An idea and advice for special needs moms

28 07 2009

If you read my blog often, you probably know that my daughter who is 5 has chronic PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder.)  The chronic part means that she’ll probably always have anxieties related to certain situations.

One of the most disconcerting parts of PTSD is the anniversary effect.  For foster parents – this means out of the blue, life goes flipping crazy!  It took us about a week to realize that all of Alyssa’s major changes in life had happened right around Halloween.   She had been sketchy and nervous for about a week before a caseworker visit so we mentioned to the cw that she had separation anxiety and that she needed to tread softly.  Historically, caseworker visits had not gone well with the children.  The kids would get so scared, they’d freeze like a deer in headlights and wet their pants where they stood.  It took days of hugging and rocking and reassuring before things went back to normal. Alyssa has a defense mechanism of telling people what they want to hear when she gets scared.  She wants them to go away – and telling them what they’re asking gets them to go.

So, the caseworker came and it went like normal for those visits.  My sister was in the hospital, so I was heading out the door and Shaun was going to put the kids in bed.  Alyssa did not sleep that night or the next three.  She regressed all the way back to infant stage and blocked out the entire world.  She would not leave my side, even to go to the bathroom and when I turned my back, she grabbed my razor and tried to cut herself.  She would only play with some baby toys I kept for my nephew when he visited.  This was not normal anxiety – this was scary.  (Later we realized this had happened with her last foster parent as well before she moved in with us – on exactly the same date.  She had pulled large patches of hair out and had sores all over her head when she came to us.)

We called everywhere we could think of but on a weekend with a 4 year old child, there aren’t too many resources available.  There’s a crazy long waiting list for any children’s hospital equipped to deal with mental health issues.  We were told just to provide 24/7 supervision and to do what we could.

I did what I do – I got online and signed into a foster parent support group I was a member of.  One of the ladies who I love totally to death suggested a blanket that was satiny on one side and fleece on the other.  She said it was what calmed her children when nothing else would.

Children are incredibly tactile.  They will sit there and rub something in between their fingers for hours.  They love sand, water, hair, everything they can get their little fingers and cheeks on.

I gave Shaun a kiss, and headed out to the mall.  I got this blanket, a white noise machine that played jungle animals across the ceiling along with a lullaby, some pacifiers, and some aromatherapy stuff.

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It’s easy to find stuff to sooth babies.  It’s not so easy to find a blanket that is fleece on one side and satiny on the other.  I got it home, sprayed it with the aromatherapy stuff (chamomile and vanilla,) wrapped her up in it and sat in the rocking chair.

Thank God, the internet, and foster parent support group – she got two hours of sleep.  That blanket went with us EVERYWHERE for weeks.  She rubbed it, she sucked on it, she wrapped baby dolls in it, she wore it like a cape.  It still holds special honor in her bed by laying next to a fleece covered body pillow.

So, etsy family, I need you guys to make that more available!  Moms who need something to help with your child – try one of those blankets.  My friend said her children with PDD-NOS, autism, separation anxiety, drug addictions, and developmental delays all loved it.  It’s helped Alyssa so much that I’m going to be in the market for one for each boy come Christmas time.

The only thing that could make it better was if it were lightly weighted.  Weighted blankets help people with autism spectrum and anxiety disorders sleep better.  (Really, read the article linked.)  It’s like an all night hug.  I sleep better with tons of blankets – I have OCD which is an anxiety disorder – and it’s easier for me to sleep if I feel secure.  Speaking of that… etsy folks – anyone want to make a grown up blankie?  😀

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New boundaries, therapy edition

24 07 2009

The kids appt went well enough – everything is about the same.  The psychiatrist let us know that today was her last day and they should have a replacement by the time the next appt comes around.  It’s too bad, too.  I like this doctor (all three times we’ve seen her) but I understand the position she’s taking is much better for her.  Hopefully our next psych will work out as well.

