Thursday, January 31, 2008

Still Seething

My outrage over my stolen laptop continues to surge through me, provoking spells in which I am simply overcome with shock and despair that I'd been treated this way. These very negative emotions are not good for one's body.

I took it, the banged-up laptop, to the Geek Squad and was told it's a R.I.P thing, DOA, gave-up-the-ghost, don't even try and fix it. Layers of insult over injury and I have to try and shake-it-off or I'll have a heart attack. Honestly some of my grown children are forcing me to care less in order to preserve my own physical and mental health.

They force me, by their actions and their words, to emotionally withdraw. I know that they puposefully sabotage this relationship, still testing me, and I walk a fine, thin line here. I do still love them and care about them but, at the same time, I cannot allow these horrendous behaviors in my life.

Sharon wrote a good post about not owning their problems. I wholeheartedly agree.

Children's Church had a field trip to Pump It Up last night and I didn't allow Jonathan to go since he flat refused to go to school the other day. A consequence...Duh. So he was angry and tried to break one of Grandma's windows and today has again refused to go to school.

His birth brother Javy, a large and reasonable son of mine, offered to physically force Jonathan into the van and throw him out at the elementary school. Tempting as that sounded, we all know it isn't an option as the school would have to call me to come handle the raging, oppositional, distrubed child.

Plan B involves me documenting everything and seeking a deeper level of mental health services. The one who shares a room with him on the other twin bed wanted to sleep upstairs in my room on a futon as the rager had torn up the bedroom - thrown all clothes everywhere and two mattresses and two sets of bedsprings are slung across the room.

I'm listening to GMA as I type and my attention went to this story about a raging, obese four year old.

The raging looked like any of my children, this mother was automatically blamed for her child's issues, yet no options were offered. Huh? What are we supposed to do with severely oppostional, angry and disturbed children?

At the grocery store yesterday, after I got the bad news about the laptop, that one would think I'd already have hardened my heart and been inurred to, but I'm not...I saw two people around my age discussing which bottle of fine wine to buy. I was hunting a bottle of club soda to settle my whirling-with anger-and-disappointment-stomach.

I had a blinding flash of jealousy over normal people who live calm lives where people don't steal from them and upchuck hatred constantly.

It took me a minute to shake it off. God thumped me on the head, "You don't know what other people deal with in their lives."

OK, good point. I shuffled on home, a tad despondent, very frustrated in thinking about spending the next decade with such very hardened children. Like, what's the point if they're just going to end up "draining society of resources" as Claudia so eloquently wrote in a recent post?

I only want to be in contact with grown children who are pleasant to me.

Those who've chosen to break the law, not pay their bills, and not be productive members of society I gotta say, I don't think that's gonna work for you, but I'm not going to fight with you about your choices...just be ready to accept your consequences for what you've chosen to do.

And on a lighter note, Linda Up North mentioned one of my favorite authors, someone whose books I became immersed in way back when, but I still often refer to often.

Sarah blogged yesterday.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Coming To Terms With Lawbreakers

The sheriff's investigator told me to meet him at the department this morning at eight. "I'll be in my civvies," he mentioned as he had to be out of town after our meeting.

"Oh honey, that doesn't matter to me. I'll still be in my pjs."

I have my laptop back 3 1/2 months after the theft, but the power cord is gone. He read me the full arrest report complete with several lies that were told to the police. I, of course, apologized for my son's horrible behavior. He reiterated that there was nothing more I could do for lawbreakers. "Let 'em take their lumps," he'd suggested.

Y'all's comments have been so right on target. Linda Up North said, "Let God sort them out," to which I totally agree.

I really want to concentrate on those who are law-abiding and still want, and need, my help. I'm re-thinking a lot of my previously held beliefs. I'm afraid that some kids are confusing 'forgiveness from me' as an excuse to do what ever they want to do, figuring I'll get over it.

I think now, in my family's dynamics, we've crossed a line in the sand. I talked at length with the investigator, bending his ear on criminal behavior, wanting his thoughts just as I often question other professionals that I come into contact with. Several probation officers, correctional folk and other law enforcers read my blog and the bottom line is I won't enable kids to break the law...my kids KNOW that, I've been very clear on this. Sharon's post has my brain wigging out also, trying to figure out why and how kids think this way.

Several of you have written to me about setting boundaries and protecting our other children. I have permission to share this letter that a mom sent to her son. I've read it several times and am mightily impressed. I know how many of us are struggling with this:

Cindy, this is the letter I sent to my sex offender son who is in jail again. He made it out a whole 64 days--I wasn't impressed. Then he started in about being a good parent and that I needed to visit him every weekend like last year, etc, etc, etc--I agreed to write to him once a week. As I was reading a book this came to me. I am still frustrated but at least I feel I have some boundaries.

Dear___________,
I have been thinking about our conversation yesterday and trying to figure out changing relationships and what our new relationship will look like. I have started reading a book called “Poser, Fakers, and Wannabes” and in this book it brought up the story of Adam and Eve and I think it applies to us.

This story takes place in Genesis 2:15 – 3:24. Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden and had a wonderful relationship with God. They saw him every day, talked face to face with him and walked in the garden with God. Adam’s job was to take care of the beautiful garden God created and Eve’s job was to be his helper. There were many trees in the garden and Adam and Eve could eat from any tree they wanted—well except one, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God said, “If you eat from this tree you will surely die.” Adam and Eve only had one rule to obey--Life was really good.

The serpent was also in the garden—this is the devil in disguise. The devil tells Eve a lie, “You will not surely die if you eat from this tree. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4. Eve ate from the tree and then she gave some to her husband and he ate too. When God was walking in the garden that evening Adam and Eve hid because they were ashamed.

God then punishes the serpent, Adam and Eve. The serpent has to crawl on its belly. Adam and Eve got banished from the garden. Their relationship with God changed. Adam now had to work every day so they could eat and Eve would have pain in childbirth. They didn’t get to see God everyday, talk to him face to face or walk in the garden with him. There were consequences for their actions and it changed their lives drastically. They never again had the same relationship with God.

I think this story is very similar to ours. You came to live with us and we planned on a wonderful relationship. We saw each other everyday, talked face to face and did many activities together as a family. Dad went to work every day to provide for the family and I was in charge of the house and the kids. There were rules and expectations that you had to abide by. Life was good.

The devil is with us everyday. He doesn’t look like a serpent—it would be really easy to figure out who he was if he did. He is still telling lies and convincing us to do the opposite of what God wants us to do—this is called sin. He convinces us that we really don’t have to listen to our parents, they really don’t care about us, and our parents just want to keep us from having fun. So we do what the devil suggests and after we fall for the devil’s lies we are ashamed and we hide. We hide from God, our friends, and our families.

Every one of us sins. Sometimes our sins get us in trouble at home with our family and sometimes they get us into trouble with the law. There are consequences for our actions and sometimes our lives are drastically changed. Your sins have led you to being locked up and now we can’t see each other everyday, talk face to face, or do activities together. Our lives have changed drastically. We will never again have the same relationship.

Now we can end the Adam and Eve story there and think that God is really mean and really didn’t care about them in the first place or we can read the rest of the Bible and find out that God kept trying many different things. He sent his only son, Jesus, to die for our sins. Jesus is the only way we can have a relationship with God. Even when we have that relationship we still do not get to go and live in the Garden of Eden. We have to wait until heaven to have that perfect relationship. Adam and Eve always had a relationship with God but it changed.

We can end our story or we can move on. You can convince yourself that we really didn’t care about you in the first place or you can believe we love you and want what is best for you. This is where life gets hard. Just because Dad and I want one thing for your life, what we think is best, that isn’t always what you choose. Now we have to try different things and come up with a different plan that is a result of your choices. We will have a relationship but it has changed and it will not look like the original relationship. Part of our new relationship is writing letters—I don’t know what other things will be a part of it. I hope this helps you understand changing relationships.

Love, Mom

I find this very powerful.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

From Another Mother

Kerri - Our acreage is surrounded by woods. You have to drive through woods to get here so I could put a gate way up at the end of the driveway a quarter mile from the house.

A friend a thousand miles from here, a mom to a large family and a social worker has allowed me to share this:

"Wow, girlfriend, now you are where I'm at!

My son (one of my sociopaths) turned 18 last March..I got him through high school, he had a good job and I spent too much money on a truck for him..sooo in Oct he lost his job (time clocks don't apply to him), moved out, sold the truck for a third of what I had in it, broke into my safe, cleaned out the garage of tools, ripped off several neighbors, broke into my sisters house and cleaned out her safe and a laptop, wrote a dozen bad checks, has three police departments looking for him, people out to kill him...and he's out on the street prostituting...so I have a gate, locks and security cameras in place...

But I still have another resident sociopath in-house, doing all the same, turning 18 on April 18 and for his birthday he gets a legal three day eviction notice! I've had it..its not fair to the kids who want to live a normal, moral, socially accepted life. They deserve a happy childhood, and should not have to worry that every gift will end up in a pawn shop. Life is too short and we sure deserve to enjoy it.

