Monday, October 15, 2012

Family Update

Sigh...Where does time go?

We've had even more changes around here and life is so much busier that I don't have time for my blogs the way I used to.  I went back to work full time and am still trying to get a morning and afternoon routine together.  My mornings are extremely rushed getting Daniel on the bus on time and Tic-Tac to daycare 3 days a week, then over the mountain to work, all by 8:45.  Two days a week Troy now stays home with Tic-Tac since his back injury.  Troy is no longer working pending back surgery.  We have an appointment with the surgeon for a final consult before they schedule surgery December 10th.  I'm nervous the surgery is going to make Christmas a mess so I've already started ordering gifts so that we (or just me) are not out trying to get everything done while Troy is in the hospital.

Troy is an enormous help around the house doing the things he is able to do and the role reversals are suiting us for the moment.  Daniel is flourishing under his dad's care all the time, so much so that I've become second best and Daniel is always looking for his dad!!  I don't mind, I think it's actually a pretty natural progression and Troy assures me he was the same way when he was a kid and my husband ADORES his mother, so I'm enjoying the bit of freedom that comes with this as far as Daniel goes.  Don't worry, Daniel and I are getting plenty of one on one time together.  We're reading before bed "Mickey See the USA" a VERY OLD book my dad read with me as a child.  We just finished the Piratepedia and now Daniel and I know way more about pirates than we ever needed to know!!

Tic-Tac is also flourishing and coming into his own.  We're thanking God everyday that Tic-Tac remains with us.  We love him so.  Things are not always easy, but we know they are worth it even if Tic-Tac goes home. He's gained weight, learned many new skills and knows he's constantly loved and cared for.  We have some minor medical questions, and lots of developmental questions about him, but nothing we can't overcome or would prevent us from becoming permanent to him.  Oh how I wish I could share his story and get advice from all the great friends I have since all of us have dealt with so many different situations with how our children came to us.

We could really use prayers for all of us right now.  We've been juggling and making changes in the family with everything that has been going on.  Mostly we need prayers for Troy's back.  We were hoping for a much quicker surgery date but our hospital is way behind.  We're also hoping that after surgery he finally gets some relief and can eventually go back to work.

Other than those things, we're plugging along like any normal family, enjoying our weekends, playing outside, going to birthday parties and otherwise keeping ourselves entertained!

Oh yeah - the infamous first tooth finally came out thanks to the adult tooth that was almost all the way in as you can see!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An Overdue Update

I realized a few days ago that I was long overdue for a post!  So much has been going on and having two children has really changed our lives.

An update on Daniel:

Daniel has been doing well.  We do feel like we are finally seeing some reaction to adding Tic-Tac to our family.  It’s been little in a big way.  Small remarks here and there, like just the other day when I told Daniel I couldn’t Beyblade battle right then because I had to lay Tic-Tac down and he commented “Yeah…because mom’s always have to take care of the babies.”  Remarks like those, let me know that he is being effected and that we need to be sure he is getting what he needs from us.

Daniel started school and while he loves school, we’ve had so many snafus in just the first week.  He fell off the bus, tripped over a friend in gym and smashed his face and smeared it across the gym floor (all in one day), fell asleep on the bus after school and missed his stop, and the teacher told me he seems to be more interested in everything else except packing his bag up at the end of the day.  Just yesterday we packed his lunch (at HIS request) and then he bought a lunch and brought home the ruined food.  I’m hoping this is just all part of the getting back to school routine and that this won’t last. 

Daniel has also entered the world of video games.  We limit his time, and when his time is up, he’s none too happy with us.  This is a very new phase for him, but I hope he gets over his attitude soon!!  On the other hand, we’re teaching him Super Mario Brothers (yes, the really OLD version!) and I’m enjoying it. 
Finally, if you didn’t see it already on Facebook, Daniel’s kidney has almost completely healed.  This is truly a miracle as even the urologist was speechless when he reviewed the scans!!  He said “You’re obviously doing something right,”  to which I responded with, “Prayer”.  We do still have to deal with the wetting (leaking), but now we know why – I’ll save the medical terminology for another post.  The good news is that he goes to the bathroom, because if he doesn’t he could blow his kidney back up.  So, for now we have yearly scans (non-invasive) and follow up appointments with the urologist and nephrologist, just to be sure everything is safe!!  The nephrologist even said she’d like to study Daniel for education purposes, because she was thrilled with the kidney healing, but even she admitted it wasn’t worth it to put him through any more invasive tests, to which we totally agreed!!