The center we go to does monthly health screenings at the same time as the psychiatry screening and it’s done by a nurse.  She’s always a little aloof and distant but today it was just weird.  It’s hard when they fit both kids in at once because I can’t be with them when they do the health screening – I’m with the other one with the doctor.  They have this form they fill out every month and it’s a little intense for elementary school kids.  Stuff like “do you have discharge from your nipples?”

So the first thing that happens when I go in to check on Alyssa – the nurse comes out in the hallway and says “Alyssa says that a male cousin tackles her a lot and he does it because he loves her.”  Ok, they have to ask about this – I’ve actually counseled a number of children who were abused by a relative.

I asked her “did she say anything else about it?”

“No, she thought it was fun.”

I’m trying not to laugh at this point.  The nurse HAS to ask me about it.  Apparently, she didn’t ask Alyssa anything else after she said this, otherwise she would have known.  Alyssa has only one male cousin… and he’s two years old.  He LOVES Alyssa.  Alyssa was one of the first names he learned – right after Mama, Da, and Bob.  He calls me “Lyssa’s Mommy.”  Every time he sees her he squeals A-LYYYYSSSSA! and runs at her full speed.  If he sees me first, he goes “where’s Lyssa? An Cinny – where’s LYSSA?”

I filled the nurse in and she didn’t even smile or act like that fact relaxed her.  The rest of the visit was TENSE to say the least.  Like “did you know that LJ has been having pain when he pees?”  LJ was at the time giving her the silent treatment and staring at his shoes, only answering with a twitch of his chin.  “Alyssa says you gave her a laxative.”

Now – first of all, Alyssa does not know what a laxative is.  Second, she can’t tell last year from yesterday.  This is developmentally normal – and yes, if she’s constipated, I sometimes give her a dose of children’s medicine.  I’m allowed – they sell it, doctors recommend it, and I’m her mother.  She has a pediatrician she sees if it’s too often or if it’s abnormally colored.  Guess what, I don’t have to document it anymore and I really don’t remember if it was two months ago that she was last constipated or a week ago.

During this time, E is in with the psychiatrist, waiting on LJ to get done with the nurse.  He’s not allowed to talk today because he’s been willingly defiant.  So I hear the doctor in there asking him questions.  What part did you not get about me telling YOU that he’s in trouble and his punishment is to not be able to talk – which is his absolute favorite thing to do.  He’s sitting still and being quiet – just ignore him!  The kids are pushing boundaries BECAUSE of the adoption – they are testing me out as a forever mom.  I do NOT need people who should know better to undermine me.

Ethan does not (and did not) want to talk about Mom beating him up – which is what it felt like she was trying to get him to say while I was out of the room.  In my experience, that’s why caseworkers and therapists want to talk to children alone.  He wanted to talk about spider guts and how he stepped in an anthill outside when he was playing.  Those were the first words out of his mouth all at once. He didn’t even want to talk about his most recent reason to be pissed off – Alyssa gets to go to school and he doesn’t – or how he set a fire in the sunroom or how he’s been throwing violent tantrums.  I mean – he’s FOUR.  He’s supposed to be thinking and talking about spider guts.  You aren’t going to get him to talk about anything else by the time I get back.

I thought we’d stop playing these “are you abused at home” games once the kids were adopted – but apparently no.  At least now we don’t have three people a month coming into our house to ask them, but still their mental health workers get to quiz them every time they see them.  How long do I have to be their mom before people stop second guessing my judgment?

I know it’s just my perception because I still get asked when I go to the ER if my husband beats me.  I’m like “it’s a migraine… he didn’t cause THAT.”  It’s just something they have to legally ask so that they don’t come down on the wrong side of the media.  We all have seen the headlines and even judged people without the facts.  We have to believe that there are signs that point towards tragedy, and people are so scared of missing the signs that they lead this very scripted life.

What happens is that the kids end up thinking that they’re asking because I’m doing something wrong or that they need to be worried about.  My job is to give them safety and boundaries – that’s what they need right now.  They need to know that not only am I their protector, but I’m also the law-maker.  When I’m questioned in front of the children about such and such an event, they start thinking that maybe I’m not right.  Their experience has told them that adults aren’t right all the time and sometimes adults hurt little people.