There is only so much we can do and as you have found out, it's bad enough they rip us off but its the hurtful, evil lies they tell about us that cuts to the core.

I have cut off several of my "grown" kids and I don't feel guilty anymore. I did more than anyone else in their life, and probably more than anyone else will ever do for them. It was their choice to hate instead of love..it was not the example set for them. My responsibility was to give them a childhood and offer opportunities to learn skills for adulthood. I did my job.

Thanks for keeping it real in your blog. Adoption is not for the faint of heart!"

And from Karen, I am using a line as well that speaks to me as she told me about one of her children: "She is allowed very limited access to our family." I like that option.

On a good note, Sarah found that our Charter cable TV has a gospel music channel and I got to hear Gold City. I'm taping the Third Day show for my kids.

I've Had It

A deputy called me, he'd gone to the neighboring county to pick up my laptop but he wants a written statement saying that the alleged thief will not have access to my property.

This thief told the arresting officer that I'd loaned the laptop to him. The more the deputy read the report to me, the more I seethed.

I told the deputy that my dad had offered this person a substantial amount of money to return the laptop, for cash, with no questions asked.

How many chances should a person get to hurt me? This has been theft after theft after theft for many, many years. He's also stolen from Chuck, Grandpa and Preston.

I need a break. I'm saving my money for a gate to physically bar access to my property.

Folks who only want to hurt me need to stay away from me. If kids have nothing nice to say to me, then find someone else to vent anger upon.

I've had it.

I'm going to severely limit my attention to those kids who are breaking the law, who are brazenly hateful and resentful. I've done all I can do. They may return to the fold when they want to obey all the laws of our land and act like decent human beings. No druggies, no drunks, no cussing, no negativity and no ugly attitudes.

I'm done. I've done all I can do to help these kids who are now in their twenties. It's self-preservation time and I want to pour out my love and attention on those who are still trying so hard to succeed, slipping and falling, raging and carrying on, but still trying half the time.

Comments

Again Claudia writes about what many of us, no most of us. will face in our adoption journey. Again there are no answers, mother's intuitions are ignored, there are no solutions and families are put in danger. Her post is a must-read.

In my "She Snapped" post, Lisa wrote a comment that makes way too much sense. Bingo, A light bulb went on in my head.

Whoever ever has time ought to go back and read some of the many thoughtful, often gut wrenching comments that are left in response. I'm thinking today about Tudu's attached child vs the othrs comment. I know so many of y'all are in the same boat, it is often so very, very hard to continue forward.

I also want to continue to add links here from other adoptive families. Let me know if anyone wants to be added.

PRN

I'd recently participated in a phone conversation with the transitional director at the psychiatric hospital that is treating Jose.

"We're not seeing the behaviors you, and other psychologists, have described. We'd like to transition him home."

I hit the roof. "Can you guarantee out physical safety in writing?"

"We can't predict behaviors."

"Yet you feel safe in sending a violent, large, very diagnosed boy home where there are younger children?"

"We'd like to work toward that."

Next day I discovered he was on assault protection for blacking the eye of another resident, he'd been on AP 16 times lately and last night they called me at 10 p.m. to tell me that he was fighting and had to be subdued with a shot.

OK, he was fighting against grown men, the attendants, and y'all have a shot to knock him out when you can't subdue him?

Help me to understand how you think a 53 year old woman could possibly keep her other children safe from these rages?

Our mental health system is in disarray.

His ten year old brother had a rage this morning and refused to go to school. I have to get 22 snacks to Tabby's class and another appointment this morning. It's going to be in the 60s again, I need another long walk to work things out in my mind.

Monday, January 28, 2008

She Snapped

Well I sure snapped today, had a hissy fit all over this page and spilled over into my other one.

I lost my temper while home alone and slammed out of my own house pushing a broken down wheelbarrow and dragging wood chips to my bamboo grove and around the Leyland Cypress trees.

I saw Big Joe drive up, go in and fix himself a sandwich but my blood was bubbling inside me and I went up to the second meadow and walked through the pine trees for an hour or so. I needed some space.

Joe came back later, figuring I must have gone bonkers, but I feel so much better now. Y'all's comments validated me and yeah, obviously I needed that. Thanks so much.

But one young lady, also named Sarah, will probably keep me up all night worrying about her half a world away. Darling all I can do is pray for you and I know I'm called to do so. Stay in touch please.

Claudia wrote a great post too. Be sure to read this.

Long and Bitter Post

Sometimes I have to really fight back the bitterness. Sometimes I write posts that pour it out and then I don't publish them, the mere act of venting helped. If I don't hit publish though I'm afraid that I've sent the wrong message to other adoptive parents, "My kids don't mistreat me, sorry that yours do so."

My kids DO mistreat me, if they can't get to me, they go after Sarah and that really pisses me off. They holler amongst each other how they favor their biological siblings (who rarely return the favor) yet in their minds they think it's OK to disrespect my biological child? And no, that's not happening right now, I'm angry on my own behalf.

Yolie told me she's hesitant to adopt anyone, fearing they'd mistreat her two children as mine have done to Sarah. Yolie has always been wonderful to Sarah...does it boil down to Yolie's very high IQ?

Sometimes, after age 18, I fantasize being free of their ferocious anger. Have I then not done enough for them? Sacrificed everything? I'll still figure out a way to get them through college, but may I then be shed of their wrath?

My grown kids have stolen from me and lied about me, they've set me up to be humiliated, embarrassed and ashamed way too often. Another reason to be a recluse. Why go out in public and show my face knowing some people are thinking aloud, "She's stupid for loving kids who treat her like that."

And it never ends.

They think up new ways that'll hurt me, make me understand that they were deeply hurt before they were adopted. See how it feels?

I have several grown children at the moment in trouble with the law and I'm backing way far away, never wanting to enable them to continue doing wrong and I'm absolutely overwhelmed at the brazenness of some of them. Did no one ever listen in church? Do you not have a conscience? A heart or a soul?

I have mean daughters also, if the world doesn't go their way they want to make me pay. If they make wrong decisions and have resulting consequences, it's my fault?

I pray and pray, dig in the dirt, haul wheelbarrow loads of wood chips, go on walks, sweep furiously, read my Bible, struggle with forgiveness and deep bitterness.

I will never see gratitude from them, that's OK, I did what God wanted me to do. It's easier for me to do all the dishes, wash all the clothes, pick up all the trash than risk the constant rages that come when I ask anyone to help. Go ahead, be lazy, see where that gets you in life. Maybe they really can't learn, maybe I'm just a hotel, someone for them to use to get what they want, I'm just a stupid old lady.

Should I not hit publish when I'm this disgusted and aggravated with such nonhuman, such transparently hateful behavior? Should i hold it all in and grow another tumor? What if the stress gets to Sarah or Grandma and Grandpa since they are often targets. I've even had two different family members be blatantly ugly to Ray. Four generations of my family taking the abuse? That's unacceptable.

But again today I'll pick everything up that everyone threw down, I'll wash the clothes, clean up breakfast dishes, sweep, gather dirty clothes from where they were thrown and start supper. I'll go outside and work until my irritation dissipates and when they all come home, I'll smile and help with homework, knowing that I successfully channeled my hurt and bitter feelings into hard physical labor once again.

And I will still love my kids who lash out at me, who lie and steal, who spew their hatred and glare at me because of what someone else had done to them many, many years ago.

BUT I've reached a point where some changes will be made. If I allow them to continually abuse me or others, then I'm not doing anyone any favors. Now I feel sucked in, I'm allowing this participation in anti-social behaviors by my continual silence and foregiveness. I'll continue to forgive but an emotional distance will now ensue between myself and those who continue to hurt me or others on purpose.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Slinging Stuff Everywhere


Before bed each night I plug up my cell phone and find the cordless one just in case.

Night before last it rang at midnight, but they hung up before I could sit up good and figure out where I was. Caller ID said Daniel's name so I had a cow and called him back.

Turns out his cell phone had accidentally called me but, "By the way, I'm at Ft. Benning until Sunday."

Way to let me know, he'd ridden in a black hawk helicopter from here to there on Friday. This afternoon was gorgeous and the kids were outside with me planning on waving at Daniel should he happen to fly over the house. That's likely kids, that and an asteroid hitting the chicken coop.

Our usual high for this time of the year is 53 degrees but we haven't reached it lately, finally today it passed it, going to 61 tomorrow. Dandelions and Johnny Jump Ups blooming, the daffodils have budded, Paloma counted over 200 fixing to bloom, so Jack and I super-mulched several trees in the first meadow.

My parents had given me a rooted sprig from their magnolia tree in Virginia, it's just been 7 years but it's close to ten feet tall right now. Chuck had given me a Fragrant Purple Cloud Tree (no idea what the Latin name is) years ago and I swear it's the horse manure and wood chip mulch that's made it grow tall and survive a crappy drought.

