a blur, I have no idea how many people Joe invited but he pulled off a wonderful party for Alyssa who managed to keep her expression, the entire time, very Joe-lyssa, her nickname.
Chuck, Sergi and Daniel.
Sarah is holding Chuck's sister's new baby, Eden. Another example of how our family expands in that all the relatives of the in-laws are often included, this was Tameshia's family including Chuck's family in the celebration.
Ray and Tabby, best buddies.
Edgar and CJ
Cristy and Gina
Carolina and Jose
But great news for Carolina...all is well with her pregnancy. We might even be 5 for 5 instead of our recent 0 for 5 streaks lately. We're waiting on my MRI report, going to soccer practices, soccer team photos, Alyssa's second birthday party, Vanessa earned Saturday School detention for acting ugly, and I'm headed off to garage sales after a busy day yesterday as well when Edgar chauffeured me all over town tending to boring errands.
Chuy rescued a squirrel that he though looked so cute sleeping there on its side with the covers pulled up to its neck after eye droppering water into its slack mouth until Edgar pointed out it was dead, not slumbering. Chuy was crestfallen as his animal rescue career is now appearing to be in peril.
Emails unanswered, comments still going there at least, but not lost, Charter sure won't come over the weekend and I'll be lucky to ever see them actually.
Oh well, in contrast to out usual turmoil and issues, this internet snafu doesn't even measure up to anything...
Friday, September 29, 2006
Sarah has me jerry-rigged temporarily, but precariously, up against the wall once again, barely hanging on at all.
I already blogged the story in my head, so now I'm bored with the details, about the copperhead snake that Joey was not scared to hold, but was scared to kill, so as usual around here a female, Miriam, took charge and destroyed it with a shovel before it bit one of our babies. She splattered that thing all over the meadow.
I'd picked the last several cantaloupes and eaten them all my ownself in one sitting. The chill in the air each morning sucks for me as I'm a steamy, hot weather, good sweating kind of woman.
Last night at a soccer game, 60 degrees, freezing to me, I did bring a blanket and a couple of grandchildren, Mauri and Blanca, to warm me up.
My five mountains yesterday loomed over me like an albatross. I still can't blog about two of them as the final results are not in, but we've spent 7 long months with an elephant on my chest. Yesterday when I left the courthouse, I felt a distinct breeze of relief, we're not yet to pure oxygen, but the putrid smell of smoke, from a kid's stinking thinking kind of mistake, is clearing somewhat.
Grandma had a biopsy done, a cyst drained, and was home within an hour greatly relieved. She's 76 now, strong as an ox. Grandpa came home yesterday as well, after 6 months at Myrtle Beach.
Yolie had a scare with her pregnancy several weeks ago, but all is well now,and it was confirmed by ultrasound yesterday, this after quite a few frightened tears were shed. We are happy, excited and very relieved to know that May 17th is her due date, now we are praying for good results for Carolina who also had some tests run yesterday. She, Jose and their family met us down at the ballfield last night, nervous as cats, the worry is heavy. We'll know more this morning.
The last mountain was my own. I had to have an MRI done since it appears I may have a hernia. Yes, from overwork, heavy lifting and scrambling around here overdoing everything. I think I even remember when I ripped my intestines, I was quickly flinging huge, heavy buckets of wet horse manure up over tomato cages last spring, and I hollered, "Ouch, I think I just wrenched my gut." I'd had another hernia 25 years ago when I tried to prove I could do more situps than the man I was then dating. I did do more but I ripped my gut. Surgery now is much easier, it is laproscopic, out-patient versus the ordeal back then. Heck at least I'll get a good nap in the process.
Yesterday morning I had a bellyful of coffee, wiggle worm on fire, and I drove the technician nuts with my inability to remain still for a second. "Most people just fall asleep during this process," he'd complained on my 5 millionth squirminess.
A comedy of errors, missteps, mistakes, missed calls, and forgotten rides to places went on all afternoon and into the evening. Everyone was a beat off and a dollar short, kind of a group process in errors, but eventually, at our last appointment of the evening, the late soccer game, Mayra kicked in two goals, winning the game, girls rule! I'd been on a very loud female empowerment roll all day.
Since I'd had to be gone all day, Sarah stayed here with Tabby and Nando who hate it if I am not home. Tabby got paint on the bottom of Ray's feet who tracked down the hardwood floor hallway, Sarah'd had to scrape and scrub it off, and deal with the recalitrant children of mine.
As if five mountain climbing expeditions wasn't enough, YDC called me with a mess Fabian had created. Three phone calls later, one in which everyone got an earful from me as I attempted to get through Fabian's hard head, the dust there settled with everyone satisfied with the outcome but Fabian. I'd suggested a tougher form of punishment for Fabian, he knew I would, he didn't want them to call me, but I explained to him, through his tears, that him stepping up to the plate and doing the right thing, that seemed insurmountable right then, would eventually result in him not having to do a long-term stint there. He did understand my point then, and only then.
Tony melted down this morning over someone else's bed wetting, shoes and other unrelated matters so he stormed around his room while I got everyone else to school. Edgar, this being his day off aka MamaTimeDay, drove Tony later, hollering over his shoulder, "Guess you DO need a man around this house," since he was saving me some precious time.
"OK," I retorted in our usual trash-talking banter, "I'll get them skinny jeans back on and go looking." (get is always pronounced 'git' around here.)
"I'd like to see you try and get a man past all of us," he reminded me, slamming the door so I couldn't yell back. But I did anyway. I don't care if anyone listens or not, the point is I get to get it out.
I may get a hernia, but an ulcer would be an impossibility since I don't hold anything back.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Comments are going straight to my email as that link is messed up, I'm behind on email, so can't answer anyone.
We could use a little prayer...
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
For anyone who wrongly thinks that I have it all together, this picture was taken this morning (by me stretching my long arms out), no make-up except what hasn't worn off from Sunday, a striped shirt and leopard print pj bottoms that I wore when I drove the kids to school. I've gotten out, dressed like this, at school before when I've had to physically get a kid out of the van. I didn't dress good when I had a career...why start now?
Have I not mentioned how many times, when the children were asleep, that I've cried in my bathroom? Turned on the fan so no one would hear? Or sniveled around the house like a sick pathetic puppy having a public woe-is-me day?
Someone asked me yesterday if I ever wished some of my children at home were grown and gone, that I seemed so strong and caring. I am strong and caring, but heck yeah, I have counted the days on some kids until they turned 18, and then theoretically my responsibilities and obligations would end.
But I was wrong, they didn't end, they just changed.
If Big Joe got arrested at age 18, the sheriff didn't call me to come get him, and Joe was smart enough to know I wouldn't come anyway. He had to figure it out on his own. Yet I have still have had to help, in various ways, all of my kids after age 18, either through good stuff or bad; college, weddings car repairs, a place to live...what have you...and sometimes through my own gritted teeth, forced smile, deep resentment or anger, and sometimes happily satisfied, proud or thrilled.
I have thought back at times...should I only have adopted kids with extreme potential, not taken any issues or emotional handicaps? Should I have examined that checklist better as to what issues I felt I could parent? Not even adopted a bedwetter? Been more of an adoption snob? Like my caseworker then, Emily, would not have walked away from me in disgust at my elitist attitude?
I try not to be a Bible thumper here, but I gotta say that God would have loudly over ruled that attitude and would have slammed all doors in my face...as He has had to do many times to get through my rock hard head.
The truth is, I have the kids I am supposed to have. That's why I often appear strong, it is the knowledge that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing, that I am living solidly in the will of God for my life. However I remind myself of that daily as I struggle, when I forget my goals or feel sorry for my unappreciated self.