An update on Tic-Tac:

He’s doing well!  We know at this point, that he will remain a member of our family until at least January.  Things are complicated, but at the same time easy.   I can’t explain further, but maybe one day I will be able to.

He is still cutting teeth and always gets congested when he does.  We’ve been to the doctor numerous times, been on several antibiotics and have been up late at night snuggling with a baby that feels bad. 

In the interim, he’s stopped combat crawling and now crawls on all fours.  Thump, thump and he’s quick!  I love it!!  He’s pulling up and now trying to walk around things by holding on. 

Food is going better.  We’ve quit all baby food and are just feeding regular food.  I’m a pro at smashing everything.  He loves potatos, bread, and peant butter crackers.  He is not a fruit or vegetable eater, but we keep trying.  He’s gained 7 pounds in 3 short months!  Noone can believe he’s the same boy.  I wish I could show some photos of his hair.  It used to be straight and short, now it’s all come in and it’s curly and long and Troy says he looks like a mini Einstein!!  We do need to get it cut, but I love those baby curls.  I brush the curls up and back and Troy smoothes them down.   It’s a fun competition we have ging on!!

An Update on Troy:

It’s looking like back surgery may be in the future.  I’m really worried and I would appreciate some prayers. 

An Update on Me:

Hmmm…see above for everyone else!!  I have no idea what I’m doing most days anymore, I just take it as it comes!!

Finally a few photos to break up the monotony of my updates!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Daniel Turned Six!

I blinked and Daniel turned 6 in June!!  I'm late posting this, and it seems like I barely have time to turn around much lately.  Between swimming lessons, karate, and Tic-Tac, things are non-stop!!  Daniel tests for his yellow belt this coming Monday!!

Here are some fun photos from his birthday party!!

In other news, Tic-Tac is doing wonderfully!!  We now have top teeth pushing through, he can sit up on his own, he has started pulling up (only a few times) and he "talks" non-stop!!  We even see some personality coming out now!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Foster-To-Adopt Timeline

I thought I would share a very loose, generic look at a typical foster-to-adopt timeline for those that aren't familiar.  This is our basic understanding and this is most likely not exact or perfect.  We are also in Virginia, and I'm sure it varies from state to state.    

Some acronyms:

DSS - Department of Social Services
CPS - Child Protective Services

Step 1:  Receive phone call from DSS asking if you are willing to accept a particular child.  Not much information is given at this time and you have to make an almost immediate decision.

Step 2:  CPS Officer arrives with child (sometimes within minutes of the initial phone call)!

Step 3:  Court Hearing within the first week to determine that child should remain in foster care.  Case is still a CPS case.  This is the earliest a child usually would be removed from foster and given back to their birthparents.

Step 4:  Court Hearing within 30 days of removal to determine that child should remain in foster care, (at this point the case is handled by a foster care worker and is no longer a CPS case) or be returned to the birthparents.

Step 5:  Court hearing at the 75 day mark or 45 days from the Step 4 Court Hearing.  This hearing puts a plan in motion and is an order to the birthparents and foster parents on what they need to be doing.  Foster parents are ordered to continue to provide a safe, loving home.  Birthparents may be ordered to do many things like take a parenting class, get a job, clean the home, and/or go to rehab. 

Step 6:  Within 6 months of the Step 5 Court Hearing a Foster Care Review Hearing should be set up to report the progress of the birthparents.

Step 7: Within 5 months of the Foster Care Review Hearing a Permanency Review Hearing will be held.  This hearing can be held sooner if the plan can be reached sooner.

Step 8: If the permanency plan is for adoption then foster parents may move forward.  There may be additional review hearings until adoption is complete (every 6 months)

In order to adopt, the child must have been in the adoptive parents home for at least 6 months.  We are of the understanding that this back-dates to the date of the initial placement of the child in our home.  So even if parental rights are terminated in the final steps, the 6 month goal would have been met at this point and you can petition for adoption.   

Next up:  What we've been up to, including Daniel's 6th Birthday!!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Disney World, Sea World, Islands of Adventure - 2012 Vacation!

We had an amazing time on vacation!!  We headed to Kissimmee, FL and stayed the week with plans to visit all the parks we really wanted to see!

We started with a long, long drive Saturday, followed by a visit to Downtown Disney on Sunday!!  Here we enjoyed eating at the Rainforest Cafe, playing and purchasing at the Lego Store (can we say AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and having a good time!!

Monday we headed to Sea World and we had a blast!!  Daniel loved the dolphins and the whales the most!  We even sat in the splash zone during the Shamu show and got soaked!!  Daniel rode the Shamu coaster and Cassandra (my sis) and I rode the Cracken!!  We saw plenty of other shows and had a great time.  I highly recommend Sea World as a must see for the kids!!