Linda Up North posted about all the crud around her house, Man, I thought it was just us. I'd walked all over the place picking up stuff outside as if every kid had taken armloads of junk out the door, gotten a running start, and slung it everywhere. What's up with that?

I fight to be organic here and they smash plastic toys so I have to pick up every single scrap of it by hand.

And from the Austin, Tx newspaper this article states, "some recent research does suggest that being exposed to pesticides raises the risk of getting Parkinson's disease a decade or more later." So many DUHS, so little time.

Passion, Purpose and Determination


One doesn't have to read The National Enquirer to know that Brad Renfro, Heath Ledger, Christian Brando, Christopher Alport and Suzanne Pleshhete have all died recently and suddenly. All Hollywood, all the time, now on CNN and Fox News but that's not my point. Since we don't know when death will come up on us, I believe that we need to be living life to its fullest, and getting right with God is a purpose driven life.

That book by Rick Warren, while certainly excellent, didn't speak to me as much as The Rhythm of Life: Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose by Matthew Kelly is doing. I have stacks of books that I've picked up at yard sales, rarely paying more than 50 cents to a dollar each, yet reaping goldmines of wisdom and information from each one, each time. Motivating myself to continue encouraging and cheering on my children.

Kelly asserts, "Why do so many young people immerse themselves in video games, alcohol, promiscuous sex, deafeningly loud music, and drugs? Is it possible that they use those things to distract themselves from the frightening reality of facing a life without meaning and purpose? Or is it that they use those things in a vain and futile attempt to fill the void of meaninglessness within them?"

Ouch.

This is a leadership guy, I didn't get this book at the Christian bookstore as I prefer. He'd be in the Business section of the library, not the theology aisle.

How do we help our children find meaning and purpose? Maybe we should start with ourselves, let's demonstrate this concept. This is something I know y'all are already doing. Most of my readers are foster and adoptive parents. Your letters to me demonstrate your beautiful passion for helping children as well as the accompanying frustration that may sideline, but never derail, you.

Some of y'all are teachers and incredible ones at that. There's a passion, a pretty amazing one.

An idle interest can become a consuming passion, a hobby can turn into a multi-million dollar business, and a small lawn mowing side job could make someone look into becoming an environmental designer. Who knows? Follow what you love and the money will follow.

I don't want to subsist, desultorily poking my way through the days, lukewarm and vague. I'd sooner be the big-mouth, opinionated yet red-hot on fire for getting my kids through life and into Heaven, even if that means Bible-thumpingly, Hillbilly ain't cool, yet positively determined each day to keep my kids on track just-a-mama.

And I kinda like to garden too. I'm obsessed with nutrition, I care about the environment, non-materialism, simplicity but, most importantly, my family. Stating the obvious, yet illustrating my determination.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My Magazines


In my world coffee grounds are as valuable as is the coffee. Duh. Instead of using the compost pile I'm now putting them in the worm bin and wondering why the caffeine doesn't make them hyper. My new issue of Organic Gardening has an interesting blurb regarding the fact that earthworms have now been found to contain measurable amounts of Phtalates, disinfectants, hormones and Prozac in amounts between 100 to more than 1,000 parts per billion. A robin eats 14 worms a day. We should care.

Same mag states that, "almost 60 percent of municipal solid waste in the U.S. is compostable material," anyone can compost anything compostable. Just do it. I'm ashamed of the years I claimed I was too busy with the kids and I didn't recycle. I appreciate Ms. Carr's influence on me to get back in the habit and, as such, Monica, Carolina, Grandma and Yolie's family have all followed suit, Sarah had never stopped doing so

The Trash into Trees program in Billings, Montana diverted 3.9 million pounds of newspaper and 68 tons of aluminum cans from landfills. They earned $112,060 to purchase and plant 2,151 tress in Billings. That's amazing to me.

But the really awesome news this month in Prevention Magazine trumpets what Sarah's been saying all along about good fats. "MUFAS" the monounsaturated fatty acids such as oils, nuts and seeds, avocados, olives and dark chocolate all working to reduce the accumulation of dangerous belly fat. I totally agree and interestingly enough, I've never had belly fat problem, a bigger butt for sure and heavier thighs, but never a gut. A very interesting article.

Paula's grown kids echo a huge sentiment here, the obvious difference between well water and city water. My grown daughters have been known to slurp down water at the kitchen sink, exclaiming over it's taste and hollering, "viva la agua," while it drips down their front.

Last night there wasn't a single cross word, no disobedience, complete silence at bedtime and I greatly have appreciated the lull in action. A reader out west replied to my angst over frightening folks away from adoption, "Well, if you're trying to "sell" people on adoption, I'd say you aren't the poster child. However, you do a great job of balancing out the many who do trivialize the issues you will deal with if you adopt, especially older children. I think it's better to scare away the faint of heart than put a child through an avoidable disruption.

And, for many of us, your adventures are ones we've taken already, or have tickets for. I certainly prefer to travel in a group. It makes the trip more enjoyable, and safer.

God will use whatever ends up on your blog. Thankfully, He has ways of blinding us to the things we don't need to know. I appreciate your candor."

Blinding us? I absolutely agree to that. Each time I adopted another sibling group I'd conveniently forgotten how hard it had been with my other children. I think maybe that's when or how God finally made it clear to me that I was finished adopting. I no longer had the emotional energy to start over with another sibling group, I needed everything I had to continue with my children and to conserve what I'd need later with my grandchildren.

As for disruptions? Sometimes they are necessary. I've seen children disrupt here in America and end up in families that were super experienced in their issues; families that may not have been able to afford a China adoption but later ended up with children from there. In AAN I've several times matched families and children from disruptions but I've also encountered many children so disturbed that psychiatric residential centers were the only option. That's OK too as in their originating country there was no such care available.

I disrupted a child of mine once who ended up in a treatment facility for eight years, another child who stayed five years in a state mental hospital in Texas only to eventually return to our family and bomb ferociously. Joey, now in jail, at least has a family he can call his own, but he can't come visit us for the foreseeable future. He's been gone 13 months from here and only now am I beginning to heal from the damage he'd done to us.

I've made it clear to everyone that I don't have answers. I have experience and opinions, trials and tribulations, fun times and amazing relationships with my children but it has been a battle, no a war for their souls, for their futures and everything I've ever attempted to do has been in their best interests and with love in my heart. Sometimes with fire in my eyes and a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, sometimes with pure joy or abject fear, it's soooooo never been easy.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Housekeeping Notes


Tommy, Kortney and Baby Yolie spent the day with me. Running out of Office Depot I caught sight of a man I thought I knew and I almost ran into a pole, clanking my hard head, but amusing my grandchildren. Dog if Chuck's parents didn't happen upon me right then witnessing my goofiness out in public. At least I'd put on clean pjs, three stinking days in my other ones drove me to the shower this morning, the dogs wouldn't even hang with me.

Last week I messed up the link to Sharon's email group. It is TheFoundationForLargeFamilies@yahoogroups.com.

Also CJB, a reader suggested, "The other idea is one that works very well for us: whenever we have a customer service complaint, we first ask who we are talking to, how to spell their names etc. and explain that we take notes for our records. We also
note the time and date of the call. When someone realizes that they will be
on record, they seem to be ever so much more helpful. If that fails, we ask
for the customer service department manager and state our case, naming the
party that did not help us on the specific date and time."

Next time Sear's crosses me I'll do this, I like this idea.

I'm also now linking Amanda's blog, she's the mom of 21 children that I met at FFLF years ago. Another adoption specialist also has one that I'm now linking as well.



I want to link Devin also, mama to 6 kids and the owner of this decorated light fixture.

Your Logical Future?

Blasting this song when it came on the radio this morning, driving the kids to school and singing in my caterwauling voice, the song ended and I said I was gonna back up and hear it again. "From 1990! That was 4Him," blared the radio announcer provoking Fabian to guffaw, "Have at it, Mom, back this van up 17 years."

A nice thought anyway, I'd have changed a lot of things, never would have married the second time, bought way more land, and I also would have better appreciated how fast time flies.

Javy, only 14, bemoaned it yesterday in therapy with Pepe. Eighth grade just started and now it's almost over, he actually complained.

Boy don't I know it.

I need to thank Sarah out loud for buying me this John Bevere book. Yes, it is all you said it'd be. 25 years ago I literally remember ET and People Magazine starting up and I'd remarked, "there can't be enough stuff to keep crap like that going," but I was totally wrong, it has mushroomed into a billion dollar industry and created a world of idolatry.

Our daughters worldwide have terrible body images, all preteens and teens so obsessed with their looks, and the progress of women seems to have ground to a halt. Yes, now we are approaching equal pay for equal work but we're totally disrespected by men, thought of as 'b@#$%es' and 'hos', that's the popular music of today and I keep fighting my kids about filling their minds with such negativity. Not on my watch, folks.

