Sunday, March 23, 2014

Smoothing out!

Things are smoothing out for the most part. Life is going forward. Just as I think we don’t have another appointment though, something comes up but I guess that’s life too.

I’ve been going to the chiropractor a couple of times a week to do “therapy” on my elbow. Apparently when I healed, it really tightened my tendons so I couldn’t straighten out my elbow at all. I have another 5-10% left to go to get it all the way to straight. I have full rotation now….whew! I can use it for the most part, just can’t extend it all the way to reach for something.

We’ve had the yucks too. Some of us didn’t go to church last Sunday but we are better now. Dave and Tawny didn’t go today but they are feeling much better this afternoon. I think we’ve hit the end of it.

Glad that is over.

As for Nehemiah and our “issue” on my last post……his mom has still not written him. Two of his grandmas have sent two of the kids birthday cards but sent directly to us. I know they’ve received the info about the correspondence protocol AND nothing for the younger five.

One of the kids’ caseworker’s complaint was that the parents wouldn’t follow the plan. Balked about everything. Wouldn’t attend required meetings. Etc. Now….they still aren’t following what has been established.

When….I mean really…when, will the family think of someone besides themselves!!! Nehemiah is hurt that he hasn’t heard a thing. He is thinking that either us, or his worker, is withholding mail from him (we aren’t, it was for the other kids and we won’t give it to them until they are much much older). They know the rules. They’ve been told more than once. Whether they like how we have to do this contact or not….it is about the kids and not about them.

We’ve had a couple of birthdays. Sofia turned 7 in February. She promised she’d be 6 for another year for us. LOL

Jeremiah turned 3 last Sunday. So now, the 2’s are gone too.

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Homeschooling is moving along. Now and again Adam says something about going to public school. I told him that God has called us otherwise so we’ll follow what He has called us to do. I leave it at that.

Jaime (18) and Donald (17) are going to teach soccer. Dennis (8) will be part of their team. Logan (4) will also be joining soccer this spring season. Our son-in-law, Robert, will be his coach. Practices start tomorrow and will be twice a week and games on Saturdays.

The youth group went tubing in February. Families were invited to go along so we took all the younger kids as well. Logan and Jeremiah weren’t too thrilled. They had to ride solo on their tubes, we weren’t warned to be sure they had goggles or something (we’d never been before). They were more than ready to come home. But we all had a blast!

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There’s a bit of an update for now.

Feeling blessed.

Vickie

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dilemma

So, I found out last night that Nehemiah has been getting up at night and contacting his birth mom.

I have found birth mom on Facebook. So I look in now and again (I’m sure most is set for private but not everything). Nehemiah has a FB page too, and I keep an eye on that as well (he’s not allowed on it so I keep a watch).

Imagine my shock last night when I scrolled thru some of her shared links and see a photo of Nehemiah, taken downstairs in our bathroom, using one of the other kid’s iTouches holding it up to the mirror!! (I’m guessing using facetime or some such thing).

I printed the photo….wrote BUSTED! across the top. Then on the bottom wrote, “Really Nehemiah? You know the deal we had with contact, and you agreed to our terms. This goes against all trust issues.” I then laid it face down on his bed (I haven’t seen him yet this morning).

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Our terms, as per the caseworker, is all contact is written and has to go via the caseworker’s office. We will send it to her, she will forward it. And any contact in return has to go the same route. All inappropriate mail will be discarded (or labeled for me to give when the kids are older)

Only Nehemiah and Adam are allowed contact at this time as per our request. The boys are not to let the other kids know they received and/or sent anything.

The caseworker and the boys agreed to these terms..

I thought I had set all electronics with password protection. I forgot to double check every one of them apparently. Partially my fault, but I trusted him/them/all the kids….to stay off the electronics and never get on the internet without my permission.

<Ugh> so at a dilemma as to what to do for punishment.

He’s allowed contact….may not be the way he wants, but is the way the caseworker said it had to be until we finalize, or whatever timeframe we set after that date.

He agreed to the terms.

We told him until he was 18. He said, “Cool! I can deal with that.”

Apparently NOT!!!

It isn’t so much the contact that has me upset (although that can get us AND her in trouble).

It is the trust.

The promises broken.

Lines crossed.

I’m open to suggestions.

How would you handle a situation like this with your 15-year-old son?