Foster families are built on structure.  Everything is planned, everything goes on the schedule, there are rules for everything.  Everything is documented, everything is scrutinized.  Now that the kids are adopted, I’ve been loosening up the rules little by little.  Things like LJ can ride down the street on his bicycle instead of staying in the driveway.  The kids can spend the night at Grandmommy’s.  We can watch PG-13 movies when Shaun and I agree they’re safe (we don’t worry about curse words – we just don’t allow sex or violence on TV.)  I can walk out in the living room with only my nightgown and a pair of undies on – I don’t have to be robed from head to toe.  We can make stupid jokes when before we’d get disapproving stares from the caseworkers if the kids told one. We’re attempting this idea that we’re a “normal family” now.

The kids know this and they also know the “back-up plan” is gone now that they have forever family.  They’re testing the waters, seeing when how far they can go before they hit a wall.

Ethan hit that wall around noon yesterday.  He’s been skirting it for a week or two.  This morning, he had hit it by 7 am so I told him that I didn’t want to hear another word out of him for the rest of the day.  Then, I have to justify it to the center because if I don’t, I’m afraid they’ll make “that call.”

When we left, Alyssa immediately started in on me with the superiority BS and the defiance.  Before we even got out of the parking lot, I had to have a come to Jesus meeting with her.  Developmentally, this is on target, but damn.  If there was anywhere I should have been backed up on my choice of discipline, it should have been at the center.   Aren’t they there to make life easier on everyone?

So I’m not touchy feely baby-talk kind of mom.  Whatever.  That’s ok.  I tell em how it is and how it’s going to be.  There’s no hinting or “mommy would really like it if…”  These kids are too street savvy to fall for that pleasing adults bull.  It’s easier on everyone if we’re straight up about what’s the rule and what we can negotiate on.

One of the rules is that they don’t get to ask why I said something.  I don’t have to justify myself to a child.  I’m mom – that’s why. I know more than they do and I’m smarter than they are and think about more than they think about.  My decisions are based on reason and logic, but I’m not writing a thesis paper.  I don’t have to defend my choices and my choices are not theories and cannot be treated as such.  “Mine is not to reason why…”  They’re total noobs at this whole life thing.  They don’t get promoted until later on in life.

They better listen too because I control the video game system.  So, they’re adopted.  It’s not an excuse to get what they want.  Whatever –  “adopted” doesn’t mean I have to make up for something that happened to them.  I’m not going to let them use that term for pity or to be spoiled, just like I won’t let it be used against them by the school system.

I guess now I just have to set up the boundaries with the service personnel in our lives.  They didn’t get to go to court with us and they’re still in the habit of treating me like I have to answer to them.  I need to get it straight in my own brain that I don’t have to answer to them either.





Caution: busy day ahead

21 07 2009

I can’t believe we’re less than 3 weeks away from school starting.  May and June were crazy months and thank goodness we’ve been able to have a quiet July.  My goal in July was to bore the crap out of the kids so that they’d be excited to go back to school.  I don’t think it’s worked yet… they seem happy to sleep in until 9 am, hang out in pj’s, and watch PBS.

I found out yesterday that the charter school Alyssa will be going to did get their pre-K charter.  I called up and they had lost Ethan’s paperwork (not surprising since his name dramatically changed with the adoption) but they did go ahead and put him on the waiting list.  It would be the best possible thing for him to be able to go to pre-K there.  Otherwise, I’m going to homeschool him during pre-K.  He’s one of those kids that does not do well in a normal school environment.  He’s not quite ADHD like LJ is but if there are other kids around who are not focused, then he won’t settle.  His brain works a lot like mine – he absorbs info, files it away as irrelevant at the moment, gets bored, then creates trouble.  So, I’ll file his paperwork with them today so that hopefully he’ll get in soon.

