Seriously, I’ll Be Back

 

It has been a whirlwind of activity for the past month.

Yes, tomorrow is the one month mark and it’s hard to believe we’ve had our foster daughters for one month already.

Both girls are doing well and beginning to settle in to life in the World of Weeks.

Baby Girl doesn’t have the best sleeping habits, but each week there is some improvement.  Her favorite sleeping spot is my lap.  Just look at those little feet.

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Big Sister is taking longer to warm up, which is to be expected.  Not only has she experienced more, but she understands more.  Slowly, we are reaching her though and she very much enjoys her time with Naomi and Lili.

The Texas foster care system, being different from the Illinois foster care system, has taken some time to get used to.  I have 2-3 reports I need to complete on each of the girls every week.  I thought I was to turn them in to the agency after each month they are with us, but just found out that I need to turn them in at the end of each month regardless.  Oops!

Tomorrow, we will be adding two more little girls to our home for 9 days while their foster parents take a long-awaited vacation.  Six girls ranging in age from 6 months – 10  years of age will most certainly mean a lot more chaos and laughter.  However, we’re happy to help out another foster family for a few days.

We also purchased a bigger vehicle.  The Suburban I have driven for the last 2 1/2 years just wasn’t providing enough space for all the car seats we need.  Now I’m driving a 12-passenger Transit van.

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It’s a little bigger than we probably need, but the additional space is really nice, especially considering that I will be transporting additional children from time-to-time and a stroller that takes up quite a bit of room.

So life is a little busier and louder.  Summer fun is in full swing and life goes on.

 

 

Try, Try Again

I’ve started several blog posts over the last week and have yet to finish any of them.

Writer’s block?

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A little bit.

I have things to write about.  After all, I’m living life and that alone gives all of us something to write about.  My struggle seems to be fear.  Fear that I’m going to cross a line if I share too many of my thoughts and feelings.  Fear that my readers won’t want to read.  Fear of negative comments.

Fear!

This is my blog.  I should be able to write whatever I feel and if someone doesn’t like it, they can move on, right?!

Some are very good about doing this.  Others feel it is their destiny in life to criticize and condemn those who they don’t agree with.  It’s the single biggest reason I dislike social media.  It’s also one of the biggest reasons I removed myself from Facebook a few years ago (although after 1 1/2 years I returned).  Still, it’s those very people who feel the need to share their negativity with the world that I fear.

Silly, I suppose.  After all, I can easily delete comments, but I also think that everyone has a right to their opinion.  I just wish that those who want to share their opinion when not asked, would simply go write their own blog instead of stopping by to share their thoughts on a blog that doesn’t belong to them.  It’s what one invites into their life by blogging though.

So here I sit, with lots of thoughts on politics, equal rights, gardening, foster care, adoption, religion, woman’s rights, children, family, white privilege, travel, animals, pets, and much much more.  Some topics seeming to be non-controversial, while others easily ruffle feathers.

Instead, today I’ll write about trying and trying over and over again to work up the nerve to state my opinion on various topics.  Topics that I want my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know about me when I’m gone.  My diary of sorts, put out on public display for others to read then decide to agree, disagree or not really care about.

And next time you tune in, you’ll either be reading about my children, adoption, my attempts at raising money for a foster care project (you can click here to see what I’m talking about), gardening or maybe, just maybe my thoughts on Trump or equal rights or racism.

 

 

Texas Size

I’ve been Texas size busy the last few days, thanks to some Spring weather we’ve had.

On Sunday evening, storms moved thru the area and the severe weather sirens began.  We were hunkered down when we heard the skies tossing these our way.

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Granted, we had a lot more than 3 hit our house.  At one point I asked, “Did that just break a window?”  The others sounded as if they were coming thru the roof.

When the storm finally passed, hubby walked thru the house checking the windows.  None were broken.  Then he went out to check on the vehicles.  By this time, it was dark outside and he didn’t see any damaged.  I went out later with more light in hand and found this.