Vickie

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I’m here! I’m here!

I’m not lost. I haven’t forgotten

Life has been busy adjusting to seven more kids into the family.

Within the first 30 days all the new kids are suppose to have vision, dental, well-child checks, and therapy set up.

It took over 30 days getting their medicaid cards (adoption perk is medicaid until they each turn 18). By then it was December and I put my foot down that December is busy enough without adding in all those appointments. So I scheduled appointments for January.

Since the kids have been doing so well…..we got permission to forego the therapy, for now, with a wait and see approach. Any problems, we are to schedule ASAP.

Fair enough. The kids were dreading the therapy more than anything else.

So January has been extremely busy. I did have a couple open days but Nehemiah (15) decided to punch a wall and got a boxer’s fracture. So we had to cut our anniversary plans and come home to spend the rest of the afternoon at the ER. Two days later (the only open day that week) we had to take him to the specialist in the big city. He fractured middle and ring fingers on his right hand right next to the growth plates.

Then two days later I slipped on the ice and fractured the radius ball in my left arm. I’m typing one handed now. I don’t have a cast. Nehemiah chose a hot pink cast.

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We had full intentions to put Nehemiah (15) and Adam (13) in public school because.

  1. We are technically suppose to put all the kids in public school until we finalize unless we have a waiver (we are waiting on that waiver).
  2. Nehemiah and Adam really wanted to go.
  3. It would bring more peace to our own homeschool with them not here for the majority of the day. Trying to do some school in November and December with them was a pain. Even some of the other kids wanted to go to public school because “school is not fun any more” because I spent too much time getting after those two boys and the 2- and 4-year-olds.

Well….the Lord had other plans. We planned to wait until winter break for public school was over and enroll them. It would be the beginning of second semester not coming in the middle/end of the first one, the holiday season was over, they were more settled, etc.

January 6th was the official enroll date. Some of the kids had eye appointments in the morning, then we’d have lunch and enroll the boys. Be done with that in time for the confirmation kids to get to class.

The eye appointment took way longer than is typical. We had a late lunch, less than an hour to kill before taking the kids to confirmation so we didn’t get them enrolled.

Tuesday, we had the specialist appointment for Nehemiah. He’d have had to miss school that day anyway.

Wednesday, we had snow and icy roads and warnings to not go out if not necessary. I didn’t feel it was necessary to enroll the boys that day.

Thursday, some of the other kids had eye appointments. After that we ran to the store, then we were to pick up the grandkids and bring them home for school. Right on their sidewalk, I slipped on the black ice.

I thought I had bruised myself pretty bad. But as I drove to pick up our other two students, I got to thinking/feeling that the pain was unlike any pain I’d ever felt before, so I began to suspect a break.

I drove to the shop and asked Brandy to take the kids and food home and have Dave drive me to the ER.

It took nearly three hours to get an x-ray! Sent me home with a sling.

Friday, well I just didn’t feel like going any where. I slept most of the day because of the pain in my arm.

I told the boys (actually on Thursday when I got home) that I feel that God is putting up road blocks trying to tell us to not put the boys in school.

Nehemiah said he’d do whatever God wanted us to do. Adam said he didn’t care what God wanted, he wanted to go to public school.

By Friday afternoon Adam came to me and said he agreed that God probably doesn’t want them in public school.

I told Adam that I am glad he agreed because, there is no way I was going against God’s will for us because, life would get much more miserable then that week had already been.

So….we haven’t enrolled them.

And you know, life has gone much more smoothly since we made that decision. I ordered their books right away. They have been trickling in. School has also gone much smoother than we were doing before the holiday season set in. Now to get thru January and the rest of the appointments and onto a more steady schedule.

We are getting there one day at a time by the grace of God.

Have a fantabulous day!!

God’s Blessings

Vickie

Friday, November 15, 2013

They are home!

I know there are a few of you waiting on news……here’s the update.

THE NEW KIDS ARE HOME!!!

So let me back up and tell you how it went.

We finally got all the paperwork between the states, all that was required to complete the packet, arrangements made with foster parents and scheduled to meet the kids Friday, October 25; with official placement happening November 4th.

We did still need to do the staffing calls with the foster parents, the kids’ worker, our worker, worker supervisors, etc.

We decided to leave a week early and we told all involved that we’d pull over and do the staffing calls while on the road. They kept us posted via text and phone calls.