For Alyssa to get admission, I had to register her under her old name during the last school year.  There are only a certain number of spots available and it’s further broken down by the child’s primary language.  It’s a dual-immersion English/Spanish school and they also teach Mandarin Chinese.  Hopefully it will challenge her enough to keep her out of trouble.  Pre-K for her was like a lesson in futility.  She already knew EVERYTHING they were teaching the other kids (she’s on a 1st grade level) and decided that meant everyone else was stupid and she was therefore in charge.  With some kids, they do that and get this air of bravado and adults think “he’s going through that arrogant stage.”  With her, she really does believe that we’re all here to serve her and suggesting otherwise  does not compute.  Of course, she is smart and beautiful which means people DO line up to give her things.  She had talked her teachers into giving her 3 lunches a day, THREE!, letting her roll around in the dirt during recess, taunting other children, and basically acting like we will not let her act at home.  It’s all ok with them because she’s cute and smart and gives you those big green puppy dog eyes.  All this does is reinforce the thought that she’s a superior being stuck in a smaller body.  Or something.

There’s a reason my kids act like civilized human beings.  I don’t fall for the BS and I have no fear of saying no.  I don’t use fear or intimidation to keep them in line, they just know the expectations and they know I’m not going to back off of them.  This does mean we talk a lot about the meaning of words like upset, disappointed, unhappy, discussion, responsibility, and who is in charge.  We can actually eat a meal in a sit-down restaurant with the kids.

LJ will be going to the school across the street from us.  He didn’t get accepted into the charter school, and that’s probably for the best.  He didn’t walk or talk until he was 5 and he’s still behind in language and social skills.  Because he was non-verbal, his test scores showed that he was mentally retarded and he was held back a grade and stuck in special ed.  There’s nothing wrong with that because he did need to learn the basics but he has made so many strides since then that you’d never guess he wasn’t always “normal.”  He was in a regular class last year and recieved speech therapy and social skills therapy several times a week.  This year, he’ll still receive services, but they’ll be integrated into the class so he doesn’t get singled out or pulled away from class.

I really hope he gets a young, active teacher this year.  Last year we had all sorts of trouble with his teacher.  He needs someone interactive – not someone who hovers and scowls.  Doing that puts him on defense and he retreats into his fantasy world.  Then everyone who wants to play ball during recess is stealing his stuff and every time someone bumps into him in line means they’re deliberately trying to knock him down and get him into trouble.  This causes meltdowns and tantrums.  Then he’s scared to go back to class because he knows that’s not a “good reaction” so he does stuff to get sent out of class.  Things like picking his nose until it bled so he could go to the nurse’s.  Making himself throw up.  Stomping on another kid’s foot.

When we figured out what was happening, we started playing games at home during homework.  When learning was a happy thing and he felt safe doing it he immediately started getting better.  He was making 30’s and 40’s before we started and after he was getting 90’s and 100’s.  Still, we couldn’t convince the teacher that he’s not a bad kid – he’s a scared kid.  She didn’t see anything wrong with her methods and would tell me “I have 20 kids in that classroom!”  20?  Really?  That’s all… huh.  That’s a TINY class.

Anyways, I have to register all three for school today since their names, birth certificates, and social security numbers have all changed. So I need to get them all ready to go while I fill out the paperwork here.  Thank God that it’s all online and all I have to do is print it out.

I also need to run to the post office.  We made a sale on Etsy!  Yay!  I also had a book mooched on BookMooch, so I need to send it out.  After all that, we’ll be back home and do lunch, then they get naptime and I get to list some more lace on Etsy.  If I get a chance, I need to go out in the garage and get a coat of primer on the keys.  Shaun’s going to do the metallic paint for me since he’s got a steadier hand and has more experience with oil-based enamels than I do. I also need to clean the bird cage, our bathroom, and my workstation.

The kids are up and the boys are already in trouble, so it sounds like time for breakfast!  Have a happy Tuesday, everyone!