I don't know why God wanted to be to be Joey's mom, but He did. Joey is 18 and is awful right now, daring McDonalds to permanently fire him, subconsciously pushing me to call the police, aggravating the rest of the family...all in an infantile way of testing our commitment as a family to him...at age 18. Where do I draw the line? When do I say, "enough is enough?" I don't know, I'm struggling through this blindly, unsure at the moment, but positive that I'll know when, what, where and how, when I need to know.
Last night though Joey, in a lucid moment of clarity, wrote a guest blog entry that he's still working on regarding the ranch story of yesterday, he quizzed Vanessa for her biology test, and he talked Jose down from a rage while he, Jose, was swinging a shovel and got Jose dressed for the soccer team after I had failed miserably during the negotiations. I was too angry right then to deal with someone like Jose throwing a stick in the spokes of my family's bike that needed to work like clockwork all evening. He'd pushed me over the edge.
I probably am not verbose enough to detail exactly what my faith means to me; how it is literally the pure, core source of my strength; how certain I am each time I walk through fire that I know that this is what I am supposed to go through. That I then also need to learn something, to develop my character in some way, and to keep pressing forward in spite of often very dismal circumstances. I am so fulla bulla that I constantly must be reigned in by God, and shown a better way to proceed.
Why do I have to keep getting embarrassed in this small town? Am I still haughty enough to think we shouldn't have to go through this? I must have slurped down too much soy milk or something, get real Cindy.
I'm facing a tough trial with a dear son once again that could potentially humiliate the tar out of several of us. I see no way around it, only through it, and it's gonna be excruciatingly painful. I also know that there are those that enjoy seeing us defeated, a "guess you shouldn't have so many kids, Cindy" moment of smugness. That hurts me too, but what can I do about it? Nothing, which is just as well.
Last night at soccer, Edgar met us there late from work as he'd applied for another position there, wearing a white shirt and tie, looking for all the world like the man he is becoming. We had two back-to-back games involving 10 kids. I'd slammed supper together, dealt with a wonderfully insightful IFI lady working with Teresa, Sarah had gotten Miriam to work, Grandma had picked up juice boxes since it was my turn to supply snacks for both teams, but I slap forgot to ask either of them to run by the elementary school and pick up Lily and Chuy from Art Club. I'd even written it down but didn't glance at my planner, the art teacher called and I flew there in ten seconds, embarrassed at my misstep of omission.
Big Joe brought Alyssa to the games, proud of his younger brothers and sisters, cheering them on and feeding me a cheese quesadilla he'd bought on his way there as, of course, I didn't have time for my supper. I asked for a napkin as I'm such a pig and my formerly Big Bad Boy Son, Joe, wiped my face with a Baby Wipe, as that was all he had what with him being such a great dad, not a wannabe thug anymore. Edgar just snickered at us both, Joey watched carefully, gears clanking and churning in his knotty pine head as he observed Edgar and Joe's interactions with me.
When Joe was 17, no one could have convinced me about how much I'd crave his company later. I then wanted to be free of the emotional demands, the negativity and the hostility that has changed now to loving and helpful. I just couldn't see it back then, but I did know, with huge certainty, that Joe was supposed to be my son and that God was going to heal this boy of his emotional problems. And He did.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Teens killed by train were foster runaways
Web Posted: 09/25/2006 10:55 PM CDTExpress-News Staff and Wire Reports
HAWKINS — Two teenagers who had run away from a foster home were identified as those killed last week when a train struck them as they lay on the tracks, police said.
Chris Hill, 17, of Dallas, and Harry Tyrone Rutledge, 15, of Bastrop, were killed Thursday by a Union Pacific train traveling about 30 mph. The engineer told authorities he sounded his horn and applied the brakes, but the boys didn't move.
Hill and Rutledge were wards of the state who ran away from Azleway Boys' Ranch on Sept. 16, Hawkins Police Chief Ron Voda said. The ranch, just outside Tyler, is a foster home for at-risk abused and neglected youths.
This story hit me hard. Joey lived for several years at a ranch for at-risk abused and neglected youths. Now in a family, he still has many of the traits and the behaviors of young men that were so institutionalized. They can appear to be fairly normal but they are at a total loss when it comes to comprehending what others in family situations intuitively understand such as empathy, pride, sharing and caring. In contrast there is a gimme everything attitude, stealing from the rooms of others and an ultimate "who cares" regarding the rights of others.Joey would not fall under the diagnoses of RAD, he does have the ability to attach. My ability to remain patient, as he learns what he should have learned since birth, is being tried and questioned.
Not really feeling like a member even of his own sibling group since he's really never lived with them except for a few years here, often sticking out like a sore thumb due to his often anti-social bebehaviorshe stares at others and dos make an attempt to mimic their actions. Edgar is his nearest peer in our house but they are light years apart in social situations. Because he was as capable as anyone back then of raising six siblings, Edgar has a high confidence level. I don't even trust Joey to walk to the mailbox with his 12 year old birth sibling, I trust Edgar to drive a van load of them to church.
Because I do have older sons who've set the bar fairly high around here, it has always been my hope that Joey would rise to meet it. I'm being hard on him here, he has made huge gains, a lot of progress, and he's not the heavily medicated, raging monster that use to attack the staff at a mental hospital...he's now just majorly aggravating but that too signifies progress. He's just so clueless at basic life functioning situations...at being normal.
I'm thinking about these two boys who were killed. I'm wondering what their family situations were. I cannot even begin to imagine, how at birth their lives must have been foreshadowed by abuse or neglect...and then to end this way. This bothers me on every level. Makes me feel guilty for all I'm not doing as a member of the human race.
But selfishly, I want Joey to read this. This could have been him. And that too bothers me on every level.
I wish I'd pulled the camera back farther to include a picture that Cristy had painted. She's passed on her artistic abilities to Lily, who has Art Club this afternoon. Lily had mentioned she'd like to be homeschooled, but I pointed out to her that she had a public school art teacher with a PhD, it doesn't get any better than that.
Bragging once again about our county school...Tony would have been among these thousands if it were not for the faculty and administration at this school putting him into a summer school program that enabled him to pass this particular test. I need to always count my blessings, instead of dwelling on the constant onslaught of antagonisms, and our local school system is priceless. That thought crosses my mind every single day.
I just came from an SST meeting, Student Support Team, on Jonathan and Paloma who are, at least, improving their behavior at school. Paloma, paired up this year with a non-issue niece, Blanca, is rising to the challenge, drawing on Blanca's strengths, and having a good school year so far.
Jonathan's teacher, the indomitable Ms Carr, told me of several teaching strategies she'd planned after reading Jonathan's psych eval. She explained that she'd raise the bar as they went along, he'd rise to her expectations and her theories make perfect sense to me.
Today is Grandparent's Lunch so I'm going back there to eat with Blanca and Mauricio while my mom will have to sit through every lunch in order to eat with every grandchild, I'll stay with her for that and then we have two soccer games tonight.
Joey had to plead his case at McDonalds so that they wouldn't fire him. I told him he had two choices, beg for his job or beg for his job, no conniption fits allowed. He must have done a good job as they've agreed to give him another chance. He gave me last week's paycheck to hold for him, hide it away in my account for the time being, as his impulse spending is not under control at all, he's blown all his previously earned money...I'm not paying his probation fines, he can pay or be jailed, he chose for me to control his money to keep him from going to jail. I don't want to control, I want to impart this budgeting knowledge into his knotty head somehow. I'll keep trying.
Unable to totally maintain her attitude, Vanessa didn't fight physically but she did let loose a torrent of unacceptable words at school resulting in afternoon detention that she'd skipped, which necessitated a phone call to me from the principal and Saturday School for her. Sucks to get those natural consequences. What are you going to learn from this pretty girl? She's taking her figurative licks. I'll be at soccer practice, looks like you need your running shoes to jog the mile and a half each way...cut through the woods, it's safer and quicker.