So…we left October 16th and headed to Alabama to visit Travis and family. Because yahoo maps and reality are different….we got to their house Saturday the 19th instead of Friday the 18th. Missed a whole day visiting with them plus we were not able to stop and visit my Aunt along the way since we were a day behind.

We visited with Travis and family from Saturday, late afternoon until Tuesday morning. We had loads of fun.

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Ryann and Samantha are getting so big. They are so smart (they are in advanced classes in school).

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While there, we got a tour of the base and air field. Went to the Air Museum. We went to church with them as well. It was a great service and felt so good to be in church with Travis and family again. It has been awhile.

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Tuesday we headed to New Orleans. Dave helped with the Katrina clean up in 2005. He wanted to check out the changes in the past eight years. So we spent the night in New Orleans.

This is the sunset over Lake Pontchatrain as we came in.

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Driving through New Orleans is a harrowing experience!!!

Oh my word!!!!

Wednesday morning we headed south to Venice and on down the peninsula. I thought it would be an hour drive or so. By the time we got down there and back up to New Orleans, it was five hours!

We were suppose to make it to Jason’s house for the night. Yeah…that didn’t happen. We told him we wouldn’t be there until midnight or so and decided to meet another day.

So we headed north to Shreveport area. I was never so happy to leave an area as I was to leave New Orleans.

I won’t say “never” but I hope to never return to New Orleans again!!!

We made it to just the other side of Shreveport about 3am. We pulled over and slept in the van. Then headed on into Ft. Worth and our hotel on Thursday.

We were suppose to meet the kids Thursday after school and then pick them up for the weekend Friday after school.

All those plans changed as we traveled.

So….we picked up the oldest at his school and brought him with us to pick up the three little ones.

Instead of a meet and greet…it was a meet and let’s go type of thing.

Then Friday morning their caseworker brought the three middle kids to us at the hotel.

I could tell you foster parent stories about all this but I won’t. Suffice it to say…..Grrrrrr…..

Back to meeting the kids.

When we got to the school to get the Nehemiah (15), he immediately shook Dave’s hand, but I told him I prefer hugs. He hugged me Smile

He was animated during the drive to get the littles. Then ended up falling asleep (it was 60+ miles thru Ft. Worth down to Dallas….nearly 90 minutes).

When we got to the littles’ (Symphoney 6, Logan 4, Jeremiah 2) house Logan ran up to Dave yelling, “Daddy. My Daddy. My very own Daddy.” Dave scooped him up. Logan hugged him tight. Then looked at his face. Rubbed his hair. Hugged him again saying, “My Daddy”. Then Logan would touch his mouth, his cheeks, checked out his ears, hugged him again and you guessed it, “My Daddy”. He did this over and over.IMG_0294

The caseworker and I both just about lost it.

Jeremiah saw what Logan was doing and he was saying “My Mommy” and hugging me. He immediately began saying bye to his foster parents.

Symphoney was a little more reserved. We got a hug then she began to panic a bit. Good thing Nehemiah was there. He talked to her and calmed her down. She was still a bit reluctant to leave with us though. By the time we got back to the hotel she was doing well.

We went for pizza for dinner. Logan got his first experience of we say what we mean and mean what we say. Smile

Friday morning when the others arrived….Adam (13), Faith (10), Dennis (8 ) …… Adam dropped the rubber made tote of clothes he was carrying and ran to us with open arms saying, “my new mom and dad” and we got a super bear hug. I was surprised at that. His worker said from talking with them that he was the most excited.

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They all stayed with us at the hotel until Tuesday afternoon.

We went to the science museum. The zoo. The park. Hung out at the hotel. We went to the store.

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We also drove three hours south to go see Jason and family. What an adventure that was trying to keep the kids entertained for three hours each way.

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Jeremiah, at 2 1/2 years old, did not take a nap in either direction…well, he did finally go to sleep about 30 minutes before getting to the hotel.

On Tuesday, the kids’ worker came to the hotel to pick up Nehemiah and take him back to his foster home (actually dropped him off at school to take the bus home).

We left right after and took the three littles back to their foster home. We left there with Jeremiah screaming and crying for us and Symphoney not even speaking to us. She wouldn’t give us a hug or nothing.

We grabbed all their belongings and brought them home with us.