Lots of work to do, no money to be found

19 07 2009

I know that on Sundays you aren’t supposed to worry about work.  Let it all wait until Monday and just take some time to relax.  Right…

I’d been joking for a few months about going to work at Hooters to get a little extra cash flow.  When the adoption went through, we lost about $1k a month in income because we didn’t want to wait for the special needs waiver to go through on A.  It would have put the adoption off for another 8 months or so and from experience we’ve learned that a lot can go wrong in 8 months.  LJ’s had gotten approved two days before we signed intent to adopt but being A is younger, we didn’t have enough documentation to get the rubber stamp.  It was better to just get the adoption finalized even without getting the special needs care she qualifies for.  We did, however, get federal Medicaid on all the kids until they’re 19 or out of high school.  It covers mental health treatments and that’s what we needed to ensure.

Note to potential adoptive parents:  make sure you get the adoption assistance.  It’s wounding to the pride, but you’re gonna need it and use it.

Back to Hooters.  I found out today that I can’t work there because I don’t meet protocol – tattoos are out of dress code.  Damn, that means I may have to find work where I use my IQ instead of my T&A.

Unless I find somewhere I can flex-work or work part time, work just isn’t a viable option yet.  I say yet, but the truth of it is that I’ll probably never be “cured.”  Shaun has intermittent FMLA leave enacted in his job because the next migraine could literally kill me.  Reading that on paper scared the crap out of me, even though I knew it.  The MVP puts me at a higher risk of stroke, syncope, and fatal arrythmias.  Being the migraines are severe enough to take out my vision and I often can’t keep anything down, dehydration is a major risk.  Not enough blood running through the heart equals regurgitation and syncope.

I want to just scream that it’s not fair.  I’m 28!  I’m one of the smartest, most talented people in the workforce (mathmatically speaking,) I have the will and want to work – but I can’t.  I can’t even lift my head some days.  When I feel like that though, I verbally tell myself to shut up.  One of the kids I went to school with just died from cancer this past week.  He wasn’t one of my friends, but we ran with the same crowd.  Well, as much as a socially-impared art geek can run with a crowd. I’m blessed beyond belief.

I think I’m just feeling older than my age.  Wednesday, I have an appt with the OBGYN to start talking about a hysterectomy.  Friday is Shaun’s and my 10 year anniversary.  September is the 10 year high-school reunion.  I have three kids, ages 9, 5, and 4.  Two of them have PTSD and the laundry list of abuse related and drug-exposure related mental illnesses.  The last one is trying his hand at tantrums, but doesn’t have the stamina to keep up the 4 hour fits his sister is capable of.

The kids keep bringing up in therapy that they’re scared because I’m sick and they don’t want to lose another mom.  I can tell them again and again that it’s just a headache, but they know.  Kids are really good at not accepting bullshit and I’m really terrible at lying.  I don’t believe I’m going to die but I do believe that I’ll probably battle this well into my 90s. I grew up taking care of my mom through the same thing and I’m a productive member of society.

Some days are great and I feel like I did before I got sick… or until the sickness that I was born with caught up with me enough to take me down.  I have energy.  I laugh and smile.  My grammar doesn’t suck.  I have patience and want to conquer the world. I think about another child.

Yesterday was one of those days.  We went out with the kids to thrift stores and antique stores.  We picked up some pipes for Shaun to restore.  I got some $3 keyboards at Goodwill to modify and some clock parts.  We spent the kids’ Toys’r’Us gift card and their McDonalds gift card.  It was beautiful and sunny and great.

This morning was the same way, but a bad night’s sleep and too much caffeine caught up with me around 4 pm.  I got out and cleaned the wheels and chrome on my Durango now that the local road work is done.  I started teaching A how to work the shower since she’s going to start school in 3 weeks.  I took apart one of the keyboards and started cleaning it and sanitizing it.  We had pizza with the big family at Mom’s and the cousins all got to play and we made hand puppets out of paper bags.  I finally gave the digital picture frames back to my dad (one we couldn’t set up without an SD card port… blah) and set up the one for my mom.  I sorted through jewelry with my sister and stole some of her stuff.  The stupid gate at the family’s place was deactivated so we didn’t have to wait to be buzzed in.