"Can't Edgar drive me?"
"Nope, he's driving me," I'd replied, "Positive wins over negative." I knew he wanted to watch soccer practice anyway, the fun part was on my side. Deep sigh from Vanessa, knowing she'd been trumped by a black and white ball. Hey, she should have behaved.
This is not a good picture, taken yesterday, of Deysi holding Alexander, and Yolie's son, CJ, rubbing his eyes, but it's all I have to work with right now.
A couple of emails I've read, affirming my sharing of the negative. Two ladies cracked me up with their descriptions of personal negatives, glad to know that it isn't just them. No, it is so us.
This morning I was thinking on a more positive note, 39 kids aren't going to break me, 40 might have succeeded, but I apparently stopped adopting while I was ahead...I've also always maintained that I personally need to be divided 39 ways as my intensity is too over-whelming to not be diluted. I'd make any one of them nuts otherwise.
I'm going to have Alexander every Monday from now on, I've missed his Winnie-the-Pooh voice all this week, he's very good-natured.
I'd told Yolie that it was gratifying to watch the next generation expand while this generation ages.
I'd chosen yesterday to sweep out my very large driveway, parking the van and old jalopies in the yard; physical activity with the sun beating down on me always recharges my solar batteries.
At Mayra, Javy and Martin's soccer game last night, an 8 p.m. game, the temperature had dipped into the mid 60s...frigid for Georgia in September, parents mumbling, "Lord have mercy! We should have brought blankets!"
Miriam and Vanessa had pitched a hissy fit, usually Edgar's job, but after losing 15 pounds this year off my already narrow frame, I'd had to go buy new jeans. They told me how stupid I looked in Nikes with those jeans, that I should wear sandals, "Mom you look dorky enough," to which I stupidly obeyed and my feet froze. I haven't even worn shoes in months, flip flops are favored, but I've worn out the tread on them. Comfort is my usual goal, not fashion.
Joey and Sonny had gone shopping with me to get new jeans one day last week. I aimed for Levis, they always fit me, I'd not bought any in nearly a decade, but I apparently bought 'skinny" jeans and they've caused an uproar here.
My oldest teens think I did it on purpose, trying to be stylish, "uh-oh Mama's going to go clubbing now." Birth mother fears in action, she's gonna leave us now.
WHAT? Like I knew? With Joey and Sonny as fashion consultant back-ups? We'd accidently wandered into the plus sizes and I was complaining that there'd be room for all of us in those jeans, then I saw the Misses section, quickly grabbed Levis, but came home to a chorus of fear-tinged comments. Jeepers, I shoulda got baggy ones but that's what everyone had previously been complaining about, how raggedy I looked.
Oh yeah, this is our house, where logic does not live.
Vanessa asked me the other night for the millionth time about my marriage plans. Not gonna happen, I again reassured her, to which Miriam anxiously asked, "because of us?"
No girls, because of me, I chose to be the mama of 39 kids, no man could keep up with me. No man would want to try.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Yolie and Baby Yolie together reminding me of a photo of them taken more than ten years ago. Baby Yolie was so thrilled at her mother, Carolina's pregnancy, telling Sabrina, Martin and Mayra at school.
Carolina with Blanca and Tommy today. Sarah and Ray, Deysi and Alexander, Yolie and CJ...everyone's so happy for Carolina. I'd already texted Edgar who came bounding in the door from work spilling out his congratulations.
The funniest thing was Chuck's Tickle Me Elmo for CJ, the tenth anniversay edition, that thing literally has a fit, slams its head backward...the little kids (and Edgar) were enthralled. We spent the entire afternoon laughing which felt great.
This picture, of Vanessa, Grandma and Jack, has nothing to do with the fact that either Yolie & Chuck's second baby will be grandbaby number 13 or... number 14, depending on whether or not Carolina and Jose's fifth child comes first. Late May for either new grandchild. Congratulations!
I've only had a couple of hours to digest this new news and I'm absolutely thrilled.
Our mountains and our valleys are sudden, extreme, and often surprising.
I've had a dark weekend that fell squarely under the title of Adoption Lashing Out: And The Other Kids Scrambling To Make Up For What SOME Have Done To Mom.
I was, as it happens quite often, blindsided by unresolved issues and blatant anger, hostility and misdirected ugliness. I was told I'm a crappy mom.
Were I not attempting to constantly struggle with my own Christian walk, I would have lashed back savagely. This turning the other cheek is aerobic exercise once again and I have whiplash. I ignored much of it, propagated six beautiful new plants from old while I inwardly seethed and tried to give myself positive pep talks.
I cannot forget the hatefulness poured out upon me, but I'll forgive it. I can not go give "my position" after inaccurate desciptions were given of me. I just have to continue to learn to live with and find my usual solace in horticulture which does not badmouth me, nor despise me.
So where is the fine line that I should not cross as a Christian? I hear from all y'all moms out there on a daily basis about how I could be telling your story, or how my posts hit so close to home, but, mostly, how I am encouraging everyone to hang in there. The back pats from others who've been there, and are there, are supremely appreciated by me.
Should I not share the negativity and explore my options out loud as to how I should react? How I should encourage the other women, in this often sinking boat, to hold their heads up high? That this will all be worth it in the end?
I took down a post I'd written on Saturday that, I felt, would encourage other adoptive parents to hang in there no matter how badly you'll be treated. The ones who were treating me badly resented the encouragement I was sending to other moms like me.
I am a college educated, retired schoolteacher, raised in a middle class family with little, if any, issues. I am, or was, fairly normal but when I talk to emotionally damaged, traumatized children they react as if their world should be the yardstick for normal.
HECK NO! Let's incorporate logic, etiquette, psychology, integrity,goodness and honesty while everyone heals within a loving family.
Sarah, often alarmed, at the physical and emotional toll this is taking on me, is my anchor to a normal planet; a reminder of my life many moons ago when we just had normal teenage rebellion; not distorted, violent, screaming hatred against me.
It is not everyone here. Sarah, Yolie, Marcela, Carolina and many others are helpful, respectful confidantes of mine here. It was Sarah and Preston that I leaned on Saturday so that I could dress up just to get knocked down. Chuck and Yolie brought me Krispy Kreme donuts last night, when the hot light was on, if that reference is unfamiliar to you it is when the donuts were freshly cooked...there's a red light outside the store that lights up and creates traffic jams.
Edgar asked me to be his date to his company's Christmas dinner. "You want your mom there?" I'd screeched in disbelief, instead of graciously smiling and agreeing to go. I'd reacted similarly, several times in the past, to marriage offers, "WHAT? Are you kidding me?" Yes I know I need to work on that. I should have said no that last time also.
Then I was actually flattered that this handsome son of mine wanted to take me there with him. 10,000 girls call him on a regular basis, but he wants Mama?
Miriam and Vanessa and I talked late into the night, they explained to me that Edgar was severely depressed for the 13 years he spent trying to be both mom and dad to six other children, deflecting feelings shot at him by various caretakers who didn't particularly like him as a person. Vanessa said that he was often resented since he was the only one that the kids would mind, that they only looked to him for emotional support. Well duh, he'd proved himself to them. He'd been suicidal at one point, Miriam cried last night telling me some sad, sad details, "Mom, that's why he's so clingy to you. Finally someone likes and appreciates him for what he did for us."
And then I remember why I do this, why I put myself out there daily only to get shot down once again...to keep encouraging others when I know, and they know, that we've chosen a thankless, often very demeaning lifestyle, that we've opened ourselves up to constant criticism from people who wouldn't do what we do, we're treated like morons for bringing this upon our ownselves.