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Hubby’s windshield got hit by the Texas size hail.

About that time, our neighbor came out and told me her daughter’s car windshield had a lot of damage and as she shined her flashlight on hubby’s car, she found similar hail damage on the other side of his windshield.

The next day we were able to better inspect everything and we found several good-sized dents on both vehicles.  I found damage to the wood siding on our house and the roofing company found quite a bit of damage to our roof.  The majority of homes in our neighborhood now have roofing company signs in their yards.  Now we wait for our insurance company to do their estimates and then wait on the repairs to begin.

In the meantime, hubby is not able to drive his car because of the windshield damage and I was finally able to get an appointment to have a glass repair company come out to replace the windshield – next week.

Two nights later, another storm rolled thru the area.  This time, no hail, but we had some significant winds.  It was reported the next day that there was a tornado about about 2-3 miles from our house.  Fortunately, we didn’t sustain any additional damage to our home, but other homes in the area were hit and there were lots of trees and tree limbs down.

Fortunately, we’ve had a couple nice days since then, but now we wait for another round of storms to roll thru this weekend.

On the foster care front, someone from our foster care agency came over this afternoon and we signed the final documents necessary to get our foster care license.  As of this afternoon, the agency was still waiting on our homes study.  However, they are expecting it to be completed and sent any day now.  They anticipate we should be approved about a week later, so we are now in the home stretch.  I’m anxious to have this part done and begin the wait for a call.

On top of the weather and foster care excitement, I tackled Spring cleaning my coat closet.

Unlike Illinois, where most homes have basements, Texas homes do not.  So when a storm hits, we need to move to a room in the center of the home with no windows and one that is not on an outside wall.  In our home, that is our coat closet.  It is a deep closet and runs the length of our stairs, so plenty of room . . . . except when the closet is full of boxes, pictures, shoes and other miscellaneous items.  So when the storm sirens went off, hubby was frantically pulling things out of the closet so we could actually get into the closet.  The next day, I pulled everything out and began the process of finding new homes for the items that had taken up residence in the closet.

Once I had the closet empty, the girls decided the closet would make a great clubhouse.

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Okay, I didn’t have quite everything out of the closet when this picture was taken, but it is now empty except for coats, stuffed animals, Barbie’s, pillows and other items the girls have moved into the “clubhouse.”  I was told that I would need the password to enter the closet.

The only problem they have had with their “clubhouse” is air flow.  Apparently, it gets a little stuffy in there which means their closet play time doesn’t last long typically.  I’m waiting for them to ask me for a fan next.  🙂

Needless-to-say, it’s been a crazy week in our world this week.  I’m keeping fingers crossed that any storms we get this weekend are not severe, but at least we have the “clubhouse” if things turn really bad.  ?!

 

Varied Interests

Reading thru past blog posts, it is very clear that I have three primary interests . . . . .

Children/Family

Travel

Gardening

I lump children and family together, but could also add adoption and foster care into this group.  Adoption brought Lili and Naomi into my life.  They are my children and therefore my family.  Foster care has also been a big part of my life and the children who have come into my life because of foster care are very important to me.  Hubby, my children, extended family, foster children and friends who I consider family are so very important in my life.

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Travel!  I adore travel and everything about it from planning to new experiences.  Without travel, I feel like something is missing in my life.

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Gardening is my hobby.  I am in my happy place when my hands are in the soil.  I enjoy the planting a seed and get excited when I see the first signs of life emerge thru the soil.  Picking my first ripe fruit or vegetable gives me a thrill.  Seeing bumblebees and butterflies fly from flower to flower puts a smile on my face.  I get excited about exploring and trying new gardening techniques or growing something for the first time.

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(It was windy when I took this picture.)

What are your interests?

 

 

Foster Care Update

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Last week, we completed the interview for our home study report.  It was the final step in getting our Texas Foster Care License.