A lady emailed me last night with this question and I want to address it here as it is classic: "... just adopted a 15 year old girl. She has lived with us for about 10 months. She has been a very sweet girl. Not a lot of major issues. Things have been really good but it seems like the last month she has totally turned for the worse. She told us last night that she didn't want to be here. I heard someone say that you need to reassure her that no one can take her back that she is here to stay. Does this happen sometimes after a adoption is final? She has been in foster care for 6-8 years. She acted like she really wanted us to adopt her."

This truly is Adoption 101, this is so common and again I need to thank our social worker here who taught me so much. Her favorite saying to me for decades has been, "Cindy, stop being logical." I'd try to logically reason out a problem such as, "You'd think they'd be grateful to have a family."

All y'all know it has taken my hard head so very long to get it. Duh Cindy. Testing Behaviors.

Now that this woman's daughter has been finalized, it's likely that her low self-esteem issues are so severe that she'll make the mother "pay" for her perceived stupidity for adopting someone like her. Therapy is a must, non-negotiable, and even then this child may bolt at some point when the mother-child relationship seems so emotionally threatening. Bottom line in her mind: If my own birth mom left, then why won't you?

Prove it Mom.

As a mom I'm slowly comprehending that a lifetime of proof is needed. Here I am with adopted children in their 30s and, at times, we're still navigating those polluted waters. That's not necessarily very encouraging but that's our life. It is what it is. Again my faith sustains me, the fact that God called me, He'll equip me to do all this.

Another mother commented that reading my posts prepares her for her future with adopted children. Other mamas call it a parallel existence. I'm afraid, at times, that I'm too frightening?

Sorry. I also hope to be encouraging as I share my pride in my children's progress.

On a lighter (?) note, we have mice in the house again. They can extricate peanut butter from the mousetraps so Fabian set a rat trap last night and we caught a good sized mouse. These field mice, while cute, aggravate me with their little turds everywhere. Like feces smearing isn't enough of a tribulation for me? The vermin gotta get in the act too?

After setting the trap Fabian amused himself for awhile by throwing objects at it, tripping it with a loud bang and scaring the snot each time out of Carolina who made me an atole before bed. "Is it sweet?" I'd asked suspiciously. My stomach crawls at the thought of drinking anything sweet. I don't mind chewing a sweet, but drinking sugary things make me barf. She served me a totally unsweetened version that I shared with Sabrina. It was out of this world delicious.

I'd made spinach lasagna for dinner with tomatoes from my garden that I'd frozen. I ate three servings.

Got everyone to school without incident, 21 degrees and I had to remind them to wear jackets. "But I'm not cold," each one protested.

"Well I am, so wear your jackets," I logically responded.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Golden Boys


"I'm your golden boy, ain't I?" he frequently asks because one day I marveled at his golden skin and amber eyes. In middle school now, wanting shaggy hair and a sullen expression, thankfully he still smiles and is goofy around here where there are no girls to impress.

Last night I told another son on the phone that he too was golden, as was yet another who'd also never been arrested for anything. We call that progress in our world.

"I don't want to be your golden boy," he fussed, oppositional and looking for an argument. Like that's the real issue that he won't let me blog about when I truly want prayer over him for his safety. I'll just pray harder then.

Whatever.

This ain't 1-800-Pickafight, maybe I should be a toll call; a reality check. See why I have phone PSTD? It always seems like folks are calling me about problems like the schools, psychiatric facilities, the police, etc.

I fight being burned out, I fight it constantly, always looking for answers and ways to help my darlings.

I drove two hundred and something miles today for a therapy session for a hospitalized kid who finally has started expressing his deep anger at what his birth mom did to his birth father. Murder isn't something one easily forgives. My son punched out a kid there, gave him a black eye and later processed his anger. I pointed out that it was fairly tough for an old lady like me to live with someone that angry, someone who constantly lashes out.

Sent this link to a video about children from foster care, it's on target and I'm so over wanting any kind of acknowledgement of gratitude, just stop emotionally lashing out at me would be enough. How much pain should I, could I absorb in order to make their playing field level?

I tiptoe through hazardous and treacherous minefields of 39 children's unique and precarious emotions, I've celebrated some amazing times with them and some tough, tough years. I do need to distance myself from grown folks who want to get drunk and do drugs, or to break laws, or those who mean only harm to me. I'm sorry I can't fix everything; I'm feeling rather content with the amount of therapy I've put into place over the years, but later when grown kids make bad choices, they've got to deal with it. I've had several other adult professionals tell me this recently; it's something I need to hear because I don't want to burn out.

Earlier I'd been reading something aloud to Big Joe in The Bible, a verse I'd read many times over the years but didn't understand until yesterday. Sarah had told me about spiritual maturity - we were talking about Christian music - but it applied to my Ah-Ha moment. Probably more shockingly is Joe and I are both reading John Bevere books at the same time. I'm just glad I lived to see the day...

Unable to sleep last night, tossing and turning, I have 18 Golden Boys, some are just kinda tarnished at the moment.

A birth child in a family of 18 delivered a washing machine here yesterday afternoon, becoming Sarah's newest hero - an example of a survivor who's heart is amazing still after everything. He's my hero too, I'd have hugged him in pure T gratitude but I just don't hug other women's husbands. I just stood there and babbled in my own version of shock and awe.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Light


Two years ago tonight I cried as hard as I've ever cried when Sarah, Preston, Edith, George and I held and said good-bye to Bailey, their baby who didn't make it. I'm not necessarily dwelling on it but I'm certainly thinking about it and remembering Bailey today. I'm praying that Sarah can make it through today as well, the pain will never really go away, it only abates somewhat.

Hazel Bay, pretty and playful now, here with Ray Ray helps us get past this day.

My Sabrina will be 13 very soon and that preteen brattiness is creeping up on us, I discovered she had an innocuous My Space page, something I don't allow and she lost her computer privileges for a spell here. She'd written she was 15 years old, an invitation to trouble. Her innate level of sweetness and sunshine was enough to spur her to bring her sobbing self up to my room late last night, apologizing, sniveling and wanting to get back on track. She's even been squabbling with her best friend/niece/confidant Baby Yolie and they'd written "I'm sorry" notes to each other.

Sweetie, these are the worst years of your life what with the uncertainty and meanness of other teenage girls. I promise when you get past this, you'll see life and choices better, opportunities will fall in your lap. Your maturity will guide you, just trust me.

Amy sent the following to me this morning and it certainly spoke to where I am with a couple of my grown children at the moment:

"Nothing is more debilitating to your life experience than to care about something you can’t do anything about. And you can’t do anything about your adult children.

You can want better for them, and maybe even begin to provide something for them...
...but in the long run, you cannot do anything about someone else’s negative vibration other than hold them in the best light you can mentally.

See them as happy and prosperous in your mind. Never dwell on the negative, as that makes negative things happen in your own life. And it is not your job to fix anyone else's vibration.

Don't let someone else's negative vibration affect your positive, happy vibration. Worrying about someone else's negativity won't change it. You can model a happy and loving vibration, but the only person who can change a vibration is the person who is putting it forth.

And sometimes, distance makes that much more possible than being up close to them."

Yet another one deliberately made a choice that would hurt me accidentally on purpose; very transparent to me, such deeply repressed pain in my children spun out into their minds as "I want to show others how deeply I hurt so I'll hurt them also. I'll show them how I feel on the inside." Sub-consciously punishing me for what their birth parents did to them.

Sarah and I, deep into John Bevere's books, especially A Heart Ablaze, where we're struggling to remove ourselves as much as possible from the world; from gossip, bad attitude, me and my dumb hurt feelings, knowing that we're working for a greater reward at the end of our lives. Keeping God and family as priority and trying to help others, loving and forgiving, keeping each other accountable.

Yolie pointed out to me today along the lines of how much we know what God expects of us, how we who know Him so well, we still stumble and struggle, how much harder for those who don't know him at all. The tragic loss of a young movie actor, no one knows what really happened yet his friends speak of his inner emptiness and loss of direction. So terribly sad and now there's another fatherless child.

I called Sears on Saturday to tell them my under warranty washer has broken AGAIN.

"You don't have a warranty," they insisted.

"Yes I do, I'll show it to you."

This happens every time, they apologize and promise to put it in the computer and never do so. "We''ll come Wednesday."

Today, Wednesday, they call and say, We can't come until sometime tomorrow," after I cleared today for them.

"I have 20 something children here and we need to wash clothes, "I nearly hollered.

"We hear stuff like that all the time," he sarcastically retorted.

"Oh no you didn't just call me a liar!"

Click. I hung up fuming, but that's not gonna get the wash done and dadgum if one of the dishwashers didn't gush water all over the kitchen floor last night plus the toilet in my bathroom is leaking around the seal, making me shut off the water to it.