I can hear all the, "Amens!" right now sisters. I am still confident that I'm doing the right thing, still happy with the children that God put into my family, but it'd be a bald-faced lie if I didn't share the bad times, if I glossed over them all, like that doesn't happen in our family.
Now that I just participated in my own public pity party I need to tend to an OSS kid, a meltdown didn't make it to school child, and a large, suspended from McDonalds, I don't have to listen to anyone disruptive child.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
These two guys, Javy and Jose, are now emotionally somewhat freed up by their verbal revelations the other day. We are still working on Jose's issues. Being redirected irritates him to the max, resulting in rudeness and inappropriate comments, yet I can not allow him to internally believe that he controls us and the environment, he can not keep us emotionally hostage to his whims of obstinance and defiance. Not on my watch son.
I hadn't had my first sip of coffee this morning when I had to confront him about lying, and he informed us that he isn't going to church then. The 'then' being his final word and the interpretation is, "If you don't believe me when I am lying then I won't do what you say."
Wrong song son.
I poured my coffee, read online newspapers, sent several kids to the showers, and am obviously now blogging my irritation versus shouting it down the hall after him. Yeah but I'm screaming in my head. That said, he will go to church and he will acknowledge the fact that he lied to me, then he's going to apologize to me.
If I back down, then I've taught him to physically intimidate us ,and bully us with his foul moods. I don't think so child. Wanna see a foul mood? How's about a 52 year old witchy woman with no coffee and plenty of menopause? There's some way better ingredients in womanly pissiness.
Just because one has the ability to fart one's ABCs doesn't mean one should do so.
These lines that my children cross, from ungoverned, wild acting-out barbarians over to well-behaved Sunday School rapscallions are tough ones to navigate, but it falls on me to push them there.
No picture of constant etiquette my ownself, what with being a red-neck, silly prankster, I still must instill in my rambunctious brood the ability to switch gears from our familial goofiness or our issue spilling at home to, at least, decently dressed, fairly quiet, halfway attentive functioning human beings in public. No small feat, no wonder they sleep good at night...exhausted from the effort of attempting to appear normal in public.
My kids overlook the odd quirks here. If Jose leaps up from the dinner table to catch a lizard that scooted from a large houseplant up a wall and then puts it in his pocket there are no choruses of, "Eeuuww, gross." There is rarely even a break in the conversation. The kids step over raging, spitting tantrums in the hall time-out spots while chasing each other, no notice given to the one who is out of control yet this used to also happen in church...Jose'd go down screaming, it's not the ushers job, rather Sonny or Daniel, whoever was closest to me, would step out of the congregation quietly to tackle Jose down who'd then be halfway across the field to the paved road. You just can't act like that in a place of worship and have people think you are well-adjusted.
It's taken me over four years to make a great deal of progress with him yet this past 7 weeks of being in middle school has taken its toll and he has regressed hugely. Who didn't see that coming? This I have to tend to. It's time for him to be grounded to a grownup, an expression I learned from Tina.
After church today Jose will be assigned to my left butt cheek, in that I need my right side for speed. He must be within 12 inches of me, helping me, observing me, hanging with me until bedtime as I model normal behavior hopefully. A punishment for me as well because this won't be a charming son all afternoon, he'll push my buttons, he'll disobey, and he'll attempt to make me sorry for so stupidly choosing to be his mom since, in his under developed conscience, his real mom left him. I allegedly have to pay for that.
No darling son, I can do this with my eyes shut. I can blow off everything you spit at me today. I'll repot houseplants, cook, do dishes and laundry, make another batch of mind-blowing, burn your intestinal tract hot pepper sauce for the winter, all the while ignoring the dervish at my side who will certainly escalate.
But someday I'll have a very normal son who will make me proud of him, all my efforts will be rewarded. I believe that strongly, I've forced myself, over the years, to burn those hopes into my brain and to see, in my mind's eye, the handsome, well-adjusted man that he will become. Period, this is non-negotiable but is transferable to every other child that I parent as well.
A tough uphill bloody battle that I sometimes grow weary fighting. I'd rather watch baseball but we don't always get what we want and I need to teach that to my young'uns.
(In the several hours that I've not been trying to blog, bathe some younger children plus get them all fed and dressed for church...Jose has already improved and apologized so I got all smug ain't-I-a-good-mother proud and way too big for my britches because Tony just went down in an astonishly loud rage over a computer game remark. One fire doused, another raging out-of-control...)
Saturday, September 23, 2006
I'm utterly appreciative of the fact that these are two drama-less boys at all times. Martin's three birth siblings are riddled with severe issues, Martin is not. Staggering when one considers this is Joey's half-brother.
Joey got a second chance at McDonalds last night, but blew that also. I took him to work at 5:30 this morning only to have to take him back home again, second suspension. "OK son, let's think about this, trying life your way, being hateful, rude and disrespectful to your employer, your mom, deputies, probation officer or school personnel hasn't gotten you anywhere, why not try and act right? Just see where it gets you?"
A blank response.
Joey claims his manager is racist and he actually told her that. Good move slick. I don't care if she's a Nazi, she pays you to do what she says. He claimed I don't understand, what with me being a white woman and all that.
Hmmm, two African-American grandchildren, you think I don't get mean stares sometimes at Wal-Mart? Living in a totally Mexican family I must have no idea about people's racial intolerance? Get real son, we can't control what other people think, only our own reactions to that. I choose to not react to people who think negatively about our family. Don't even get me started....
At 5:30 on a Saturday morning Bubbas were scrambling for shin guards and soccer cleats even though I pointed out they had another 5 hours before practice.
The high drama here continues and I'll blog later today after I physically make myself take the high road and do the right thing. Reading Adele's blog today also shamed me into doing that which is going to be difficult for me to do. This upcoming event today has been a source of dread, Sergi is angry and disappointed and I'm not thrilled either. I feel a bitter blog emerging from within later.
Sergi wanted to talk to me in my office, the pantry, late last night. Squabbling with an older birth sister, she used cutting, mean words and made a grown man cry. He vented his ire to me, I totally understand his position, but I offered Alternate Plans B, C & D. He chose to leave here and spend the weekend at Joe's house, they've been brothers for 15 years now, emotionally super bonded. It's interesting now, to think about it, Joe offers Sergi a massive amount of emotional stability and unconditional love. Jesse did, and does the same, but he is stationed in Virginia and has a lovely wife. His responsibility now is to her, as it should be.
My boys, who had unloaded their horrific experiences yesterday, came home bubbly and excited, the older one used the words 'relieved and happy' to describe how he felt. Edgar, Vanessa and some other older children read the blog entry yesterday and were subdued, Yolie was crying, and Sarah was inquisitory.
Eating what might quite possibly be the last garden cantaloupe, I was thinking about the source(s) of traumas represented in our family. No wonder my house is taking a beating. This is why I do not watch television dramas, I need drama relief, that's what baseball is for, the playoffs especially.
Friday, September 22, 2006
She wrote, "It seems we keep encountering situations of adoptive parents (often fairly new adoptive parents) who seem to get themselves really worked up about various issues, and it seems that a lot of it may be due to them spending enormous amounts of time processing issues with everyone imaginable and getting way too many different opinions. I think it’s real important for adoptive parents to have strong support networks; I just wish that parents would look to their caseworker/agency as a primary support and probably who they should ultimately turn to for advice on some issues. It often feels that we have to rein people in from some questionable advice they’ve been given, decisions they’ve come to, etc. I know that new families are overwhelmed with the adjustments everyone is going through. That state of trying to get back to some kind of balance within the family, I think, makes people vulnerable to both good and bad advice. We spend a lot of time with families. Sometimes people need to figuratively take a big breath, step back a little, and look at the big picture.
