Questions I’m Pondering – Deep Thoughts

I have deep thoughts and those thoughts cause me to ask many questions.

In my blogs over the last several months, I have primarily discussed foster care, so it may shock some do discover that my thoughts and questions are not only about foster care.  I have many thoughts about many different topics and quite honestly, I’m sometimes fearful to write about those things that are more controversial.

Since my blog was meant to chronicle the World of Weeks, if I don’t write about all my many question or deep thoughts, than I’m not really providing an accurate chronicle of life in the World of Weeks.  After all, our life is not just about foster care, adoption and homeschooling.  It is so much more, so let me share something I’ve been pondering.

Recently, I’ve been thinking of all the people from different countries who fled because they weren’t safe in their country.

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They fled for their freedom.  They fled for opportunity.  They fled for their lives.

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How many who didn’t flee, stayed because they didn’t think things were all that bad?

How many who didn’t flee, stayed because they thought they could fight back?

How many who didn’t flee, stayed because they thought things would improve?

How many who didn’t flee, stayed out of fear of fleeing?

All of my childhood and most of my adulthood, I’ve not been able to even imagine the thoughts going thru these people’s minds.  I’ve never had to live my life with any real concerns for my safety of the safety of my family because of my government.

Sadly, for the first time in my life, I feel concern.  I feel fear.

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I question how safe it is to live in the U.S. today.

I now have a small glimpse into the life of the millions before me who found themselves in a situation they didn’t dream possible.

I feel a sadness, like I’ve never felt before, for all those before me who have found themselves living in fear and struggling to find a way out.

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Does this mean we should all flee the U.S. for a safer place?

Not necessarily.  After all, our government has been set up to provide checks and balances in an effort to prevent any one person from being in complete power, right?!

Still,  I never imagined that I would see a U.S. president that is so clearly pouring fuel on so many fires and that by doing so, puts American citizens at risk.

I never imagined that I would see a U.S. president that is so clearly racist.

I never imagined that I would see a U.S. president so unqualified for the job.

I never imagined that I would see a U.S. president who is so similar to Hitler in what he says and tries to do.

I never imagined that I would see a U.S. president that would cause this great country to slide so quickly backwards.

So I find myself asking . . .

How many before me found themselves in similar circumstances and at what point they decided it was time to flee?

How many before me found themselves feeling that things would get better?

How many before me waited until it was too late to do anything?

How many before me had friends and family who thought they were crazy for even suggesting it was time to flee, let alone actually following thru?

Are we safer simply because it’s the U.S.?  Are we safer because of our government?  Are we safer because of history?

I know there are many who are in complete support of our current leadership and completely disagree with my assessment of our current president.

I know there are many who trust our elected officials to keep us safe.

I know there are many who think that even suggesting we should be concerned is crazy.

So I am not in agreement with everyone as they are not in agreement with me.  That doesn’t dismiss the fact that I just can’t shake this feeling that we are not really all that different from the many before us who found themselves in similar circumstances, with similar questions, who decided to stay and then regretted it.

I don’t know the answers to all the questions floating thru my brain these days, but I will continue to ponder the questions and pay attention while hoping that things get better.

 

 

Do You Remember the Time

I wrote a blog post every day or at least every couple of days.  Those days seem to be long gone now and I do know that between 5 kids, a husband, a house, homeschooling and just living, the blog has taken a backseat.  Still, I hate that I’m not on top of blogging on a regular basis.  It really is therapeutic and I’m likely going to need some therapy over the next week.

One week from today, there will be a placement hearing about moving Baby Girl from our care to the care of a relative.

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It doesn’t matter that she came to us straight from the hospital.  It doesn’t matter that in almost 4 months, mom has only seen her a handful of times.  It doesn’t matter that mom has been given her list of services and isn’t working any of them.  It doesn’t matter that dad isn’t in the picture at this time.  It doesn’t matter that this family member has a denied home study.  It doesn’t matter that Baby Girl is being moved from the only home and family she has known to complete strangers.  It doesn’t matter that she’s thriving in our home.

It does matter that they are family.  It does matter that the state would only have to pay half of what they pay foster families.  It does matter that by moving her, the state is less liable for anything that might happen while she is in the care of family.

Not that I’m bitter or emotional at all about this (she says sarcastically).  I suppose I shouldn’t be bitter or emotional since I signed up to do foster care and know full well that I will likely say good-bye to each child that walks thru our door.  But at the same time, Baby Girl has been loved, nurtured, and adored for almost 4 months now.  She has become very much part of our family and she is as attached to us as we are to her.  I don’t think this state often does what is truly within the best interest of the child.  I guess that means it’s my job to do what is in their best interest while I have them.

So in one week we will get a call letting us know whether or not she is being removed from our care and into the care of a family member.  Because of the judge overseeing the case, the chances of this happening are very, very high.  As such, we have to do everything we can to prepare ourselves for broken hearts next week.