Around the time Mom went to church with Grandma, I was a snippy bitch.  I even snapped at my mom.  I snapped at the kids for singing Spongebob’s “idiot friends” song.  I came home and took a bath, finished a stupid book, and tried to steady myself with working on fixing a flatbed scanner.  What I should have done is taken a shot of Zomig.

Now I’m going to attempt to sleep it off after I get Cali cleaned up.  Nola got pissy and and started a fight.  It looks like Cali lost a toenail.  Shaun’s putting the kids in bed and I’ve got the cameras charging so I can download the photos in the morning.

I don’t know who is harder to raise: children or German Shepherds.  They’re all too damn smart for their own good.





Etsy, social networking, and lost dictionaries

9 07 2009

I’ve been slowly getting things up on Etsy.  I want everything to be perfect.  That means taking pictures, cropping, editing, and all the while writing down ideas that come from the air whenever something creative is going on.

If you want to see the etsy page with just two items listed, it’s here:  Ballew Family Artisans

I have tissue packs that say “Do not open unless for tears of joy” that need to be photographed and put up next.  Then I have some vintage toys and jewelry…  you know how it goes.

I’m also getting antsy now that the summer break is half over.  Soon, the kids will be back in school and me and E-man will have the day to ourselves while I’m not driving the taxi.  LJ and A won’t be going to the same school, so it will be quite the taxicab.

I’ve been a SAHM for over a year now and it’s freaky.  It’s good, it’s just abnormal.  I’ve never been without a job for so long.  Like a job where I got to get in the car and go somewhere else for several hours at a time.  It’s nice because I can do things around here the way I like them, but when it comes down to it, I’m not good at the home-ec stuff.  If I can’t program it or hack it, then I’m not good at it.  I can’t garden worth a shit.  I can’t sew or knit or any of that.  I’m a halfway decent cook but I really dislike cooking.  I’m decent at cross-stitch but that’s only because you can count it out a like little pre-computer ASCII art project.

And now we’re back to the idea of work.  I need SOMETHING to keep me from going brain-dead and I also don’t want industry to run off without me while I’m playing at home-ec.  Really, I just want the kids to have a mom at home when they are.  They may not want to be close to me all day, but they like the freedom of playing in their rooms or reading or beating the new DS game.  I like it too – I always learned more when I had time just to screw around.

So I joined Etsy and I signed up on LinkedIn.  I already have a Facebook page and a Myspace page I never, ever log in to.  LinkedIn is a strange site.  It’s not built… to be user friendly.  It’s like a technology test to see if you’re astute enough to actually use it because none of the buttons are in places you’d think to put them and all the links are vague.  Plus, they want you to pay to see other people’s profiles.  Um, no.  I’ll put it up there so I have a consistent web presence, but I’m not going to pay to see other people’s consistent web presence.

Seriously – Google me.  There are two Cynthia Dollins in the entire US of A.  I’m the one that DIDN’T write the book on academics and I’ve never been a professor of anything.  I’m the one that wrote the professional learning techniques article and the one that wrote the spiritual oneness article that shows up on all the pagan webpages.  (Which I think is very odd and very cool at the same time.)

Social networks make you define yourself in new and masochistic ways.  What is my specialty?  Um.  Being a geek.  You can’t get up on the web and claim to be a hacker because people think that’s illegal.  They’re thinking that you bust internet security.  No, crackers break security.  Hackers build shit from shit that used to do different shit.  Also, saying anything about hacking or modding anything brings tons of little punk ass teenagers who want to talk about your notoriety or what programming languages you use.

*sigh*

So what do I do?  Um… I solve problems.  Don’t ask me how because I don’t know yet.  First you have to have a problem.  Then I need the context around your problem and access to your system.  Then I need some coffee and some chocolate and some alone time.  I’ll let you know if I need something else.

Really, that’s all I do.  I make people’s lives easier.  That’s a good one, but again, hard to define.

Let’s see.  I have to be more skilled than that.  Oh, I know:  I’m great at pissing off developers.  I’m not a code monkey – I don’t care if it’s beautiful and poetic behind the user-interface.  I want it to actually fucking work.