Tuesday we headed to the Magic Kingdom and had a magic day!  Daniel did great - he walked from 8:45 am to about 9:00 pm.  He refused a stroller and insisted on keeping up with us.  We rode everything in sight, except Space Mountain, which I wasn't comfortable putting him on just yet, even though he meets the height requirement.  He especially LOVED the Haunted Mansion and the Pirates ride!!  We never waited more than 20 minutes for a ride!!  We watched the electrical parade and made it back to a porch of a building to watch the night time castle show and the fireworks.  It was here I noticed Daniel could barely control his body movements and he was saying silly things we couldn't understand.  I picked him up and he fell sound asleep in the matter of an instant on my shoulder.  I sat on the porch and Troy laid a blanket over us and Daniel slept through the fireworks.  He never even budged during the loud booms!!  Troy took lots of pictures to show Daniel the next day!!

 Do you see how tired he is!!!!  He tends to hold my hair when he's exhausted!!

Wednesday was an easy day for us and we visited my mom at her campground and old friends came to visit.  It was great to see them, including a very old friend of mine that I used to play with when I was young and when we lived in Orlando.  I got to take my family by my old house and show them my elementary and middle schools.  Daniel spent the night with my mom while we headed back to the condo.

Thursday Troy, Cassandra, Brett and I headed to Islands of Adventure to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!  Cassandra is 13 years younger than I am and when she read Harry Potter as a young teen she begged me to read it with her.  I did and got hooked so this was great fun for the two of us to experience together!  We rode the rides, drank butterbeer and had a great time.  Cassandra and I also braved all the other coasters in the park, including the Hulk and one that shoots you straight up and back down!!   I came home with Luna's second wand and a Gryffindor keychain!!

During our trip we were called by dss and asked to accept 2 little boys into our home.  We said yes and my in-laws were helping to do some final preparations for us at home, while we were away.  It didn't pan out, so we're hoping for the best for the little ones and waiting for the next call.

I'll be posting on my other blog, some tips and tricks for a frugal trip to some of the places we went in a few days!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

4 Years a Family!

Yesterday marks the fourth anniversary of our court date in Russia and when the Judge said yes, entrusting to us one special little boy! Since it was so late in the afternoon, we could not pick him up that day (our 10 days were waived), so we had to wait one more day!

Troy and I were so tired from our long day and 4 hours in court (that were pleasant, but long) and we celebrated with an exciting PB&J for dinner in our room!! We laughed that Daniel was already on a sleepover and then we barely slept anticipating and packing our things to pick up Daniel and fly back to Moscow.

Oh how I miss that sweet little baby boy we picked up. But oh how I love the little man he's grown into!


and Now....

Friday, April 6, 2012

Introducing "The Furious Eleven"

This was too fun not to share!!

I came home from work yesterday and was introduced to "The Furious Eleven". Daniel and Troy worked hard making a crime fighting crew and Daniel named them appropriately!!

Alas, I shall make you wait no longer....

This neat guy below, Daniel created all his own and is named Duckie Dodo - he is the fixer of all the machines of "The Furious Eleven"!
This fellow below is Spider and he is a "guard" in the words of Daniel and "protects" "The Furious Eleven"!
No name yet for this guy - any suggestions?!?!?
Daniel is quite the builder and can play for hours building blocks quietly. I'm one lucky mom, in more ways than one!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Catching Up

No time to post when tax season rolls around. So in order to catch you up with our lives here is what we've been up to:

Daniel learns how to put brakes on my car. He officially knows more than I do about cars at this point!

Daniel learns how to check and change my car's oil. He now officially knows twice as much as I do about cars.

Daniel grows like a stink weed in March and April. He ate two PB&Js for lunch and rounded his day out with a whole can of Chicken and Stars soup. Is it wrong to wish you had your child's genes?!
We went and saw Monster Jam complete with taking a friend of Daniels' from Kindergarten who was excellently behaved. I think we proved to ourselves that we can handle more than one child at a time, which is a good thing since our foster care social worker called and wanted to know EXACTLY when we were returning from our upcoming vacation.

