It’s handy to have a handy husband.

We have a a cold. It started in Christmas day and has kept hold of us this whole week. I’m the one that’s had it the worst worst so far but Ben and Matthew have been feeling pretty crummy too.

Rabbit, on the other hand, hasn’t even gotten a single sniffle (yet) and spent the entire weekend, while I was sitting around being fussy, doing this:

He had ripped out a cracked and well worn plastic shower stall, repaired the wall where moisture had caused some nasty rot, and created an awesome corner shower in the girls’ bedroom because he’s super awesome like that.  Grout, paint, and some new hardware and the bathroom will be ready for decorating.  The girls are thinking purple, pink, ponies, and glitter. 

It was a really big job and it’s almost finished. Yay!

I married very well.  

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Happy new year, everybody!

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Progress.  

Lanie’s trying her hand at forward moving the last couple of days. She’s still got a a long way to go but she is unbelievably happy about it all.

And I am well aware that I didn’t do much posting about adoption last month.  Things got wild and there was shopping and the best of friends and turkey and there were a lot of words that I wanted to write but my brain got in the way.

My return to blogging was furious but my regularity didn’t last very long.  I’m still hoping to get back into a consistent rhythm. There is so much life happening that I want to document. 

And in case I don’t write again in the next two days, Merry Christmas everybody.  

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I am constantly telling my kids to go outside and play, to which they usually huff respectfully and then head out front and have a really good time.  I know they are having a good time because we no longer have grass growing in a large section of the front yard.
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Yards without kids having fun don’t look like this.

I don’t understand why they so often resist the out-of-doors because if they look bored I usually give them a chore or a list of jobs or a baby to hold, though that last one kind of backfires on me because they often argue over who gets to play with Lanie.img_20160529_140241072_hdr

I think it’s important for kids to play outside. And often. Numerous times a day even. I think it’s important for them to make up new games and argue over rules and learn to work together.

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I think it’s important for them to wrestle and race and contemplate whether or not they can throw a ball over the house and what is Mom going to say when we tell her the football is on the roof?
I think it’s important for them to get dirty and sweaty and scrape up their knees.

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I also think it’s important that they take a shower when they come inside because have you ever smelled boy-sweat times five?

Right now there is civil unrest in many parts of our country, mostly from our younger generation, and I feel like maybe they were never been told to go play outside.

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Filed under: FloridaFriends & FamilySomething Sam Said

Adoption from foster care. What I’ve learned.

adoptionawarenessGrowing up I clearly recall my home being a safe place, my safe place. If there is anything of more value to a child than a feeling of safety and security in a loving home, I don’t know what it is. I look back on my childhood and feel overwhelmingly thankful that my parents gave us a sheltered childhood.  We were nourished and taught good and right things and never lacked for anything and when the teenager that lived two houses down was irresponsibly sighting his rifle before going hunting the next day and I was sure his intention was to kill me…
I instinctively knew where to run for safety.

In the 27 hours of classes we were required to take to become approved to adopt through foster care here in Florida, I learned that every child in the foster care system has been through a traumatic experience that has cost them any hope of feeling that kind of safety. The vast majority of them have been either forcibly removed from their homes or given up voluntarily by one or both parents.  It leaves them feeling vulnerable and alone. The ultimate betrayal – turned away by the people who were supposed to instinctively long to protect them.

I have learned what kind of abuses take place and what effect that can have on a child. I learned that it is usually bad. Really bad.

I have learned that we, individually and as a society, have gotten far too comfortable with their cries.
Deafening. Silent. Raw. Hidden. Heartbroken.

I have learned that I can’t do that anymore.
And I have learned that sometimes all you can do is pray.

I have learned that there is a lot of fear in adopting a broken child and a lot of thought and consideration has to go into it before a challenge like that should be taken on.
And I have learned that no matter how much thought and consideration you give it there is no way to prepare yourself.

I have learned that the system that has been put in place to facilitate the best possible outcome for both adopter and adoptee is broken. I’ve learned that quite often, out of an understandable desperation to find children a home, the people in charge, the experts, will break the most essential of those rules and set everybody up for failure. Because there aren’t enough foster homes. Because the kids are close to being too old to place. Because they might have a disability that is just beginning to show and it’s RIGHTNOW or possibly never.

And that’s when failure happens.  And everybody is to blame but nobody is at fault because the real failure is not doing anything at all and nobody involved can be accused of that.

