Saturday, November 27, 2010

I am Blessed

We fought.  Oh how we fought.  We screamed, we yelled and we said nasty, nasty things.  We thought that chances were as soon as we didn't have to we would never speak again. 

But my first memories are of sobbing hysterically because I thought she was getting her leg cut off when  her baby leg cast needed to be removed.  I remember endless nights laying awake in bed worrying myself to insomnia that something would happen to her and I would never recover.  I loved her.  I was jealous of her.  I drove her nuts. She drove me insane.  But born 22 months apart, sharing the same life, she was and is my sister.




I remember after a particularly awful bout of teenage animosity, my father shook his head at us in the rear view mirror and said "One day the two of you will be the best of friends".  We glared at each other and simultaneously fantasized of being only children and wondered at our father's sanity.  

Today, there is probably no one else on earth who understands those hidden parts of me like her.  We grieve the same losses.  We miss the same people.  We pray for the same father and survive the same mother. 

She is an amazing mother.  She is passionate and intelligent.  She is athletic beyond my wildest abilities.  She is the best of friends.  I am lucky to be her sister and proud to be her friend. 

Happy birthday Sis.   I love you.  I need you  AND more importantly, I really do like you.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why Blog?

Treading that fine line between being a fun, but rather boring mommy blogger that discusses my cute kid antics and my big kid hockey successes and being an Adoption Blogger that talks about the reality of parenting children in a complicated world with complicated issues is something I face every time I log in. 

There is a part of me that wishes I was more anonymous because it is impossible for me now to write about some of the more difficult parts of our journey because of the necessity of protecting my children, and our family in this community of readers from judgement, or worse, pity.  There are too many friends, family members, teachers and peers that read and so I choose to edit myself.

I could share about endless missed visits, ignored letters and of my anger and frustration of children not deemed important enough to make an effort to know.  I could talk of a normally stoic child clutching a photo of a birth parent while sobbing hysterically over the reality of how abandonment by the one person in the world who is supposed to love you forever really feels, and how it feels to be the other mother of the same child.  I could talk about how awful bullying is and how awful it is to be the parent of the bully and at the same time understand your child is doing the best they can due to no fault of their own.  I could talk about crazy reactions to medications, and how to advocate for your child with doctors and teachers and therapists.  I could talk about screaming fits that make you wonder if the neighbours are going to call the police this time, or wait until your child actually breaks a window.  I could talk about violence and aggression inflicted on a parent or a smaller sibling by a child whose brain has been affected by the choices of their birth parent.  I could talk about typical teenage parenting issues amplified by kids with extraordinary experiences.  I could talk about watching for developmental delays praying that the inevitable diagnosis might just be wished away. 

I could, but I can't because I am not brave enough.

However there is a need for writers courageous enough to share the reality of parenting extraordinary children honestly and with courage.  They are needed because those of us living this need that support.  We need to know that we are not alone in this journey.  That our children, however exceptional, are normal in their experience.  We need resources and ideas, concern and friendship that these brave bloggers provide through their community of sharing.

One such writer is my friend Rachel (aka Tudu / Tudusamom).  I have known Rachel for several years now through the adoption writer community.  She has been a friend, a support and an educator.  We exchange Christmas cards and frequent emails and sometimes long distance phone calls.  She honestly shared the traumatic, harsh, horrid and amazing reality of parenting a large sibling group of special needs, formerly sexually abused, mentally ill and very, very loved children on her blog.  I listed her blog on my own blog several months ago as one of my all time favorites.  

I would link it again but I can't.  I can't because she was forced to sign an affidavit promising to stop blogging all together by a social worker and a Department of Family Services that decided that her blogging placed her children in "imminent danger".  That apparently talking about the reality of parenting special needs children, including the good, the bad and the really, really ugly, is not allowed in the state of Georgia.  And because Rachel has written a public, and completely truthful account of life with special needs, and very difficult children, this same social worker is now attempting to remove the children from their home and family.  The same home and family that has worked endlessly and tirelessly and for years to help their children heal and move beyond the trauma of the abuse they suffered while in the care of their family or origin and in the care of this same DFS  system.

You can read more of this saga here.  If you have benefited from Rachel's writings I would encourage you to reach out to support her, and her children during this awful time.  Even if you would never blog yourself as honestly and as bluntly has she has, her children, without a doubt, cannot handle the trauma that DFS is trying to inflict on them this time.   Their recovery, as much as it is, is because of her skill and efforts as a mother.  I am a better mother because Rachel shared her journey and now she needs my support, and I am honored to provide it.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

She Worketh

Because life wasn't busy enough or because I temporarily lost my mind.  Or because maybe I was too busy to notice the extra child hanging around, I took a job.

Now for me, this is a perfect job.  I am paid - actual MONEY - to home school a child at home.  A child that goes away and I am not responsible for feeding, clothing or putting to bed.  On the surface this seems like a great scenario.  I can work from home.  I can help a child.  I can feel useful.  I can earn some money to pay for my children's hobbies that are startlingly expensive.

The reality is that it is alot more work than I expected.  Combine a learning resistant child who is at least two or more grade levels behind, a compressed school day which requires we achieve a large amount of work during that most favorite time of the day formerly known as JEN'S COMPUTER TIME but publicly known as Nap Time and I am more stressed out and busier than I thought possible. 

But it is good.  I think.  Maybe? 

I have a million bloggable thoughts swirling around in my head.  On openness, on disappearing biological parents, on trying to maintain a positive yet honest relationship with a biological parent who is actively addicted, on explaining adoption and family to a 2.5 year old, on parenting teenagers, on why people who adopt a special needs toddler shouldn't be surprised when that toddler grows up to be a special needs teenager, myself included.   And on that note how to find and maintain sanity for mothers. 

And I have exactly 4 minutes from the time I finish home school and Jayde wakes up.  Did I mention that time change was just a sad and hopeless excuse for Jayde to sleep less?  LESS.  You don't even want to know.

But I am going to tell you anyways cause I enjoy sharing the pain. 

This is Jayde.  She is 20 months old and a bundle of energy.  Her attention span is 10 seconds.  No, that is not an exaggeration. 

Here is Jayde pretending to take a nap.






Here is what happens when you leave household items unsupervised for 10 seconds. 

How many parents does it take to change a light bulb? 
TWO apparently,

Then there was the time we went to visit a friend in her just purchased not yet move into home.  As she was showing me the two back bedrooms which took a grand total of 40 seconds, Jayde and Taya were playing in the living room.  The living room with the fire place full of ashes.  The living room that I just spent four hours shampooing the carpets to try and get the ash out of. 

And now my time is done.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween

Now as soon as I get the pumkin in the garbage I can begin to think about hauling out those Christmas decorations!

Our cut off age for dressing up and expecting the neighbours to give you candy is 14.  So our one 15 year old opted to take the two year old with him trick or treating and absconded with all her candy (which is just fine with me!) and our 14 year old left the house not in costume, and came home with it mostly off.  Someone was avoiding mom's camera I think!