So my sweet friend, Jeanne, sent me some hope:

"No matter what situations life throws at you... no matter how long and treacherous your journey may seem... Remember, there is always a light at the end of tunnel"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


So emotionally whooped from all I absorb, I didn't initially hear my alarm clock this morning so Tony helpfully shut it off, waking me up 30 minutes later.

"I don't need that kind of help," I hollered, running room to room, telling the kids they only had 20 minutes instead of their usual hour to get ready, and somehow we were out the door on time, then allowing me 20 minutes to run to Sarah's house and drink coffee with her, her dad and her other brother, Josh. He sat on the sofa next to Sarah and their resemblance shocked even me, everyone always says Sarah looks like me, but when she's with her father's side of the family, their resemblance is strong.

Fabian had a DJJ appointment at 8:30, he was with me and after initially greeting Sarah's kinfolk, he stared rigidly at the cartoons Ray was watching, uncomfortable because he feels Sarah is his sister, seeing her look like other folks is unnerving.

After getting Fabian to school, my Sunday school teacher and another friend, Merle, came over for an excellent prayer covering over me and mine, giving me a deep sense of relief and comfort.

The evidence supervisor hasn't released my old laptop, he needed to talk first with the arresting officer and he too told me that several keys were missing from the computer. Jeepers. Both my sons have bonded out. Neither have, of course, called me, both are angry with me about their issues that I'd worked with them on for years. Guys, I'm the Mama, not a magician, y'all need to work with me, not against me as I'm on your side when you're law-abiding.

A couple weeks here of cold dreary weather, gloomy and oppressive, I need sunshine and warmth, dirt on my fingers, garden time and earthy smells to revive me again.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Midnight Phone Call

A phone ringing at night can nearly give me paroxysms and cardiac arrest. I stumbled to the phone only to hear, "This is the Sheriff's Department." He'd called me by name and my first thought was in regards to Yolie's car wreck a dozen years ago when it was a female dispatcher who'd called me. Second thought was I hope this isn't worse.

"Is your stolen laptop missing any keys on it?" he questioned me.

Huh? He's not calling me about a kid? In my sleep fogged brain, my heart was pounding so hard I thought I'd misheard him, and I immediately and blurrily wondered what happened to the keys. How would they have come off? I'd been bereft that I couldn't nerd up on Dec 31st, adding up all my expenses of the year and generating a new and improved budget spreadsheet for '08 based on figures from the past year, projecting ahead as I'm wont to do so often.

"Thank GOD you're not calling about a kid!" I gushed using an exclamation mark without even thinking it through.

But wait a minute Big Mama, didn't you think a kid had stolen it? I tried to drag my words back in my mouth but I knew a kid had been arrested yesterday for a DUI. Wait, that kid doesn't steal. What's going on?

"Do you mind giving me the password?" the investigator asked. I did so and he called me right back, telling me that my computer was found in the next county.

"Did one of my kids have it?"

"Can't tell you, call this number on Tuesday, it's an ongoing investigation."

"Why are the police not working on MLK Day?" I asked. Like this was my kid trying to get out of work. Always suspicious, always trying to circumvent a problem. I knew this particular investigator was snickering at my overt bossiness.

"The evidence room clerk won't be there, the police will be working." He likely withheld the stupid adjective.

So I lay there wondering if I should start calling grown kids, narrow it down again by my usual process of elimination or try and go back to sleep. Sleep won out.

But now I know whodunnit. I found out this morning and it's who I suspected.

That's not my issue as I blog right now. My first thought was how humiliating it is to have two sons in the same jail...not even the two sons I'd had in the same jail two years ago. Two different sons now breaking the law, I despair over this, kids who've always gone to church, kids who've been taught right from wrong by a strait-laced mama who is boldly clear about morals.

I'd received yet another comment about my darling ingrate post, this one from across the world, that ministered to me deeply this morning. Y'all's comments and emails sustain me as well during these crisis times. I know that we live parallel lives, our struggles are common, our heartbreaks are massive and we sure do seem to cry a lot don't we? Frustrations mount and we wonder why on earth we sacrifice our good years like this.

As usual, reading The Bible sustains me. This morning in Matthew - the least of these - oh yeah I get it. I've read this chapter all my life yet it spoke loudly to me this morning.

42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

And from a comment:

"It's high time I left a message of encouragement on your blog. HI cindy, you are an inspiration - I love reading your blog, the realness of it, the no-holds-barred openness - keep it up. And that goes for your chin too! When God calls you, He also equips you to do the work (sometimes we have to dig down real deep to find it though!!) I am only beginning this journey of ministering to foster children in our slice of paradise of the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. Keep posting so I have somewhere I can go for answers when I've had a tough day. I reckon God has a place for us in heaven where all of those who were called on earth to work with 'the least of these', those whom the world says are nothing but we know are treasured jewels in His eyes, will meet and chat and laugh and rejoice. I look forward to meeting you there!"

I have several sons who are locked up right now. I'm heartbroken and shocked. My first thought is that I defensively feel that I raised them better than this, they've all been taught right from wrong constantly. Yet so many have chosen to break the law just as they constantly broke my rules and school rules as if consequences never existed.

This is going to cost them their jobs, vehicles likely, they'll have criminal records and jail time. How do I teach children to not steal? To not lie? To be HONEST and MORAL?

I'm discouraged, blown away by this turn of events. I'm punched down, but not out. I'll pick up my crybaby self and go on, use this to help my other kids and be dadgum glad I've chosen to be a recluse because I still have enough false and empty pride to feel the stares and pointing fingers from folks who wonder aloud, "That's what she gets for thinking she could make a difference. What an idiot." It hurts yet I still strongly know that I can make a difference and I will do so. I still love my kids.

I still believe that in the end, they'll all make it to Heaven. I really believe that, I have a very strong assurance and source of inner strength. I really appreciate all y'all's prayers and support.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

40 Years Ago


I'm pretty perturbed at yet another dumb butt mistake a grown kid has made. My friend Robin told me, "you're so secretive," which I see as a compliment because I feel as if I vomit it all out here, spewing torrents of anguish at times. I told her that I walk through minefields daily which is the truth. I don't necessarily need to say who screwed up, just that it happened and we're dealing with it. Usually I've already either told my other kids or assumed someone else here had done so but Daniel cracked me up, a week after the fact, "Mom's who's pregnant?" like the process of elimination wouldn't have worked? He was simply too afraid that it was a younger grown kid, thankfully it wasn't. (Jesse, I'll call you with today's details.)

Suffice it to say, I detest alcohol with the same passion a prohibitionist may once have felt. My kids think I'm old enough to remember that era certainly. Today Sabrina asked me if Grandma and Grandpa were alive during he civil rights marches.

Duh, girlfriend. Although I was born in Atlanta, several miles from Dr. King's church, I lived in DC during the Poor People's March, the riots, and I clearly remember hanging up the wall phone in the kitchen when I heard about MLK's assassination, the culmination of a tough era. Eight miles away during the riots I remember my fear and my doomsday feelings then about society before the Disco Era sucked out our common sense, that was in the 70s when I hightailed it back to Georgia where I always felt more comfortable, landing in the county in which I still live except for that one fun year in New Orleans.

I don't even remember if we had a TV back then, I know I had a transistor radio. I lived in DC then when the Kennedys were shockingly killed, staying up all night with my parents, my sister and two brothers to file past JFK's body lying in state. I'm old as dirt, kid. My father, then in the Virginia Methodist Conference before they were the United Methodists, preaching against the Vietnam War to a congregation with pentagon workers. There were no black people either in our church or in our schools, this was in the 1960s, now coming a long way forward we have black family members today.

You think the 1960s didn't change the world? You would if you'd been born in the 50s.

I've never seen alcohol benefit anyone. My children all came from alcoholic backgrounds, they should never pick up the first drink...ever. Yolie told me, "that's letting our birth parents win out if we drink or do drugs."

So now I have a kid with some fines, some heavy duty fines, some jail time it seems and a nasty addiction to crawl out from under, he's ignoring the rest of the family, feeling we don't understand. He's right, I don't understand but I do love him.

I bet he's wishing he'd have listened to me, been in church with me this morning and turned his life around. I pray that he's hit rock bottom now and that he will aim forward once again.

Rewind back to the '60s, I turned my back on God also, feeling estranged from any faith, empty from the Methodist tenets and consumed with society's problems at the time. I came back to God seriously in 1982, powered and strong. My friend once remarked on what seemed odd to her, that such a strong and independent girl like me would lean so heavily on faith and in such a conservative church denomination. Another Duh, that's where I get my strength.

My kids think I'm just an old-fashioned, never done anything nor been anywhere stick-in-the-mud hillbilly who digs in her garden for fun and obsessively tinkers around with her redneck rain guage (a mud puddle). I'll not do anything to ever disabuse them of that notion. As I watched late night TV documentaries on the Civil Rights, even my mind could hardly take it all in, from where the South was then to nowadays.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fat Farts


Our major snow event, "a classic Southern snow storm," has resulted in snow falling steadily for three hours yet immediately melting as the earth is warm. Suits me, but my kids are having a collective cow which reminded me that I hadn't finished reading this book. His web page claims 10,000 vegan recipes. Becoming a vegetarian, this former cattle rancher immediately lost 130pounds.