I have learned that it is hopeless.

And I have learned that there is hope.


 

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Filed under: adoptionFloridaGod is.

Good weather. Cute baby.  

I love this picture that I snapped of Lanie yesterday. I feel like she’s just hanging back listing to some fun conversation.

I wish I could come up with a cute caption for it. Nothing’s coming to me though.    

Heyo!


How is it possible for a heart to melt over and over and over again.

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Quick post to keep up my blogging streak.  

In an effort to continue blogging daily I’m just going to post a quick picture of Lanie.

I had wanted Lanie to be sleeping but somebody thought she needed an orange squirt gun instead.

Nobody has fessed up but I have a strong suspicion that it was Maggie because, well, it’s the kind of thing she does.

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Our dishwasher broke. Like broke broke.  Like we try to start it and it goes click click click kind of broke.

I saw this coming. We always have to buy a new appliance during the holidays.  I don’t know why it always works out this way, it just does.  Plus, our dishwasher has been begging us to just let it go since we bought this house 2 year ago because 2 to 3 loads of dishes a day is apparently more than it can handle.

It’s true that we don’t have to buy a new dishwasher right now because dishes can quite easily be washed by hand, and we might still wait but we ended up at Lowe’s today looking at our options.  I think we settled on a Kitchenaid. I like Bosch too but they don’t have a track for the lower rack and I know for a fact that it would end up on the floor with broken dishes. Probably often. Note to Bosch: Stop doing that.

When we got out of the car in the Lowe’s parking lot a wave of summer warmth hit us full force.  I thought it felt fabulous but Ryan complained that it was sooo hot.

It’s November and I guess he’s expecting much cooler weather than 88 degrees but that’s what it’s been like here and we live in Florida and it’s like this every year and I’m not sure why everybody is surprised because, like I said, Florida.

 

Plus, Lanie has just grown into Maggie’s old summery clothes and she’s impossibly cute.

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I hope she’ll be able to wear them a bit more before she grows out of them.

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Filed under: FloridaLaniethis house

November is Adoption Awareness Month

There are all kinds of awarenesses here lately.
November is adoption awareness month and there is a lot I want to say about adoption and how it has affected our lives over the last year. I tried to write just one post about it but it was crazy disorganized and long and really hard to follow so I decided to break it down into bite-sized pieces to help with digestion.

I’m going to start at the beginning of our adoption journey with how we became certified to adopt.

More than a year ago Rabbit and I started the process to become eligible to adopt from foster care because we had gotten wind of two little sisters that needed a home and decided to try and adopt them because we get these big ideas sometimes. We learned before the second class that the girls were already being placed but we decided to continue with the process anyway and became officially approved in January after months of classes and two home study visits.

The 27 hours of classes were absolutely free. They were each 3 hours long, once a week, with subjects ranging from interracial adoption to sexual abuse to foster child behavior to a heartwrenching story of a little boy who committed suicide.

7 years old.

If a child is in foster care it almost always involves some sort of abuse and neglect and learning about the plight of so many orphaned children…  It just hurts.

We pushed through and finished the classes in about 2 months. We had to get fingerprinted, request references from 10 different people including family, friends, neighbors, and employers, and schedule our two home study visits. Ryan worked on getting most of the references for us and I completed as much of the paperwork I could get done myself (there is a lot of paperwork).  Preparing for the home visits was absolutely scary to me and I was so nervous about them. However, it turned out that there was nothing to be frightened about.

The social worker who completed our home study was very nice and disarming. She spoke to each of my kids alone, then spoke to Rabbit and me together.  She asked pointed questions about our relationship with each other and with our extended family, our finances, our pasts, and our plans for the future.  She asked each of our kids about their relationship with us and how they are disciplined and what they would change and while we couldn’t be present at the time of questioning, we did get her notes back when our home study was approved.  I think it was Lucy who was the only one who would change anything and I think she said she would change the color of our house to purple.

Once she had finished up all the questioning on the second visit, the social worker did a quick look through our home to make sure we didn’t have a meth lab or anything.  It was so easy.

Within a month of completing our classes, our home study was finished and approved and we were eligible to adopt.

I’m not sure what the next post on this subject will be about.  I want to write about what I took away from the classes, what I learned about a hopelessly broken system, and about loving children who were not born to me. About honesty and blame and guilt.

About the grief in failure.

And trusting God’s plan.

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