Troy found this completely awesome stuff for the bath called Squishy Baff. You add powder to the tub and it turns it to beads of goo and then you add a second powder to turn it back to liquid. Daniel loved it. I took a few photos and stayed out of the bathroom, claiming that Squishy Baff was a dad thing only, complete with a dad cleanup time!
Daniel is rocking out Kindergarten. He's aced all his Friday spelling tests and he's reading short books to us. Of course he's also reading everything else and we can't spell anything to each other anymore because Daniel sounds it all out. No more hiding the fact that we might go to the "p-o-o-l later". Daniel quickly yells "Pool".We've had a great couple of months and are looking forward to the end of tax season and a trip to Florida! When we return, it sounds like we'll have a foster placement right away. We'll keep everyone updated!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wow - Another Month Gone By! (Growing Boy & Bedroom Update)

I can't believe yet another month has gone by! Time sure is flying, which is good and bad at the same time. I need to remember to slow down and savor each moment a little more!

Daniel is still doing fabulous in Kindergarten! He's reading more and more and sounding out words on his own now. They are already doing addition and subtraction! Daniel's catching on quickly and while we have parent/teacher conferences next week, the teacher sent me a note home saying Daniel was doing just fine and she really didn't need to me at all, unless I wanted to come in. Since she's great with email, we are skipping the conference!

Daniel is also growing like crazy. Just this past month, he shot up another 1/2 inch! We told him last month, he needed to grow 3 inches by the time we went to Disney (he really doesn't - I think there is only one ride he can't ride). Apparently he took the request to heart and has been eating and growing to beat the band!! We are also dealing with growing pains in his legs, but not so severe, that often times he just needs the break of bed time and feels better in the morning.

In foster-to-adopt news, we attended our first PRIDE meeting, which stands for PARENT RESOURCES FOR INFORMATION, DEVELOPMENT, AND EDUCATION.

We learned a lot of things at the first meeting, including the conditions of some children when they are taken into care. It is truly heartbreaking to know how many children are neglected and mistreated and how severely. This path is not easy and I have to admit that we are a bit scared. Please pray for us as we continue through the classes. There are 7 in all and each week we have homework. Since all our paperwork is done, this week we had to create genograms of our families. Genograms are a little more complicated than family trees, but I think we did a good job.

Here is a recent picture of our growing boy - he LOVES tortellini with broccoli, chicken and cheese sauce. So much that he picked out the gigantic serving fork to eat with! Did we let him eat with it? You betcha - because I figure a silly dinner every now and then won't hurt!!
Lastly, here is the mostly completed bedroom for our special child/children. I really don't like saying "foster" child all the time because I don't want to label a child as such in our home. I need to come up with some other way! I still have a few things a corner of the room to go through and to wash the baby bedding (in case) and then we're finished.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Moving Forward - Update on Timing & A Bedroom

We have decided to sit back, relax and let the road to becoming licensed to foster wind it's way in front of us. Those of you who know me best, must know how hard this is on me. It's not that I have to have a placement right away, it's just that once I start something, I want to finish it right away. It also makes me crazy to hurry up...and then wait. However, I should be familiar with that concept after Daniel's adoption!!

However, at this point, I'll be heading into tax season at work and then right after (as in the week after it ends) we are headed to Florida for a trip to Disney World, Islands of Adventure and Sea World.

Since initially we thought we would be done and possibly have a placement as early as December or this month, we were preparing to take an additional child to Disney. Since it's not going to happen, we are prepared to tell our workers (should they decide to move forward suddenly) that while we would love to finish the licensing requirements ASAP, that we will not take a placement until after my busiest work season and our trip to Disney.

A new child coming into your care is enough of an uproar without taking said child immediately on a trip. I can't even imagine the setback that could do with forming bonds and a safe and secure environment for them. Plus, we don't want them to think the we go to Disney all the time!!

This means when we return we can settle back down into our regular routine. I won't be working all five days and weekends and will be able to focus better on a new child and on adjusting our family to the new routines that we will undoubtedly have to fall into.

That being said, we are moving forward on fixing our guest/extra storage bedroom and turning it into a child's bedroom.

Since we don't know age (we specified 0-4) and since we don't know how many (we specified up to 2 children), we are keeping the double bed in the room and adding our crib (which can be converted to a toddler bed as well. If we find we don't need the crib, we'll remove it.

We'll be using Daniel's baby bedding and other saved items to finish the room off.

I've been sorting Daniel's toys and keeping some things in bins so I can easily pull them out and use them. We've even picked up some girl toys and sorted them into bins as well. Since my older sister has a 6 month old, she has promised to be on call and to "set me up" should we get an infant within hours of placement with things like bottles, etc. I've already received some cans of formula (not sure how long they last-will have to check on that) and one or two bottles to get started right away should we get an infant.

Here is a "before" picture of the room we'll be working on. Keep in mind, I've been using it to sort toys etc., so I have some work to do!! I'll update with a picture of the finished room soon!

Oh and in case you are wondering, Daniel wants a brother AND a sister! Oh boy!!!