If I click this, it’s supposed to do that.  If it does that by doing this other thing, turning that date code to zero, and fucks up all my reports, you are going to have a problem. When it comes to software engineering – you should always expect one fix to cause at least seven other problems.  The artistry comes in making the fix not trigger those other grenades.  It’s possible, it just may not be pretty.

I don’t want to form a meeting of all the beta testers and their supervisors and the developers and their supervisors so I can tell you your link is screwed.  I want your little pale ass to come over to my computer station (or link up with me on a web conference) and see what happens when you click the link.  This way, I can with my finger point at the computer screen and go THAT ONE. This is so that you, as a developer, don’t go and break a link that worked just fine because the naming convention was off.

Um, I also translate geek to human and then from human to sales.  That’s talent, right there!  You could not count the number of times I’ve been pulled into offices to translate.  Developers, project managers, BIS, analysts, middle management, service personnel, sales personnel, and upper management all have different languages.  They’re all talking about the same thing but with the lingo, they don’t know it and suddenly there’s a huge fight and everyone is mad and doubts the other folk’s intellect, and managers are being called and it’s a big cluster fuck.  This is where I come in.  You tell me what you want.  Now you, and then you.

Here’s a way you can all understand it and who is doing what.  *everyone nods*  Here’s what’s going to happen in two weeks.  Here’s what’s going to happen in the mean time.  Here’s who does NOT need to be involved.  Once everyone is happy and shaking hands, my work is done.

How do you define that?

I think in another year, I’ll be ready to head back into the fray.  Right now, I’m still a little too hot about it.  I only got mild heartburn while recalling the events above.  I feel things a little too strongly and my main value is in diffusing high stress situations but adrenaline can only take you so far.  If you keep going after burn-out, alcohol, drugs, and other misguided decisions lay on the other end of the spectrum. You don’t believe me?  Ask people who look 10 or 15 years older than me how old they are.  What?  Only 5 years?  Yeah, buddy.  Hard living shows on your body.

Everyone knows how to define a burn-out.

And no one is going to admit to it on social networking sites.





Racial adoption?

6 07 2009

I wrote this post a few days ago, but didn’t publish it because I was still a bit worked up about the article.  Now, instead of angry about it, I’ve settled down to a “be happy in the skin you’re in” kind of mood.

I think this race issue has been beaten into the ground.  We have a shared human race experience and so what if our skin tones don’t match up?  Generation Y doesn’t get why people get so worked up about skin color or nationality, largely in part because of the internet.  Hopefully the next generation will settle into being comfortable and happy with who they are.  If not, we’ll all just have to keep fucking until the whole world is brown.

So, the post I wrote with some parts deleted due to emotional idiocy.

From this article:

“In many cases, it [the pressure to be a mother] begins to set up feelings of unworthiness, poor self-esteem and the feeling that ‘I’m not fully a woman,’ ” Oliver says.

That pressure can cause some African-American women to rush into a marriage with a man they should not partner with, says Kenyatta Morrisey, a 34-year-old mother of three adopted children in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Really?  White women too.  Also, biracial and multiracial women.  Um, so do Native American women and basically women who live in… like, planet Earth.  Ever read the Bible?  Women who weren’t proven “breeders” could be divorced (and worse) without repercussion.

Women who have vaginas are pressured to have babies.

And we read further:

Yet there are some single African-American women who are not emotionally ready to adopt an African-American child who is too dark, some adoption agency officials say.

Fair-skinned or biracial children stand a better chance of being adopted by single black women than darker-skinned children, some adoption officials say.

“They’ll say, ‘I want a baby to look like a Snickers bar, not dark chocolate,’ ” Caldwell, founder of Lifetime Adoption, says about some prospective parents.

“I had a family who turned a baby down because it was too dark,” she says. “They said the baby wouldn’t look good in family photographs.”