I don't even know what a pot roast is, I've never purchased meat, I cooked it once at a church function to be helpful with everyone laughing at the longtime vegetarian flipping hamburgers.

I watched The Science of Obesity on National geographic and they showed an MRI of a woman my size and one of a larger woman. The much larger woman had 30 pounds of waste languishing in her digestive system. I think that's the key to everything. If one doesn't eat fiber, one blows up. i don't necessarily think that larger folks eat more, I just think it's the wrong stuff. Likely I eat more, but it runs through me quickly as it is fruits and vegetables, grains and beans.

"Wrapped around a head of lettuce are seven words that tell you pretty much everything you need to know about healthful eating. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants," which everyone knows comes from a famous omnivore.

The older I get, the gladder I am to be a veggie. I put 12 pounds of pinto beans on the stove for tonight with all the kids coming through the kitchen inhaling and hollering their excitement at tacos for dinner.

I'm glad to recognize that I'm not an agoraphobic, I'm a recluse. An ingrate recluse at that, as I'm certain I was never appreciative to my mother or for my mother...so how can I expect that of my children?

I started reading The Omnivore's Dilemma quite awhile ago but Sarah paralyzed me by not letting me underline stuff since it's her book, giving me post-it notes to use instead. Then she called me 'fat' and said if I blogged that, she'd say she said 'farted.' Like that'd bother me? OK I'm a fat fart but at least I'm reclusive, glad she lives on the same dirt road so I can maintain my reclusiveness. In merely 19 more years, she can be a fat fart too.

Pancakes

I was the only parent available to work the concession stand last night so several teachers and administrators joined me during rushes which was nice as I'd retired from this particular school and knew most of them well. I met a new teacher who told me she'd been reading my blog, that she'd graduated with Marcela.

I mentioned that I wrote for adoptive parents mainly, sometimes I feel as if we're holding hands across the wireless networks, commiserating with each other, understanding each other as only folks in these particular trenches could do. I think about y'all during the day, wondering about certain kids you've told me about, getting me mentally and briefly out of my own situations.

I love it that local teachers read my blogs also, it helps them to understand my children as I explain, but never excuse, their peculiar, quirky behaviors. In my pro blog I'd written about schools, how difficult it is for older adopted children and the comments I'd received are more blog ideas for me.

Yesterday's post on ingrates struck a raw nerve with y'all, we all live with kids like this and one reader mentioned one of her birth children had said, "well that's what Mom's are supposed to do." Hmmm, that hits me. That is what we're supposed to do. Period. So I suppose I can extrapolate that if our adopted children, at least, can come to that same conclusion or at least recognize that fact, then maybe we will have helped the next generation. Maybe that's what we're here for? Or am I merely burning empty calories by constantly grasping for elusive straws?

Many of my older children have said how shocked they were at times to hear my politically conservative, behavior redirection words coming out of their own mouths like the hillbilly woman who raised them. Heck I didn't even think they'd been listening but I've been told by them that they hear that Southern countrified Mama loop coursing through their minds quite often. OK, I find that to be validating.

But why do I have this need to be validated? Maybe it's because I read Search for Significance when I was young and impressionable as opposed to being a bossy, loud-mouthed, over-bearing, unhip fifty-something old bat? Whatever, I'm happiest now at this age and at this place in my life, doing what I'm supposed to do even when every single darling of mine is fighting against my best efforts.

And all y'all know that I could be despairing of everything by the next post. I don't blow with the prevailing winds, but rather I ride the choppy waves of everyone's moodiness and issues. Some days are infinitely harder than others, some are nearly rewarding, but basically I need to attempt each day to set the tone, to not let the little buggers drag me down in their morass of churning, tumultuous feelings.

And get this...we Georgia yoyos might get two inches of snow today, a rarity - my dogs and my kids will equally go bonkers, mud'll be strowed all over this house. We don't have gloves or hats and our county has no snow plows. Heckfire, our back door is hanging open 90% of the time. I'm praying it doesn't become an ice storm which will take out our electricity.

And LilyBelle just made me heart shaped pancakes. Cool. (Don't I sound stupid saying that word?)

Friday, January 18, 2008

My Darling Ingrates

I think one way I'm able to hang on to any shred of sanity in a house where I'm so often considered the enemy, is because I truly get it that I'll not be appreciated. There'll be no gratitude nor appreciation from traumatized children, it's not in their repertoire of emotions, their frame of refence doesn't include acknowledging anything. Entitlement attitudes seem to reign supreme, coming from a welfare mentality, if I can at least get them past the gimmes into a work ethic, I believe I'll feel better about all the years I've poured into this family of mine.

I didn't adopt children expecting a thank you from them, I did it because I wanted to help. At one point in this journey I may have thought consideration of my feelings might be minor league important in some scheme of things. My heart has hardened over the years in that the barbs slung at me hardly begin to pierce it anymore. Is that your best shot? I'll think to myself, grinning and bearing up under it.

I did this purely because God called me to do so. He's the only one I need to impress. If he's happy, then I'm happy. This thought came to me last night when two snippy preteens were too cool to help me with the laundry, when some sons were irritating the tar out of me blatantly misbehaving and I had a blinding flash of jealousy about people who don't live like this. Folks who live in homes where raging issues don't spill out everywhere. Then Sarah gave me confirmation this morning in exactly the same words I felt I'd heard the night before.

Missionaries get disillusioned, deported, locked up and live in danger; some don't make it through. God didn't promise anyone that it'd be easy. Everyone has stuff to deal with, everyone. This is my stuff and if I can distance myself from the fury my children contain within them, I'll make it through also and I'll be satisfied becuaes I will have done what I was supposed to do whether the kids like it or not.

I'm not busting my butts for these rude ingrates, I'm working my rear end off for God, and me loving the kids is just a bonus for me.
Monica and Tony each turn 24 and 12 today, something they've both been reminding me about all week, all month actually. Tony wants me to check him out of school today, this 100th day of the school year, and take him out to lunch to a sandwich place. Ok, darling but first Tabby has to get two more shots, I have a ton of recyclables in the garage to tote and this evening I'm working the concession stand again. The cheerleader coach emailed a plea for an extra parent this evening to do the second shift. Hmmm, always feeling like The Extra Parent, I volunteered, I was doing first shift anyway and I have to stay and wait on Sabrina to finish up, might as well work.

Sabrina, nearly 13 and Mayra, 14, caught lying to me last night. Lovely way to end the evening after which I'd spent with Marcela, Cristy, Monica and Deysi, who were here for supper.

It is now 6:28 in the morning, two minutes until I wake 'em all up for school, my house still silent...I'll have to blog the rest later.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

MY Morals

It snowed hard for about two hours last night, my silly kids went running out the doors in shorts and T-shirts only to run screaming back in, "It's cold!" Duh. Some have only seen snow once or twice in their lives and the ground was warm so it didn't stick at all. They bundled back up only to slog around in mud basically, my laundry room floor is full of last night's wet dirty clothes cast off by the frigid adventurers.

Sarah'd tried to wake Ray up as he'd complained that day that he'd never seen snow in his whole life, he didn't see it last night either, preferring his pillow, blanket and the La-La Land of Nod.

I had a fifth grade meeting, a third grade breakfast plus a speech IEP meeting, all accomplished within the same school first thing this morning, all of us in agreement for this year and the next. My fifth graders are all smart, good readers and fairly well-behaved yet they're not doing well, lazy and preoccupied, all three crying in the meeting knowing they'd disappointed me and the teachers they truly love and admire.

Between Matthew McConaughey's bragging that he and his love have made a baby, demonstrating a lack of commitment which burns my butt as I try and parent children of the non-committed...Jeepers boy, be a role model, yet I see Diane Keaton saying the F word on GMA, and a young actor died of either drugs or drinking, claiming he's sober, yet was drinking. And then we straight-laced, "uptight", moral parents try and teach our children to make good choices. Fabian talked to me all morning about what teenagers see and are exposed to, he was especially irked at hearing this news story.

So while the rest of the world is attempting to get away with sub-standard behavior, I'm trying to keep my kids accountable to a Higher Power, God, and a higher standard of living; it's both uphill and frustrating, yet I won't quit in my efforts, 'cause my Bible tells me so.

And for those who think I'm narrow-minded and judgemental, I can't help what folks think, this is my iron-clad, deeply held belief system and I also feel strongly that someday I'll be judged by God and I want to be as humanly certain as possible that I've done what He called me to do. I'm not trying to convert my readers, believe however you think that you should, I'm simply saying how I feel.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Kale, Taters and Onions

Sarah blogged about what she fed me for lunch today, it was awesome and just what I needed then after going to the dentist.