I was personally fortunate to have a very available caseworker to go to for advice, I called her often, particularly in the Cristy and Joe years. Maybe adoptive parents are afraid to bug their caseworkers? I never had that fear because I knew how strongly my caseworker felt about disruptions, had she not passed that on to me, who knows if I would have quit many times? She modeled it as well, as none of her children, all adopted from the foster care system, were easy.I still call her and I always will as I am, way too often, in deep over my head and can't see the forest for the trees. When I told her about today's therapy session and the fact that Jose went to school and got in so much trouble that he was suspended from school on Monday and has ISS for Tuesday and Wednesday, she mentioned I might should have allowed him to stay home for the rest of the day.
And she was right, I should have done so.
After 51 months, safe in our family, of raging, crying, destroying property, lashing out and smearing feces, Dr. G and I were just told a gruesome murder story, corroborated by two brothers, that was not the story given to me by TDPRS.
Putting the pieces together over the years, trying to understand the actions then taken by the Mexican police, and living with these survivors, witnessing the nightmares, and comprehending the depths of this particularly brutal trauma...ohhhhh now I get it. Even Dr. G walked out of here very stunned.
Three brothers saw the act, the knife and the machete, and the aftermath, trying to protect and take care of each other; the year afterwards is a blur of different people's houses and different caretakers, birth mother later arrested for felony drug sales, imprisoned, and a grandmother putting them out on the streets to sleep in the dirt, by then the fifth child had been born and the three still very young brothers struggled to care for him and their two year old sister. And middle-class me goes bonkers here over stolen food. Duh Cindy, survival mechanism and you think they're gonna trust people?
Both boys today, staring wide-eyed, wondering how we were gonna react to this knowledge about them. Like it was their fault? The older, larger one now sobbing...I need to email his Language Arts teacher who required a time-line project of his life. Ashamed of his life, "Mom, I can't share this." Dr. G telling him, "have her contact me if she doesn't want to excuse you from this."
An hour later, I still need to get them to school, they still need to function, to have a normal life.
I think I'd fling feces also if I'd survived that Hell.
Now I'm speechless.
Our pastor, last Sunday, had encouraged the congregation to go home and share their born-again stories. Nope. Mine is locked away, Sarah is the keper of secrets. I don't like the, "I was this bad until Jesus saved my soul" stories.
Let's just leave it as I'm much happier now, much more fulfilled, and focused. No one needs to know where I've been or what I've done. It's boring and tedious, stupid and empty. None of the kid's business.
Jose, last week in a rage, claimed he didn't want to believe in my God. This from a boy who is truly comfortable and calmed in church.
In his anger he had physically threatened me, said, "I'm gonna go psycho on you and you don't have the big boys to protect you."
I suggested he have at it, but he was burned by the fire shooting from my eyes and he backed down. I didn't.
He's talking with Dr. G right now in the sunroom, learning that is not an appropriate reaction to one's mother.
When I had a job, and a higher number of teenagers living at home, it was a much easier matter to get the chores done. Now I have terribly lazy children, who act as if chores are an emotional threat to their egos as well as a large number of younger kids.
I struggle each day to keep a couple of thousand of square feet clean, the bedrooms are everyone's responsibilities. Working feverishly I got to the bottom of the laundry room floor. There are not enough laundry baskets to hold 10-12 loads a day, the kids toss the dirty clothes into a pile, and I plow through. The clean clothes on the table all need to be sorted, that is a group effort and we try each afternoon to get them all put away.
I'm not real thrilled with this front loading machine, leaking for the third time in a year. Yes theoretically I'm saving 60% more water with each load, but if it's just going to puddle up on the floor then I'm not impressed with the environmental aspect here. I already have the plumber finally coming this morning as now three toilets, an all time record, are out of commission.
And Dr. G coming to address the other toilet issue...that of Mr. Feces Flinger and his plumbing issues also. We know he poops...must he physically share it with us?
After finishing the clothes and sweeping out the laundry room, the day had flown, the kids were back home strowing everything everywhere, I was proud to see the end of the dirty clothes, but the pile that remained to be folded and put away was daunting. Then everyone took off that day's clothes...bookbags, shoes and socks, papers and toys everywhere.
Truly I'd spend much of the day bellyaching to Sarah about how unappreciated I felt. Duh, fuss about the obvious, but sometimes I need to get it out. Sarah'd cooked me an amazing pasta dish with scallions, asparagus and Gorgonzola cheese; I'd squirreled some away and chowed down last late night also, savoring each spiced up bite.
I'd received an email from someone that I'd lost touch with for several years. She, Pat, is also a single, working mom of a large family and she allowed me to share her feelings,"Cindy, I am convinced your blog is all that's keeping me glued together some days and keeping MY teens from being back in fostercare! Just to know that I am not the only one in the world dealing with raging, hormonal, angry, destructive lying children who in a flash of the eye can become sweet, darling, caring young people helps me to believe that this too shall pass."
Of course this feeds my own ego and helps me not feel so alone. Alone being a curious word when one considers that I live with 27 other people and have another couple of dozen nearby relatives. I don't get many compliments here, so I greatly appreciated Pat's words as well as hearing from Cathy in Minnesota who shared an interesting story about her girls in Cambodia. I love hearing other adoption stories and I read other blogs as well.
Fabian has called twice this week, sobbing on the phone when Tabby said, "I love you Fabian." He wrote a pile of letters also, individually to the kids, telling Vanessa that he kept dreaming he was home, but dismally waking up there at YDC. Hardheartedly I have to remind him, "Son, you told me, and you told the deputies, that your life would be better there than here with me, you need to think before angrily running that mouth of yours." Who doesn't like an I told you so moment? Maturity not being my strong suit obviously.
Finally settling down last night, Miss Alyssa and Joe came to visit. Nando'd given my jade plants a haircut which made me momentarily insane, and by the time I calmed down Joey told me he'd been suspended from McDonalds.
"Suspended?" I'd shouted. "Are you outta your ever-loving mind? What does suspended mean? You better call someone and apologize, straighten this out before I have to deal with you."
Apparently he'd disagreed with his manager. Too dern bad, boy they're paying you to agree, you have no choice but to agree. This best get resolved right dadgum fast.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Lena and Yolie's comments to Sarah were hilarious.
Somehow Yolie & Sarah also seem to have recruited Edgar in convincing me to do the right thing as he's texted his agreement and support for what they want me to do. Preston also is lending a hand during a very important UGA-Colorado football game. Daniel has National Guard duty and will miss the game that he has tickets for, a double whammy in his mind.
I don't wanna do the right thing. I want to be immature and childish, hateful and petulant.
I'm tired of taking all the blows.
I've been awful all morning long, ranting and carrying on. They both let me, confident in the knowledge that I'd do as they said and act like it was my idea.
I'll blog it after I do it, if I can properly carry it off on Saturday.
I'm pretty much going to dare folks to watch this video of The Forgotten Children.
I took my the kids last night to this concert. We've gone for years, missing last year for some reason or another.
These orphans are so starkly different from my own children, who are the orphans of the living.
The video was played in church, it is horrifying. All the kids in the audience went out to meet the Children of the World, my own children were enthralled.
My older children, 13 and up, watched the video. Several of these same children had just experienced a collective meltdown at home when I raised my objections to feces smearing and stolen food wrappers. My 13 year old son's face hardened up like a stone, all the "evidence" stuffed between his bed and the wall. Jose went down in a rage as well since I was confrontational. Apparently in our house, when faced with concrete evidence, they think it is necessary to lie louder and more vehemently.