Then we headed back to the other side of Ft. Worth (the littles were just south of Dallas) to take the middle three back to their foster home. The whole drive there, Faith begged us not to take her back to the home.

We left them sad too.

We also got their bags of belongings to bring home with us too.

Dave and I had a quiet dinner that night. Exhausted! My voice was hoarse. The hotel room seemed quite empty and too quiet.

We packed up and headed home Wednesday morning.

We stopped at a bus company in Denver on the way back to check out a bus we saw on Craig’s List. It was already sold.

Got home Friday early evening.

Enjoyed doing some catch up with the other kids on Saturday and doing some last minute things to prepare for the new kids.

Sunday the kids were to arrive at 1:15. Brandy and her family went with us as we were now a family of 17 and our van only seats 15. So Robert drove our Excursion, which seats eight and there are only six of them.

Dave’s mom and brother met up at the airport as well. The kids had made a welcome home sign and waited for the new kids at the bottom of the escalator.

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It was great!

Monday the caseworkers (three came along to keep the kids in tow) and our worker came over to do the official placement (lots of paper signing).

We’ve had a week and a half of getting settled. Getting to know each other. Finding personalities. Learning likes and dislikes on food.

Teaching the little guys that food will be forthcoming and they just need to learn patience.

We’ve seen differences already.

They are off their meds, except their sleeping meds. We figured that we’d let them continue with those for now, because of the excitement and newness still going on. We have knocked it back some to try and wean them off.

I want the kids to teach their bodies to maintain themselves without some little pill to help them out. We worry that they think a pill will fix everything. We don’t want addicts.

The girls have decided to change their names. So Faith is now:

Stephanie Faith

Symphoney is:

Sofia Rose

Nehemiah hasn’t decided whether to change his name or not. I think he feels some loyalty to his birth mom in keeping his name. He’s gotten after the other kids about changing what mama gave them.

Adam wants to change his but then doesn’t want to.

Dennis changed his middle name to Joseph.

We changed Logan’s middle name and I’m trying to think of a shorter middle name for Jeremiah.

Jeremiah William Butterfield just seems so loooooong!

We’ve had a few meltdowns, me included. Some because of our rules, others because of the noise level, still others because we had to close a door and panic set in (grrrrrr…..foster parents).

We are happy to have them all here. I told one of the previous boys today (after a meltdown of “there are too many kids in this house”….

….we went into this adoption thing thinking we wanted to adopt two girls.

God apparently had other plans.

He changed our hearts and our minds about just getting two. Never would I have believed that the Lord would call upon us to adopt 15 kids!!!

Fifteen!!!

I’m still in shock at that number. We have 18 kids total!!

Just WOW!

I know the Lord has called us to this…no one in their right mind would think to adopt, or even have, such a large number of kids in one family.

I am thankful the Lord did call us to this because honestly….which 13 would I give back? I’m loving it all.

Well….that’s our update in a nutshell.

I have all kinds of stories already. Some good. Some not so good. (foster parents….grrrrr).

Thank you for following us on this journey. Hang on for the ride!

God’s Blessings

Vickie

Nov 10, 2013

The first Sunday together. All 15 ready for church. We made it….we were only 5 minutes late Smile

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Homeschooling Myths

I’ve posted adoption myths, I thought it would be fun to post some homeschooling myths.

1. Myth: Most homeschoolers are religious fanatics. I’m not sure what a “religious fanatic” is. But if it is someone who believes that Jesus Christ is my Lord and savior and died on the cross and was resurrected to pay the price for my sins and that I believe that I am truly saved by the grace of God and for no other reason….then I guess I could be a religious fanatic. But I know that not all homeschoolers believe what I believe.

2. Myth: Most homeschoolers have lots of kids. Depends on what your definition of “lots” is. Some think that more than 2.3 is a lot of kids. Some say a lot is 6 or more. Me…I may have more than is typical but I don’t think I have “lots” of kids. I know some homeschoolers whom only have one child, and I know other homeschoolers that have 19 or more.

3. Myth: Special needs kids can’t be homeschooled. I totally disagree. I believe that homeschooling our special needs kids helps them succeed. We know their needs, quirks, buttons, so much better than anyone else. Plus, to our kids consternation, we don’t enable them. We push their limits because we know they can do it.