Getting Up Each Day

Although I walked around with red and swollen eyes all day yesterday within five minutes of hitting publish on such a soggy whah-whah crybaby moment, in my whiplash existence, I learned that I was getting a new son-in-law and my 17th grandchild, due in September. I could hardly absorb the news and within the next hour a son had called me with temporary good news regarding his situation. This is not a kid in trouble but rather a grown man with a grown-up unavoidable situation.

Emailing back and forth with my Idaho imaginary friend, we're living similar lives, she'd said mine makes her feel normal, I'd brightly replied, "that's gotta suck," but we discussed how we live now with the almost containable rages yet when the children hit adulthood it becomes so much more complicated, their issues mushroom and implode. I totally agree, at least this is what I'm discovering also.

Process wrote a great post about rages, I'm chewing on it and agreeing, she's taking a post-grad course in it, we're living in it. My best friend was over last night and we were, as usual, verbally grappling with what all we absorb from our children, two of our sons seem to be living parallel lives with opposite yet similar experiences. She, my friend, has advanced graduate degrees in social work and an adopted family at home to give her the baptism by fire life.

I always have Yolie's opinion and experience, knowledge and comprehension of what's really happening and then there's Sarah to ground me. The Bible tells us, "in wisdom there is counsel," and I take that to heart.

I'll continue to seek help, resources and advice. I'll remind myself that I didn't just fall splat off the turnip truck, I too finished grad school two centuries ago, I used to be a professional, a career woman with some sort of a normal life, now bottled up at home, seemingly at least in spiritual warfare and the constant battle to help my children survive and thrive, to know now how rewarding it can be since I plan to hang in there as I've always done.

And this worm farm of mine is way cool except I'm certain I'm aggravating the worms with my constant digging around to see how much they've done.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Gone to Church

Both the acts of blogging and gardening are therapeutic interventions for me, stress reducers and often a fresh way to look at the challenges that bombard me daily. I can't blog everything, neither free time nor personal privacy issues allow me to do so.

It is a big DUH when one is a mother that one has challenges, it doesn't matter how many children one has, there will be grief-filled moments and mind-boggling highs at times, the routines continue, the hits keep on coming yet somehow it all balances out eventually.

Just as Claudia mentioned today, in her earlier life before she adopted troubled children, she had no interaction with juvenile authorities. Sharon pontificated on the blame game, how the blame lands in the lap of the adopted parent for the crimes committed against the child by the birth parents or the foster care system, so today I did what I should have done months ago, maybe years ago.

I went to my pastors. I drove up to the church, went in and unloaded, cried 18 bucketfuls of tears, used all Martha's kleenex practically and got prayed over like I needed, so much so that I could feel the weight lifting off of me even as they spoke the words to God.

I sobbed and blubbered for 30 minutes, blew snot everywhere and now I have a big, red swollen face to show for it. Sometimes I hate to allow myself the luxury of tears because it seems then I can't stop them.

I have simply had some very heavy loads, blows, knock-outs and personal tragedies to cope with. It doesn't always help that I stuff my feelings down, knowing I have to carry on, keep our family calm and on track while fall-out and consequences rain down upon us seemingly on a constant basis.

I don't want to become depressed again, I won't let it sneak up on me like it did last time, but I'm slogging through some serious stuff here. Everytime I think about what my son is going through I either cry or want to cry, he doesn't want it talked about, but he did allow me to unload at church. I sobbed over several sons actually, stuff I'll never say much about.

On the up side, Fabian continues to do well. They asked warily me at church, "Does Sarah know all this?"

All of my kids know all of this. Secrets in our family? Are you kidding me? The bad news we heard on Friday snaked through the phone lines before I'd finished my concession stand duties, I'd told The Bubbas the minute I'd gotten to their school to work, immediate prayers in action. Normal Vincent Peale callled them popcorn prayers, the kind that percolate through us all day, God hears them.

Martha reminded me of what I needed to remember, to keep my eyes on and for what i was called to do. I knew all this, I needed to hear it though almost as confimation while I slog on through.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Eeeech

Somedays I am just too ill-tempered to type anything, walking around all morning snarling about events and the way I perceive I've been treated at times. I went over to Sarah's house to emotionally unload only to be fed a deep chocolate pie with crushed walnuts as the crust. I'm notorious for never eating the pie crusts, now I know why; nothing will ever measure up to what I ate today.

When I'm upset, kids feed me. Kind of like coaxing a mountain lion into compacency, I'm lucky they then don't throw a sack over my head and tie me up.

Both Mayra and Tabby came home from school sick as dogs, hmmm no one was sick over the weekend, but give them a Monday morning and it's like the plague has set in.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Blahs

The down side of our unusually warm weather is that the rhizomes of the crab grass continue to grow, infesting garden beds with their claw like tentacles but at the same time providing me with the therapeutic benefits of weeding.

Tabby and I went out to the big back garden yesterday, soon joined by Yolie, Cindy Mae and CJ wearing white shoes that provoked jokes and a discussion here, even Chuck remarking, "See, Cindy isn't saying anything in his defense," about the shoes. A location joke certainly around here that now doesn't make any sense in blogging it.

Daniel and Lauren came by also, sitting on crates in the garden while I weeded.

Today getting dressed for church, or to go anywhere seemed like such a hassle, it just seems easier to stay home. I'm emotionally burdened at the moment, worried and distressed about a child of mine. Maybe I'm in danger of becoming agoraphobic, but just staying here seems comforting...the world seems to be too overwhelming. I'd rather just do the laundry, cook meals and be with my children.

We did get it together to get to church although I was called out of Sunday School to deal with Paloma's usual ugliness to anyone she perceives is getting positive attention, not ever comprehending that she too is showered with compliments when deserved. Two and two only equals three in her mind.

I'm a little too ill-tempered to be blogging today I can tell. I think I'll go play with my worm farm, it is so cool and I have Ms. Carr to hold responsible for that, she'd piqued my interest in vermiculture.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sharon's Group

I have no idea how many years it has been, or how I stumbled upon the BigFamilies@yahoogroups.com, but that's how I originally met Sharon and her internet group of adoptive moms of large families. I know that's how I met Claudia, Theresa and Paula (all linked here on the sidebar) as well, my dear friend in Idaho and quite a few others.

Sharon now maintains the FoundationforLargeFamilies@yahoogroups.com which I'm either on digest or no mail, depending on how busy I am at home, but that too had been a huge area of support for me over the years.

Yes, I have my grown children for support and help, but as Sarah phrased it this morning, "You don't have any other adoptive moms in the family who truly understand," and she's so right. Our planet is so different from the real world that most folks reside in so normally.

Yesterday I finally met Cindy Adams, a mom of 10, from North Carolina that's been my imaginary friend since before CW was born, 11 or so years ago. We had such a small window of opportunity to meet, she's in Atlanta for just a few days and I'm on such a short leash, that we hardly had an hour or so before I had to go do my concession stand time. It was like having a best friend walk into my house; a truly understanding, common ground and like-minded prayer partner.

She was here when I got some crappy news from a grown kid, my face slammed shut after I told her what was going on, I went to the concession stand later knowing I had a couple of busy hours in which I could work through it in my mind, my shift ended up being three nice, mindless hours in which school kids bought pizza slices and drinks, ten of my own kids with me at the game, watching Sabrina cheer and then they had Middle School Madness at the Rec dept, keeping everyone busy until ten at night.

It was at the school from which I'd retired, the Principal is the father of one of Daniel's best friends, I did tell him what I'd learned that afternoon. The funny thing is I'd never done concession duty, never, in years and years of having kids play school sports. Once I'd wondered aloud to this man's wife, Crysty, why she seemed to be working in the stand so much. "Oh, Cindy, we knew you had your hands full with the children, we covered for you."

I was dumbfounded, so oblivious that I'd not even noticed this, I had a lapful of babies back then and I've appreciated that from her ever since. I had a brief moment to express that to her last night.

I woke up this morning heavy-hearted, wondering how much stress the human body could absorb without bursting, then as usual in my Quiet Time, reading in the Gospels, an assurance and a promise, words of comfort and the reminder that my family is, as usual, struggling to remain in the Will of God, doing what we need to do, coping and plowing forward, we'll get through this as well.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Plumping Up

Glad we're recycling so much, it's piling up quickly, but the recycling centers are convenient and on my way to get groceries. The last few mornings it seems, I've flown out of here so rapidly, slinging stuff everywhere, trying to get it all together and everything accomplished.

Just as Paula blogged how many of her children will grow up soon, I feel the same here, in eight years or so I'll have very few children at home and when I think about how fast the last couple of decades have flown, I want to both savor the moments and keep my head above water.

I didn't have time to chew my dinner last night, Carolina had cooked pupusas and I just ate them for a late breakfast/early lunch, chubbing up though, I'm solidly 20 pounds up from two years ago.