The woman who conducted the interview said it would take a couple of weeks for her to write-up the report and get it to our agency for approval.  Once approved, everything goes to the state for final approval and issuance of our license.

We truly are in the final stages now!

For those who are not familiar with the purpose of a Home Study report, it is an assessment to determine the safety of the home and how much space is available for foster children.

The person conducting the interview asked many questions regarding our motivation to provide foster care and how our children feel about becoming a foster family.  Personal questions are asked about our marriage and family life.  They ask about our growing up years and our relationships with extended family members.  They dive into our feeling about foster children, their bio parents, and our expectations.  The list goes on and on.

When it was all said and done, we were interviewed for about 7 hours in total!

The state is responsible for the care of these children and are doing everything possible to make sure the families they license are qualified to provide the care.

Needless-to-say, we’re happy to have the interview done and from what we were told, we did well 🙂

So now we wait . . . . . . . . . . .

I think it will probably be another 4-6 weeks before we have our license and there is no way to know how long we’ll wait to get the call for a placement after we’re licensed.  What I can tell you is that we have requested being licensed for 3 children.  We will accept 2 as full-time placements and keep a bed open to provide respite care for other foster families.

Our age range is 0-5 and we will accept boys or girls, although Naomi has put her vote in for at least one girl 🙂

While we wait, I thought I’d share some additional information . . . .

There is a huge need for more foster families across the U.S.

But what about those people who want to help in ways other than becoming foster parents?

Here are some suggestions for you.

– Most foster care agencies will accept donations of clothing, toys, books, bikes, diapers, hygiene products, etc.  The clothing, toys, books and bikes don’t have to be new, but they do need to be in good condition.

– Our local homeschool group is still collecting monetary donations to provide duffel bags to foster children who are removed from their homes with virtually nothing.  We only have until March 24th to collect the money, so there is a little time.  https://www.togetherwerise.org/fundraise/KHFK  It’s a good way to put a smile on the face of a foster child.

– If you have a friend or relative who is already a foster parent, you could offer to complete the necessary requirements to provide babysitting services or respite care.

– How about simply providing emotional support to a foster parent.  Maybe invite them out for coffee or offer to meet them at a park with the kids.  Sometimes just having another adult to talk to is a HUGE benefit to a foster mom or dad.

– Offer your assistance to a foster family.  I remember when I got the call about our foster sons.  Hubby was out-of-town on business and I needed to go to the CPS office to pick them up.  I was able to call on my sisters to come and stay with my girls while I went to get the boys.  Knowing I had someone I could call to help out at the last minute was a tremendous help.  Maybe you could provide that kind of help to someone you know.

– So often, foster children are removed from their homes with little to nothing (thus the reason for the duffel bag fundraiser above).  In addition to donating to a cause like “Together We Rise”, you could offer to meet foster mom at the store to help her pick up the diapers, formula, bottles, clothes, toys and hygiene products that did not come with the child(ren) she is now fostering.  When someone has just taken on the responsibility of additional children, having an extra set of hands on that first day is a wonderful way to provide assistance.

– You could volunteer to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA).

For those who are looking for an opportunity to do something to help, I hope you found the list helpful.

And now, back to waiting.

 

 

 

 

Together We Rise

Our homeschool group is still collecting money to help children in need.  Foster children to be exact.

We are working thru an organization called, Together We Rise.  For $25 you can provide a duffel bag, blanket, stuffed animal and hygiene kit to one child.  One child who is removed from their home with nothing more than a plastic bag of a few personal items.  Many of us spend more than this per week on coffee, eating out, renting movies, etc.

Maybe $25 is too much for you.  How about $5?  Just 5 people donating $5 can put a smile on the face of one child.

So please, can you spare some change to help foster kids in need?

Click here to donate now.

Thanks!

(Together We Rise is 501(c)3, so your donation is tax deductible.)