I didn't back down. I went on and on until the taller one crumbled, apologized and sobbed in my arms. Jose remained angry that I'd dared to criticize survival behavior. "No son, this isn't how normal people live and I'm gonna stay on you until you conform to regular, not issue-laden, behavior."
Chuy, as well, had joined the melee against me. He'd already been angry when his denials of the obvious were not believed. Chuy and the Feces Flinger came around emotionally, pulled out the dirty clothes under the bed for me to wash, took a trash bag to their room, and swept everything up while Jose glowered like a muddled ape at everyone.
I was so very perturbed, thinking about Millie's quote, counting how many (and which ones) I'd take out at the plate when I slid, feet-first and raggedy, into home.
My son-in-law, Big Jose, came into the kitchen after I'd fed everyone, just as I was about to eat, offering to once again repair all the sheet rock that he'd alarmingly seen destroyed in our house. He's a victim of the El Salvadoran civil war in the 1980s, he's vocally appalled at my children's acting out, feeling that they are spoiled, clueless ragers. Foster care in America, to him, means food, clothes, safety and a roof over one's head. What's up with all this destruction?
I share his emotions, yet I also understand the anger and the trauma.
Again I got sidetracked from eating, so I dressed everyone for church and off we went. Little Jose (Pepe) stayed home, still irrationally furious, and by then he'd spread his ire to baby brother Jonathan. Miriam had homework so she stayed to babysit. Edgar wasn't yet home from work but was on his way, I knew he'd be Miriam's back-up if needed. Yet I'd hung up on him without saying good-bye, unintentional, my mind was on the battles raging down the hall.
Vibrating with anger at the ingratitude, and the wanton destruction of what has been provided to them, I basically stormed quietly into church, rudely plopping my family on the back two rows. My supercilious, crappy attitude needed to be in church. Sonny'd texted Edgar that I was mad at the world, then I really was that incensed that Sonny'd try and stir more stuff up. Edgar was then also irked by the time he got home so we had cross words once again, but worked it out quickly as I told him to just get in line with the other haters, which shocked him into love and logic towards me. "Nope, I love you little lady," was his response which cooled me off just a bit.
But logic evaporates with the rest of the kids. They were somewhat subdued by the the children's stories of being orphaned by wars and diseases, in many ways though this just makes them act out more in response...worrying that something'll happen to me also...but their behavior during the service was 200% perfect across the board as they all stared wide-eyed in disbelief that they are not the only ones who've been traumatized.
Listening to the Children of the World singing and dancing, I was thinking about how tough it'd be to serve children in a foreign country with no Braves baseball to take my mind off of the daily problems, the imminent danger that many African relief workers face each day, and the corrupt governments that they attempt to deal with in order to provide food, medicine and services. So my pity party evaporated somewhat as I strengthened my own resolve to deal with the many issues that seem to discharge so explosively in adolescence, just when pre-teens seem so ill-equipped to deal with challenges.
I think of all the ways I can try and help other issues when I grow up. I mean when my kids grow up.
Maybe I'll just write a guilt check to organizations, or maybe I'll go to Haiti and be an employee in an orphanage where all the responsibilities won't sit on me like drunken, heavy elephants. Maybe I'll be a cook on a Red Cross ship or the laundry lady as I sure have the experience necessary to fill the position. It was nice to dream of areas in which I could serve that would eliminate the day to day dramas that sap me.
In many ways I am coasting downhill now, the majority of my children successfully navigating life, but I always feel as if one of my big feet is on a banana peel...
I have two more major dramas to plow through at the moment, and over the next several weeks, and I'll blog when they are over. I have decision and obstacles to face, problems and issues...no it's three now that I think about it but since I am, right now, unsure which way to go, it is so time for me to go into prayer mode.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
After I hit 'publish post' yesterday morning I jumped up and ran non-stop with my Mom, Sarah and Yolie as back-ups. Today will equally as hectic, but I thrive on a challenging schedule.
Getting groceries, cooking dinner, running to a doctor's appointment, and two soccer games...next thing I knew I was hollering, "Bed-time!" and everyone was scampering to their respective beds.
Soccer was awesome last night. Scotty, hyperactive at best, may have found his calling. This is his first year to play and he remained focused and powerful throughout the game, always looking to where we were sitting each time he kicked the ball hard. Our family is vocal, positive and very loud.
Cristy, Edgar, Vanessa, Sonny and I comprised the upper tier of loudmouths. Paloma, Jonathan and Jojo all on the same team with Scotty, were marvelous, the game was tied 1-1, with Paloma being the one to score. Her very natural aggression is fearful to behold on the field.
Next game, hauling our chairs to the other field, Edgar had brought gatorades for the kids, and we settled in to watch CW, Allen, Sabrina, Chuy, Jose and Tony join their equally as physical teammates to produce a game in which I could hardly remain seated throughout.
I want a shirt that says, "Allen's Mom" on it, that child is stupendous, he looks like a short, professional soccer player as he feints, kicks the ball with ease the length of the field, past all the kids were assigned to stay on him to prevent him from scoring. On one move, he and Chuy totally faked out everyone and Allen scored, three other times he either kicked to the side from an impossible angle or simply kicked through everyone.
Their coach is extremely loud and emotional, kinda like me actually, he threw himself on the ground and pounded the dirt with his fists, screamed, hollered and yelled...but produced a winning event. He's volatile even at practice, the kids are learning a lot from him, a very admirable man; I've seen him during previous seasons intently watching my kids, then his competition, now his team.
Chuy had quoted their coach, "we play with our brains not our bodies," in the van, Allen used both and the game was incredible. When we picked up Miriam and Joey later from McDonalds, Edgar verbally detailed it all for Miriam who beamed with pride at being kin to Allen. I wish Fabian could have seen it.
Fabian called me yesterday and is doing very well at YDC. His therapist there told me that if it were a grading system, he'd earn an A. Hey, I can be just as proud of him for succeeding there as I could be if it were school. That's my point son, make me proud.
I'd been printing out blogs and sending them to him, he's two hours away, he feels like he's on an alternate planet, he told me he'd memorized every word, please keep sending them. Homesick to the max, using this time in a positive manner...dare I hope that this was hitting the bottom? That he could be on the way up now after over six years?
Yolie'd been reading Adele's posts, went to the one about over-indulged birthday parties, and she was here yesterday while my children were sharing soccer socks and shin guards, swapping between games, yet my scrappy kids were out there to win not to be fashion plates, not realizing that they didn't have Nike equipment and other name brand stuff.
This picture was taken by Ms. Carr when she took CW, Chuy and Memaw to a UGA museum a couple of weeks ago. They'd come home, spilling details over all they'd seen, Ms. Carr's husband looked exhausted from the over-exuberance exploding from each child. We were up at the pool where the explosive horseplay is kicked up forty notches at best...certainly not for the faint-hearted. Ms. Carr is used to it.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I just printed out Adele's post as I am staggered by it.
Wow, is just about all I can say.
I pray I can remember this when I'm in the midst of our turmoils....
"I'm going to have the time of my life when the time of my life is over, I'm gonna get carried away when I get carried away," Yehaw, as we drove to school listening to country gospel such as this old song, yet Jonathan had a meltdown because he didn't get his homework done. Guess who just lost his computer privileges? Guess who is sitting here and not at school? Chuy asked me, "want me to tell Ms Carr that he's having a meltdown?" Yes son, do so please.
Thank God my own mother came back to town, she's been gone much of the summer, lollygagging at Myrtle Beach. She tended to Tabby and Nando yesterday, so that I could take Daniel, 21, and Joey, now 18, out for a birthday lunch. Sonny joined us and we, of course, went to Agua Linda. Talking trash and cutting up, my idea of a great time. Daniel mentioned that he thought something must be up at home since neither Yolie nor I had been calling him for several days. The two of us still are overbearing on this grown man, Mama habits are hard to tone down, I just love him so much and I still want to take care of him.