Sabrina cheers this afternoon and it's my turn to work the concession stand for two hours, something that stresses me terribly...4-6 p.m. is when I need to get supper cooked and tend to the children. I'm recruiting Grandma, Grandpa, Monica, Carolina and Big Jose to watch the six youngest children and I'll take the rest of them to the game.

Fabian turns 16 today, still right mellow so I remain encouraged.

Sarah blogged yesterday, nutritiously chumping Ray again while doing the right thing for him as usual.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Afternoon Update on CJ

Everything piles up at once, but what'd I expect? Tony's lungs are way comprised, his birth mom was an inhalant abuser and was stone cold drunk when she delivered him. He's tiny for his age, developmentally delayed, and has several other challenges. I don't poot around when his lungs act up. Good thing too as the doctor put him on steroids and a different medication for the breathing machine. He may or may not be able to attend school tomorrow. We go through this every year.

Daniel's former foster mom took me down the hall to her bedroom in 1991, the day I met a crying just turned six year old who did not want a change, didn't want to meet me, nor move. She told me he had weak lungs, he'd had an emergency tracheotomy at one time, and that he needed special care.

He turned out to be one of my emotionally closest children and his lungs never bothered him again. As if the stark change from dry desert air to our sultry, steamy, moist air had fixed his respiratory problems, I attribute it to my love for him of course.

Tony's wheezing was scary.

We filled his prescriptions and I ran him back home to stay with Carolina and Monica so that I could get to the hospital for CJ's dental surgery which was a success until he came thrashing out of the anesthesia. Chuck's a big strong man and could hardly contain CJ's hysterical slinging and screaming, Yolie was beside herself at seeing her son so obviously distressed. Eventually, with a shot of morphine he calmed down, but it took close to an hour.

I was headed home in time to pick up Tabby and fly in my door acting as if I'd been here all day. My kids are so antsy ever knowing, thinking or believing that I'm not home where I belong...like I'll leave them too just as everyone else has done. I seem to bend over backwards to accommodate this issue but hey, how hard is it for me to stay home?

Thirteen years ago I woke up to the cutest 12 year old who'd moved in the evening before. Wearing an ill-fitting pair of green sweat pants and sweat shirt he'd smile shyly and shrug his shoulder all the way up to his ears. Jesse had dimples and beautiful teeth and he'd been put on Ritalin back in Texas. Slow moving, very deliberate in his movements and put with me, a hyper active, fast moving mama who immediately fell for him and took him off the unnecessary meds.

This anniversary date, yesterday, was shared several years later with Tony and his siblings, pictured above, and it's close enough to Elvis Presley's birthday to demand jelly doughnuts in a show of support and celebration each year.

Tony is only slightly touched by cerebral palsy, noticeable to those who know him and he struggles at times with an inability to breathe properly; wheezing fixed by albuterol.

Sometimes just taking him outside in the cold winter air will ease his problems. This morning we tried that but it was about 60 degrees at 6 a.m. "Put your head in the freezer," I barked, running to the phone to call Sarah and let her know I was coming for the breathing machine.

No answer. Must be in the shower I thought.

Fortunately I have Miriam, Carolina, Jose and my parents here so I jumped in my truck and flew to Sarah's house figuring I could bang on her windows and wake her up.

More fortuitously, her front door was unlocked and she'd just wrapped a robe around her, handing me the machine and I ran back home, yelling at everyone to get up and get dressed awhile I plugged Tony in for some relief.

Usually this does the trick but I think I'm gonna take him to the medical center.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Learning To Do the Right Thing

This whole New Year thing ain't exactly going the way I'd planned it.

Out of here at 7:15, getting my elementary kids to their early morning tutoring appointments, middle and high schoolers to their respective schools, Martin for an 8 a.m. braces appointment and Lily to her orthopedic doctor at 9. Four more errands and before I realize it, it's noon and I've still got a long list of to-dos to accomplish.

Jonathan refused to go to school once again, preferring Little Jose as his role model. Jose is in a psychiatric hospital while their two older birth brothers are both doing well in school. Three older birth siblings all applied positive peer pressure on him to absolutely no avail. Thankfully my parents are here to stay with the foot dragger so that I could get everyone else out on time. Giving an out-of-control kid 'control' over a family's time is a no-no. I can't reinforce his negative choices.

It's looking as if I'll need to start mental health services on him as well. I can't physically force a kid to go to school, even if I could, I'll get a phone call telling me he is either raging at school or refusing to do anything the teacher requires of him. If she needs to line up the kids to go to lunch and he refuses, she can't leave him alone nor make the kids miss lunch. She calls the front office, the Principal throws his weight around, and they end up calling me because seriously emotionally disturbed children can remain either obstinate or out-of-control (raging) for significant periods of time.

I understand the entire 'beyond consequences' field of thought yet life will not treat grown folks like that. The world is full of natural consequences for behavioral choices, I recommend that my children learn that connection early on or it's going to be a very crappy life in the old grey bar hotel.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Marcela's Demand For Today

Mom, Change that quote...
"Saray, Monica, Deysi and Marcela and, of course, Carolina with their combined total of 10 kids between them."

Hey, I don't have kids!!!!!!! =0
Love you,
Marcela

Belly Laugh

Hey y'all, I'm alright, just venting helps. I'm still angry but I'll get through it.

CJ has to have some outpatient surgery so I've been holding Yolie's hand, and baby Cindy Mae, through the pre-op paperwork. It's not until Thursday but Yolie's an emotional wreck, stressing and worrying.

I got my first belly laugh of the day by reading Sarah's new post. I needed that.

My other recalcitrant that didn't make it to school, ran away, returned home and is hovering all around my irritation.

I didn't blog the kicker's name as I don't want folks to not like him. Teachers read this blog, my friend Emily figured it out in a second though.

Ouch

Although the kids held it together at school yesterday, several came home clearing angling for a fight with someone. I defused a dozen situations, placated several others, yet still had to maintain law and order.

One who is my size kept picking on younger kids knowing I'd have to correct his behavior, and in his faulty reasoning, figuring he could then rage because I'd said something innocuous to him such as, "no hitting others."

I sidestepped his every combative attempt but he got me at bedtime. He refused to go to bed so I quietly left him in the hallway where he'd obstinately planted his rear end. I've learned over the years to not react, not let them push my buttons, to hope that my calmness is contagious, to not escalate a volatile situation.

I went outside to move my truck, I'd left it at the doublewide where Fabian had helped unload grass clippings we'd gotten from Chuck. As I went out the garage door I saw him come screaming out the other door, "I hate you! I'm gonna kill your faggoty face!" at Mayra who'd simply tried to reason that one to bed.

Fabian came barreling out the other door and restrained him, just in time, from hitting Mayra. I went to the melee and got kicked in the face. I saw stars, certain my cheekbone was shattered. Big Jose witnessed it all in shock and surprise and went to get some other grown kids, totally unsure as what to do. Remember he has five well-behaved children and is married to someone who's extremely grateful that I adopted her.

I sat there crying.

It took another two hours to calm down the rager, Fabian and Javy by my side, helping me out. My cheekbone is not broken, but I have a cut and a swollen tear duct, likely a bruise and I'm furious.

I'm furious at "professionals" such as CPS who investigated us several times over false allegations when I'm the one who ends up hurt. Deysi, Saray, Marcela and Big Jose were terribly appalled and absolutely dumbstruck. I'm furious when I seek help for severely disturbed children and "professionals" insinuate maybe it's my parenting. "Have you tried consequencing him/her? I'm stupidly asked.

I wanna scream, "Nah, I hadn't thought of that." I want to cuss and rage yet I smile back and explain the situation for the ten thousandth time but it boils down, even to "professionals, "well if you're stupid enough to adopt troubled kids, then this is what you deserve."

NOT Dr. Mandy nor Dr. G. They get it and they address the behaviors and the underlying causes. That's why I stick with them and I've also had success with the folks at our local mental health clinic, but over the years I've had enough "professionals," in my decades long quest, second guess me that I'm just lef bumfuddled at the ignorance and insensitivity.

"Call the police and press charges," my older kids urged me.

This kid is 11 years old, angry and afraid that Fabian will have to leave again, will "desert" him as he perceives as happened before. I can stand back and discern what's really going on but I'm still simply furious at folks who criticize, point fingers and cause problems for me. Just like the kids, I'm misdirecting my own anger.

I NEVER spank, never physically lash out and hurt anyone. NEVER. Fabian was blindly angry that I'd been hurt but he restrained his own emotions amazingly. Everyone did. Verbally though it was another story yet they spoke privately to me, not to the rager who eventually calmly went to bed, his own anger spent while I struggled with my own.

I sat up late with my grown kids, crying an pouring out my frustration and anger. The mother-abuser, although in his defense, he accidentally kicked me in the face, apologized this morning while yet another punk-wannabe refused to go to school.

My cheek is throbbing.