In the meantime, we did have a good Christmas.  It wasn’t the Christmas we thought we would have though.

On the 21st, we were informed that the little boy we had (the one we told would be with us thru Christmas) would be picked up and taken to a relative.  About 30 minutes after he left, we got a call about two little girls who needed placement and within a few hours they were walking thru our door.  The oldest is 4 and the youngest is 17 months.

They came to us with the clothes on their backs.  Nothing more, nothing less.  We scrambled to get them clothes and gifts for Christmas.

Then, in the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Eve, hubby, Lili and I were all sick.  There is never a good time to be sick, but I’m not sure there could have been a worse time either.  There were gifts to wrap and preparations to complete.  We had family scheduled to come over that afternoon, which we had to postpone.  Of course there was also that little job of elf that needed to happen Christmas night.

Hubby got hit the hardest and I knew he would not have the energy or strength to help.  So I dug deep, did a lot of self-talk and got it done.

Having both parents down for the count meant that there were disappointments as well.

Naomi wanted Cinnabons for breakfast on Christmas morning.

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There was no way we could make that happen though.  Not only did either of us have the energy to get to the nearest Cinnabon, but we certainly didn’t want to expose everyone in the store to the flu.  So Cinnabon would have to wait for another day.

Our nephew was visiting from out-of-state and we were not able to see him.  Can’t say I blame him for not wanting to walk into the infirmary.

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At least two of us didn’t have the Christmas spirit we usually have and then later that day, Baby Girl threw up.  She was the one I really wanted to try to protect from getting sick.  Somehow, she managed to smiled and coo thru it all!

Now Christmas is over.  The tree has been taken down.  We’re having a major cold snap, so there hasn’t been a lot of time outside the house.

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Our two newest are starting to really settle in and we’re preparing for the likely change of Baby Girl moving on.

But that’s our life.  We’re doing what we feel we should be doing.   It’s difficult and it’s  sad, but it’s also rewarding and has left us with happy memories many times overs.   As such, we’ll continue to do this as long as we can.  Maybe one day we’ll accept a placement that will never leave.  Until then, we’ll do all we can to make life as good as we can for these little ones and hope that when they move on, they have a wonderful life.

2017 Coming to an End

As 2017 comes to an end, we reflect on all that has happened during the last year.

 

Dave celebrated 11 years with Microsoft and has done a fair amount of travel  – San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, and Atlanta a couple different times plus a couple other cities.  All trips were to meet with customers, so not any time for sight-seeing or visiting friends and family in those areas.

He ended 2016 in the hospital and welcomed in 2017 in the hospital.  All the same stay due to severe back problems.  It’s been an ongoing thing for several years with doctors telling him it was arthritis.  This time he met with a back doctor who was able to determine that it’s not arthritis but disc degeneration in his low back.  He will eventually need back surgery, but several times during the year he’s gone in for back injections which have helped.  

Since his doctor was able to help him with his back issues, he asked if there was anything he could do about his chronic headaches.  Something he’s had for 20+ years and no doctor has been able to determine the cause.  Again, the back doctor discovered that he has a slipped disc in his upper spine that has caused the severe headaches all these years.  To avoid surgery, they’ve been trying injections.  Unfortunately, they haven’t been as successful as the back injections, so 2018 may include surgery for him.  

Debbie continues to be a stay-at-home mom, homeschooling the girls and staying busy with all their activities.  She helped start a co-op with some other homeschool moms and has made several new friends over the past year. 

Lili is 10 and doing 5th grade work this year.  She continues to take art classes and is in a Jr. Master Naturalist program thru the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  She also got braces this year and is looking much older these days.  

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Naomi is 8 and doing 3rd grade work this year.  She continues to take acting classes and very much enjoys dancing and singing.  She too has had some orthodontic work done.  No braces yet, but had to get an expander to widen her pallet so her permanent teeth have room in her mouth.  Braces are likely in her future as well, so this is step 1 of 2.

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Obviously, both girls are very much into the Arts and we are thrilled they have found things they love.  Both have participated in the Variety Shows at Frisco School of Performing Arts.  You can see them in the latest show by clicking here.  And here is Lili’s artwork from that show. 

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She had another class before the Holiday break and thru together this Dr. Seuss inspired piece.

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Lili and Naomi are so very different from each other and are both amazing, talented young ladies. 

Debbie and the girls are active with their homeschool group, co-op and regular trips around the DFW area for educational opportunities. 

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In January, we took another cruise sailing to Honduras, Belize, and Cozumel. 

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It’s always nice to get away and spend time connecting more closely with each other. 

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We had the added pleasure of friends joining us on the cruise.  It was their first, but hopefully not our last cruise together.