But he was right, we didn't want to worry him. Guess he knows us well enough to know our silence is unusual and indicative of a problem. But we're past the 5 day heart-pounding suspense and happy to announce that all is well with Yolie's pregnancy. I'd only told Pastor Terry and my friend, Charlene, at church but Vanessa told me that the youth group had prayed for her. Our relief now is palpable.
Daniel told me that big brothers Joe and Sergi were also going to take him out for his birthday. I could read about it the next day in the police report. "I don't think so big boy, I'll spank all three of you, grown or not."
Joey has gained 15 pounds working at McDonalds and Sonny has put on 10 pounds while being a Burger King employee thus lending credence to yet another one of my dietary theories...we're talking a month's time. Good Gracious. So far every single one of my kids, except Sarah, stops being a vegetarian when they grow up...all gain weight immediately. Everyone here is normal sized yet they puff up like creme pastries when they start eating dead animals. Yuck. Cristy is fairly careful about what she eats also.
I eat more than everyone else, it's just that I eat plants not animals.
So Joey, at 209 pounds, was squalling in shock, "I'm gonna only eat salads!" Even Miriam, who does not pig out, gained four pounds in a month there at McDonalds, being barely five feet tall, she feels it is noticeable, I don't. She's a pretty, pretty girl. I told her to not even inhale in that restaurant.
We'd doused our spaghetti last night with the new flamable pepper sauce I'd made...even the juice in it is scorching but delicious.
Joey is now 18 and I could be DONE with parenting him. A lady on the soccer field was going on and on last night about wanting her daughter, a birth daughter, to turn 18 and become independent. That doesn't happen in my universe. If anything that's the danger years where the kids try and make me reject them even more, like "You're done now, you can get rid of me legally, be shut of me, I knew you didn't love me." Even sweet Yolie went through this. Some rage and storm off, some cling tighter while screaming louder, they all make me wish they'd go off and learn firsthand about the cold, cruel world.
So I wait them out...
I point out over and over again that I won't tolerate rule breakers, this is still the house that I'm making payments on, if they don't like my rules they are free to go pay their own bills and make their own rules. Eventually they grow emotionally strong enough to go, I see some resulting dumb choices and wrong-headed decisions way too often but usually, finally they straighten out their wings and fly upright; some not until their mid-twenties, and some return to live here once again.
The Navy, jobs, college, marriages, and birthing children have all contributed to maturity; paying bills is a rude awakening as well...duh for all of us.
Ms Carr pointed out to me this thought, "I keep looking at that picture of Tony holding the sleeping baby (Alexander?) and figure it has to be therapeutic for the big kids to cuddle those babies to sleep. You can’t give them the cuddling that they missed (although Edgar works on it), but snuggling with a little one is so good for you." Hmmm, once again the obvious is in front of my nose and I didn't see it. Good point, all y'all's comments and emails have helped me understand so much more than I ever could have considered, I'm such a dorky know-it-all, and I'm so thunderstruck conversely and often over my own blindness.
Hearing, this morning, from our Pastor's wife, Trish, buoyed me up as well. She has a wonderful attitude about our imperfections, loving us all and building us up...just when we need it with such sweet, understanding words. I'm grateful for that.
Monday, September 18, 2006
" The North Arkansas Adoption Coalition is putting on its Second Annual Adoption Picnic on Sat. Sept 30, 2006. It will be held from 11 until 3:30 at the First Baptist Church, 1400 South Pine Street, Harrison, Arkansas Lunch will be served, free of charge. Lots of games, information and you will have the opportunity to mingle with children who are needing their forever families. For more info you may contact Robin4350@yahoo.com"
I wish I could attend, I'd love to see Robin and her family, internet friends for years, Merilee has met her and I wish I could spend time with both of them. Between the three of us, we have nearly 90 kids.
Although everyone wanted to act out and keep me home after church, I made it to the baby shower yesterday.
Being there with a dozen women I've known for 25 years, prayed with, and seen through a great deal of non-adoption related turmoil, means a lot to me. A roomful of adults in a gorgeous home...Heaven to me.
All of us, except the hostess, now grandmothers, "fifties and fabulous," was how Cathy described it. Some of our children have disappointed us, some have made us proud, some of us now divorced, some have changed professions and, staggeringly, two had lost children over the years, one at age 10 another as a teenager. Three of us had adopted children and one of us had been adopted, her mom and grandmom coming from Alabama as the new mother-to-be was theirs. Our children have grown up together in school and at church, we've been to weddings, funerals, and showers together. One woman and I are now related, three of my grandbabies are first cousins to her great-niece, small town families. Tina's parenting the great-nephew of another of my friends. In this town it is an easy matter to know four generations of a family, the years have flown. It's been an interesting time, to say the least.
I had to hold my cell phone in my hand the entire time, remain connected to my short leash, only three phone calls from kids...setting an all-time record for not bugging me. When I came back home though, they all crawled me, acting as if they'd been deserted once again.
After swimming last night, I shut off the pool pump. Although it'll still be hot here, the first day of fall occurs this week, symbolic time at best, but we have soccer games, practices and the kids will start working on the Christmas Musical. no free time for swimming at all. Plus I'll save money on the electric bill.
Mayra' s math teacher, Miss Jamie P, brought us a queen sized bed, a futon sofa/bed and a small sofa yesterday, all in perfect condition...we'd be thrilled even at poor condition at this point. In a family where "half-ass is a step up," Sarah dared me to blog that remark, actually she suggested I use it as the sub-title to my book. Christian bookstores might have a no bad words policy, this might be seen as blatantly offensive whereas in our reality it is uber descriptive.
The kids had a cow, arguing over where to best disperse the furniture. I wanted time to think about it, but after swimming everyone was moving old furniture around and making a case for having the new stuff in their room. I over-ruled the majority and handed down my decisions: Vanessa gets the queen sized bed, she and Miriam have the master bedroom and bath so they easily have room for two large beds, Miriam's is a double. Memaw (Sabrina) got the sofa and Tony's room got the futon. Everyone is thrilled with the arrangements, wanting to run around the house and sit on the new stuff...like it needed butt-prints to now make it ours.
Flower credits above go to Sabrina who grew her first sunflowers this year, Vanessa, of course, took the picture of them with some gardenias.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Typing the line the other day, "I know plenty of homestudy ready families who want babies," resulted in a flurry of emails and comments. Yes, families need to already have an approved homestudy for situations that arise, but mainly in Adopt America Network, the situations involve medical or special needs children or babies. Babies, such as the one abandoned in our county this month, do not end up with AAN. Local county child welfare offices handle these and they definitely need waiting foster families. I would encourage everyone who reads these posts, and is interested in adopting, to call local adoption agencies and/or your local county welfare office for inquiries. In AAN we match approved families with waiting children. The babies and toddlers that I've matched over the last several years were all special needs adorable children.
For some odd reason my gardenia bushes are again loaded with flowers. I held one under Edgars nose, "smell this son, this is what heaven will smell like." He turned up his nose, pessimistic as usual, and I instantly grew aggravated. JoJo's psych eval picked up on their birth family's deep pessimism and this is something that we, as a family, are working on. I find it emotionally destructive and personally annoying, it wears me down, and I'm frazzled from constant attempts at re-directing it. I understand its source, yet I want to teach them it's not a healthy way to live.
Look boy, if I can remain positive under this constant onslaught of grief and hatefulness, then I expect anyone can also do so. I just had to walk away from him last night to maintain my last shred of good cheer.