So according to CNN not even black people want black babies anymore but there are associations against white people (or people who look white) adopting black/white transracially.  Apparently everyone these days wants their kid looking kinda Starbucks-latte-add-a-shot colored. How’s that for inappropriate skintone comparisons?

You know what?  My kids weren’t adopted by the foster parent they’d been with for two years because they were white.  They weren’t removed because their social worker was looking to reunite them with their race (or people who looked like their race.)  They were removed because the only woman they ever knew as mom was black and didn’t want to adopt white kids.  This is in their paperwork – seriously.  This is on paper.  They were removed when my daughter learned her Crayola colors and said “Mom, why are you brown and I’m pink?”

When we did our homestudy, you should have seen the caseworker give me the stink-eye when the race question came up.  I had marked that we wanted a black or bi-racial sibling group because not one baby born to my siblings has turned out white, there’s plenty of media on these dark-skinned kids getting split up, and we believed it would make the transition easier overall. I thought those were good reasons, right?  We even met a whole lot of kids who were legally free for adoption – who still haven’t been adopted – where we turned in our homestudy to ask for consideration and were turned down.

Instead, we were asked to “consider” legal-risk foster-to-adopt of two school age Caucasian girls and we did.  That didn’t work out so hot and we took placement of A&E, then found L (one of their bio siblings) in a group home.  After nearly three years and more court than I’ve ever wanted to be in and more heartache than I ever wanted to go through we’ve finally adopted.

<deleted a whole bunch of ranting no one really wants to read>

Seriously, the media has to stop playing the race issue.  More and more our cultural heritage comes from our socio-economic status.  White people live in the projects and black people live in the trailer parks* these days.  Everyone is having a tough time.  Don’t we have actual news to report on?

* To make the housing reference really clear:  it’s said that white people live in trailer parks because they don’t like sharing walls with other people and black people live in apartments because they’d rather deal with people than tornadoes.  I think it has to do more with urban vs. rural living, but hey, that’s the story I get.





Girl Stuff

1 07 2009

Dudes may not want to read this post. Fair warning.

I finally called the doctor today about getting my uterus removed.  It’s pretty useless to have a reproductive organ that doesn’t actually reproduce, but now it’s trying to kill me.  I still had that stupid, stupid hope that somehow after or during the adoption, something would magically happen to get me pregnant.

But now I have three kids and they’re mine like, forever, and stuff.

I just know that it would be dumb of me to wait as long as my mom did to get rid of this nuisance.  It’s another fun part of my great genetics – not only do I not ovulate, my body missed the memo on how during my period, I’m only supposed to lose a small amount of the lining that builds up.

When my sister finally had to have hers taken out after a failed ablation, then infection, the doctor was just flummoxed.  It happened to my mom in her 30’s too – it just won’t stop bleeding. I’ve been tested for von Willebrand’s, my sister was tested for hemmoragic infection, and all our horomone levels have been checked like 100 times.  There’s just something wrong that makes no sense.

I was in the bath for like 45 mins last night and soaked a super-plus tampon and when I pulled it out, it was like pulling the plug in a bathtub.  I seriously grossed myself out for the first time in forever. Then this morning, I woke up covered in blood like some weird pyscho horror movie.  At least the way I was laying, it didn’t get on the light color sheets – that happened last month and I’m sure our mattress pad could do without any more stains.

I’ve reached the point of not hoping for any miracles.  My 3 babies are miracle enough, even though they didn’t come from this fucked up uterus and I’ll never know what they were like as infants.  I’m giving up thinking of embryo adoption or even trying other treatments that we didn’t get to before the migraines started.  I’m giving up on hoping that my sister will donate her eggs, because mine suck when my body does decide to ovulate.

Why am I so upset?  It’s not like I WANT a 4th child or even feel an overwhelming need to be pregnant.  I saw how hard it was on my sister and her birth to her son was way more than enough to want me to ever give birth.  It’s just a chapter of my life that’s officially over.  I’m no longer in the process of family-building.  Now, I’m part of a family.

God, when you said fearfully and wonderfully made, why’d you forget my uterus?