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Over the summer Debbie and the girl travelled to Illinois to visit friends and family.  We brought friends back home with us for a couple of weeks before making the trip back to Illinois via Galveston. 

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Yes, we realize that Galveston isn’t on the way to Illinois from Dallas, but our visitors had never seen the ocean.  After spending a few hours at the beach, we headed east thru Louisiana and then north thru Mississippi toward Illinois.  It was a nice visit, and all had so much fun at the beach that we plan to go back next year.  Hopefully we can make it a longer beach vacation.

We also attended a family reunion and were able to visit with family we haven’t seen in many years.  It was so nice to catch up and while I wish visits could happen more often, being spread across the U.S. makes it very difficult.  Fortunately, we do have family on both sides here in Texas and are able to have regular visits with them. 

On April 29th, we became a licensed as a Texas foster home.  Within three days of being licensed we had a 5-month-old and her 5-year-old sister.  They were with us for 3 months before leaving to go live with their grandmother. 

A few weeks later we had a 2-year-old boy, who was only with us for 2 ½ weeks before he went on to live with his grandmother. 

On September 28th we got a 6-day-old baby girl who is still with us and will be here at least until the end of January. 

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Two days before Thanksgiving we got a 2-year-old little boy, who turned 3 the next day.  He too is still with us, although we’re not sure if he’ll be with us during the holidays or not.  All is dependent on the outcome in court.  

In the State of Texas, CPS tries very hard to place children in a kinship home.  It may be biological family members or could be a friend of the biological family.  So far, all the cases we’ve had in Texas have moved to kinship care.  The little guy we have now may be going to a family member right before Christmas, but we likely won’t know until at least December 20th.  

Of course, there is always the possibility that another child may come into our care between now and Christmas.  Foster care is a lot of things, but certainly never boring.

In addition to the foster children we’ve had, we have taken in some other foster children for respite care.  Some as short as 3 days and others as long as 2 weeks.

Needless-to-say, between our girls, the three dogs and foster children, we manage to stay pretty busy. Yet we’re never too busy to take time out to think of all our friends and family, both near and far.  We hope all of you have had a wonderful 2017 and wish you an even more spectacular 2018.

Happy Holidays!!! 

 

 

Mending Little Broken Hearts

Tomorrow, Baby Girl’s case goes back to court.  The really difficult part of these court dates is the unknown.

I know she will not be returning to mom any time soon, but last month I sat on pins and needles waiting to hear whether or not she would be removed from our care and placed in the care of her aunt.  Since the other children we had went to family members, I was quite shocked when I was told her aunt failed the home study.

This time I sit on pins and needles waiting to hear whether or not she will be removed from our care and placed in the care of a friend of moms.

In Texas, there is a lot of effort put into placing foster children with other family members (kinship) or with friends of the biological family (fictive kinship).  Logically, I get it.  Well to a point I get it.  There are certainly situations that don’t necessarily make sense to me, but for the most part I understand why it’s important to keep familial connections.  Emotionally, it’s much more difficult.

It’s this part of foster care that causes many people to say, “I could never be a foster parent.”  A child moves into your home and life.  You care for that child.  You get to know that child.  You begin to love that child and that love grows.  Then one day you find yourself packing their things and handing them over to a case worker because they are being moved to live with a family member, a family friend, or in the best case scenario, back to mom and/or dad.

I will not sugar coat it.  It is not easy at all!!!

So why do we put ourselves thru this?

For me, it is the realization that as much as my heart breaks when I have to say good-bye, foster children have more than just heart-break.  They are removed from the care of their parent(s) which means on top of heart-break they feel fear, confusion, and uncertainty.  They grieve the loss of their family, friends, home, pets and the life they knew.

These kid’s lives are turned upside-down and it’s my job to help them turn their lives rightside-up again.

So I do this because they need me to help them feel safe and sure.  They need to feel love and security.  They need some assurance that no matter what happens, they will be okay.

You see, this isn’t about me and what I can’t do or about my fear of having my heart-broken.  Foster parents “will” have their heart broken over and over again.  This is about the thousands of children in foster care who need me to put aside my fear of a broken heart so I can help mend little broken hearts.

While I would love to have baby girl stay in our care, what I want really isn’t a factor in what the case worker or judge will decide.  All I can do is love her while I have her.  Yes, there will be heart break and lots of tears, but at the same time I will be prepared to open my arms wide for the next little one whose heart is in need of mending.

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Thankful for Friends and Family

There are things that happen in life that cause me to be especially thankful for the people in my life.  Over the last couple of days, some very special people in my life shown a great deal of love and compassion.  For that, I’m truly thankful.

We are spending a quiet day at home.  Okay, as quiet a day as you can have with 4 kids in the house 🙂  but are thinking of our loved ones who we can’t be with today.

Have a wonderful day celebrating friends, family, and good food.

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