4. Myth: All homeschool kids are super duper smart. Uh…nope. Some, yes. All, no. Homeschooling the kids lets them pursue more of their interests. Therefore, they can be more intelligent in some areas than is typical rather than waiting until college or later.

5. Myth: Homeschooled kids will not have a high school diploma. Totally false. We, as the homeschool parents, will issue the high school diploma. We will also write up the transcripts for college. No need for GED testing.

6. Myth: Homeschoolers won’t be able to attend good universities. More and more colleges and universities, including Ivy Leagues, are recruiting homeschooled students. Why? Because they are self-motivated, know how to study, typically have their heads on straight, and are at college because they want to be there not because their parents, or society, told them they had to be there.

7. Myth: They won’t make it in the “real world” because the kids are sheltered and not socialized. My kids are very social. They know how to talk with an elderly person with respect and the elderly enjoy talking with them. They don’t mind playing with the younger kids or having them tag along when they are doing something.

8: Myth: What about socialization? What’s your definition of socialization? Have you seen how some of the kids in public schools act?! How they talk? What their worldview is? We, as the parents, would rather have that influence over our kids while they are vulnerable verses same age peers having that influence. There isn’t any peer pressures to conform to when being homeschooled, and they’ll have formed their own worldview by the time they are ready to be on their own. Besides, when out in the “real world”, they won’t always be with same-age peers in everything they do. Why should they spend 13 formable years that way, and then not be ready for the “real world” when they learn their boss is younger than them, or much much older than they are? My kids are more socialized on a daily basis then the public school kids are hanging out with their same-aged peers.

9. Myth: Homeschooling is hard. (my 16 year old son said to add this one). Homeschooling isn’t hard. He likes that he can pretty well set his own schedule. He’d rather do math first thing in the morning. He can go at his own pace….faster or slow down if he needs to. When he’s done with his work, he’s done, and can go do other things with the rest of his day. He is set to graduate a year early.

10. Myth: You need a teaching certificate to homeschool. No, I don’t have a teaching certificate/license. I’m just a mom who graduated high school and took some continuing education classes because I wanted too. Do I know everything? Nope, does anyone know everything? I learn right along with my kids. I have the teachers’ books and I do exactly as any public school teacher does….I read the books. Public school teachers don’t know everything either. They do their lesson plans, they have to do their research when they come across something they don’t quite understand. Having a license to teach doesn’t make a teacher.

11. Homeschooling is expensive. It is only as expensive as you want to make it. I purchase our supplies at the back-to-school sales, and I get enough to last all year. I don’t purchase new rulers, scissors, pencils, or even a backpack or lunchbox every year. We have our scissor box, glue box, ruler jar, pencil jar. I purchase notebooks by the case when they are 17 cents each. As for curricula….most anyone will tell you, with a library card, a notebook, and a pencil….nothing else needs to be purchased (computer and printer are nice too). There are many many sites online that have free downloads. Free unit studies. It is only as expensive as you want to make it. The biggest expense we will have this year is our math, and it is because it is the math program we have chosen, but to purchase everyone’s math book is a whole lot cheaper than enrolling one high school student in the public school. Have you seen some of those fees let along the new clothes to “fit in”? Sheesh!

12. Myth: We must have the patience of Job to homeschool. My kids only wish. We have bad days too. Being homeschooled or public schooled, we all have bad days now and again. There has to be a lot of give and take, apologies and forgiveness. Homeschooling has nothing to do with it. Good thing you weren’t here last Friday. It is amazing that the kids still have heads and still talk to me. LOL

13. Myth: All homeschoolers think that everyone should homeschool. I disagree. I know not everyone is called to homeschool. I know that some kids are better off in public schools to be watched by safe adults. But be prepared if a public school mom asks a homeschool mom for suggestions on how to help their child….be prepared for homeschooling advice. Is homeschooling the answer to every issue a child may have? Eh, not “every” issue, but I think it would totally help in a lot of issues Smile

Another thing that isn’t necessarily a myth just my own perspective and .02…I truly believe that all adopted school-aged kids should be homeschooled at least the first year after placement. I think it is a shame that many workers don’t agree with that. Homeschooling the kids helps them to focus on family, bonding, trusting, without having to keep up with school and all the pressure that goes with that. I believe it should be part of the placement plan. Some kids really need this time.

Do you have any myths you’ve had to set straight as a homeschool family?

God’s Blessings

Vickie