I've been invited this afternoon to a baby shower. The expectant mom was adopted 20 years ago by a friend of mine. I'm excited about going and can't wait to see many women that I've lost contact with due to the fact that my kids don't hardly let me out of their sight.
I have a hard time during each night, calming my brain down enough to let me sleep. Last night I lay there thinking about the changes, the stresses, the heartaches and tragedies that this particular group of women have encountered over the last two decades. We've all changed tremendously from the hopeful, confident, naive women we once were when we all had small kids and our worlds, and reality, had not crashed in so much on us.
Long, productive talk with Alex last night, first time in years that she's been this lucid and insightful. She's daily under group therapy in a less restrictive environment now, even she is noticing her own progress.
I also talked with my Cristy, AKA Maria, at length last night. Now nearly 30, her perspective is, of course, greatly changed from the raging teen she once was. She's nearly as old as I was when I adopted her and her siblings, a mom of 8 kids at age 36.
Still hugely traumatized by her formative years, she and the others have been my tour guides, my living examples of the damage done by poor, or zero parenting. I only have time to blog about 10% of our lives and our issues, I internally wrestle with so much more each day. A nightmare woke me up this morning and I tossed and turned, thinking bitter and brittle thoughts, feeling hungry, sleepy, unappreciated and astonished at the stress loads I am expected to always function under. I had a small pity party, remembered DUH to pray about it and came downstairs for coffee.
Our kitchen still smells like a pepper factory exploded in it. CW and I upped our ante, adding the unidentified fire hot peppers in larger quantities to the jalapenos in the food processor. When I took the lid off we both staggered under the cloud of capsaicin that burst out and flew up our sinuses. Other kids walked in the very open air kitchen coughing, rubbing watery eyes, "Wow! Smells great, what are y'all doing?" We jarred it up, refrigerated several bottles, and are looking forward to dousing our foods and anticipating the infernos within.
Church this morning...will everyone calm down enough to allow me to attend this baby shower? To sit like a typical lady and pretend I'm just like everyone else...halfway normal? These sweet women know me well, and will allow me to just enjoy their company and not feel like an overworked, unappreciated mama of many. I won't mention any of my kids, I'll just say, "everyone's fine." The words 39 will not emit from my lips, I'll smile and absorb their hilarity and I'll remember and, coast on it, all next week. I'll be entertained and amused, glad that they invited me, and I'll gratefully soak up their company with all my being.
And just like my kids, look at me making this all about me, instead of the new mama. Crud, this is contagious.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Fortunately, because at my age it's tough to sleep great, I'd awakened at 5:40, going downstairs the house is dark and quiet. Miriam still sound asleep next to Mayra, and Joey up in the boy's hall snoring. Edgar snuggled between Allen and Jojo, nighttime temperature dropping into the 60s, all our windows still open and everyone acting like it was going to snow.
I'm hollering, "Y'all got 3 minutes, GET UP!" Edgar jumps out of bed, "I'll drive," and up and down both halls I see Bubba heads popping up like gophers coming out of their holes. On weekends they tend to sleep in different rooms, we had empty beds everywhere as they'd fallen asleep yapping with siblings.
So by 6 this morning, everyone is up and it is a Saturday. Oh well, we have a lot to do, soccer practices, clean the house, let's swim this weekend before we close the pool down for fall.
Yesterday I was still carrying on about that abandoned baby and Deysi informed me that she'd worked with that mom and her first child through the Early Head Start Program last year. As soon as I'd said her name Deysi looked at me in shock, "Are you kidding me?" I hadn't even told Deysi, two years ago, about possibly getting that baby. Heck there are so many possibilities over the years that I didn't get around to discussing everything with everyone.
Still picking peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplants and cantaloupes, it'll be close to 90 today, but right now in the early morning I can feel a slight chill in the air. Yuck. JoJo pictured here this morning is still shirtless.
Friday, September 15, 2006
I've received several emails lately from young people in their twenties expressing some strong desires to adopt. One in particular yesterday, Corey from Missouri, super impressed me. I gotta say if you are certain that you're hearing from God then go for it.
I started adopting in my very early 30s by doing the paperwork for an international adoption of three girls. By 33 I was squabbling in Spanish with a difficult attorney in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, appearing before an adoption judge there, and returning to Georgia, weeks later, victorious. Looking back, all that was easy compared to what was ahead for me with foster care adoptions.
I'd advise young people to do foster care, even as a learning process, in order to make certain one has the deep commitment that adoption requires. Or dive off a cliff onto rocks, it'd have just about the same impact. I think I've been fairly clear and upfront that this isn't easy, it wouldn't be easy with any two of my kids much less the other 37 added to the mix.
But if someone is chomping at the bit, and has this intense desire, then take steps to bring this to fruition.
Absolutely NOTHING could have stopped me at any point in the last 20 years, and nothing's going to stop me from finishing either. Pure determination is a must as is a hard head, a strong stomach, an iron will, and a thick skin.
I couldn't begin to come up with an initial age for anyone to start. Let the adoption social workers weed people out, that's not my job...I'm an encourager.
I may have already been a mom at 19 but I sure wasn't ready to adopt until my 30s. I was earning more college degrees so we'd have more money, I was working hard, buying a house, having a huge social life...too much fun then to worry about more than Sarah and I. Everyone's party eventually ends and I grew aware of a deep inner yearning for more satisfaction with my lot in life. This is where I truly felt called to participate, and where I felt I discovered the answer to my own personal search for significance.
I didn't necessarily intend to have a large family, it grew slowly from my own careful following to where I felt God wanted me to go. I knew when He wanted me to stop as well. I search for what He wants me to do each day as I often face some heavy duty challenges. I miss the mark when I allow my own selfish feelings to take over (anger, feeling put upon, etc), and I stumble through often as this is hard. I muddle by, waddle along, and feel my way with my hands on the wall as it is uncharted territory all too often.
I've been right focused on my family, we didn't evolve much, mainly it was all about Hispanic sibling groups, usually school age. Period.
I don't blithely peck away at a typewriter dreaming up heart-warming stories, I hope that I simply share our experiences, hoping it'll encourage others sometimes. I blog also to get my own thoughts in order as they often are banging around noisily all in my cranium.
Working with Adopt America Network, being there emotionally for others, and encouraging those who've felt called to adopt is all I want to do.
Corey from Missouri...you came to the right place honey.
Oh Boy, I have yet another teenager as Javy turned 13 yesterday. He's as tall as me and outweighs me already. He was 8 when he came here, the oldest of 5 stairsteps, ages 4,5,6,7 & 8 at the time; all five with very challenging behaviors, oppositional, raging and FAE certainly. As far as I know not a single birth parent represented in my family was ever consistently sober. Duh, that's why the kids are here.
Debbie asked me yesterday in the comment's section if I medicated the kids for FAE. No, I'm not a big fan of medication. Life's hard, I need to strengthen my children internally to face challenges. Medication is necessary at times, there's just so many over-medicated children coming out of the system that I'm reactionary in this regard.
With Tony however I'm not certain what I'll face in order to help him function normally.
Probably half my kids were on meds when they arrived into our family, I weaned them slowly after placement...even Joey who was on two tons of prescriptions, he is/was a butthead on meds and a butthead off meds.
Sarah and I were talking about Ray's two year old normal toddler tantrums, how cute it is...I mentioned it's not so cute in a 19 year old, but it is a necessary process in one's developmental growth. 20 years down the adoption road I can see this but I sure wasn't that astute years ago when it was Cristy acting out. I didn't get it then, I was aggravated, short on patience, wondering where was the gratitude one should see when one adopts a 12 year old with three siblings.
Duh, Cindy...if you knew then what you know now....parenting is a continuous learning process and I can't wait to look back on these years and be staggered at all I still didn't know after 33 years of being Mama.