Saturday, September 30, 2006

Here Comes Christmas

I can honestly say that I am not looking forward to Christmas this year. It's so hectic for us that it's not really enjoyable. Oh sure I love to get together and see all the family members, but we have seven Christmas parties to attend every year.

Yes you read that correctly - SEVEN.
1. Our family Christmas (Christmas day)
2. My parents' house (Christmas eve)
3. Matt's parents' house (Christmas day)
4. My grandma's house(Christmas eve)
5. Matt's dad's extended family's house (Weekend before Christmas)
6. Matt's mom's extended family's house (Weekend before Christmas)
7. My grandpa's house (Christmas day - if we go)

And HEAVEN FORBID you don't go to a party. The world will come to an end, the silent treatment will be unbearable, the guilt will be laid on thick. It's just NOT acceptable to miss a Christmas party.

It doesn't matter that we have seven children, and that all but two of the parties require us to purchase our OWN gifts for the children. I mean really, we must be made of money, right? But forget about trying to go without a gift. Why it just isn't Christmas if the kids don't have at least one gift to open at each party.

We found out the hard way that extended family members feel that foster children should NOT get the same amount of gifts as the adopted/biological children. It's obvious that they still have family members who purchase Christmas for them on their visits and it's not right for them to get more presents that our own kids. (So they say). So we always have to purchase a few extra gifts to sneak in in case a grandparent or aunt attempts to give uneven gifts out. Now I agree that gifts should be even. But a child does not understand why they don't get a gift and other kids do. It's not their fault they are in foster care. But family members (Not all, but several) just don't understand that as long as the children are in our home, they ARE our children. And they get the same gifts and attention that our own children receive.

So anyways, we have two more months until Christmas and I am so not looking forward to the parties. Just once I'd love to be able to stay home and let the kids have a Christmas at home - where they could actually play with their toys, lounge around in their pjs, and just enjoy the relaxation. But alas, when you live within fifteen minutes of every relative, it's just not possible.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Adoption Day

It only took eight years; but my daughter is finally going to have my husband's last name! We go to court at 1 pm today to make it official. Matt has always been her daddy, and we've always called her by my husband's last name; but it'll be nice to have it all legal.

It wasn't an issue when she was younger, but the older she got, the more upset she would get when we used my maiden name at doctors offices. She always knew she had another dad out there, but Matt has done such a wonderful job of being Daddy that she hasn't really asked too much about him. (And he's completely out of the picture - thank God!)

The reason it took us so long is that we just didn't have the extra $1000 to make it official. It seemed really silly when she was already known by my husband's last name, and he was already her daddy. But we finally saved enough, and know it's time.

To say she is excited is an understatement. She talked her way out of skipping the entire day of school today, she's gotten a knew outfit to wear to court, AND she's asking to go to Red Lobster after court! Thankfully we have all the other children at school so we can actually afford to take her out to eat!

Anyways, just wanted to share our good news! Three adoptions down - hopefully one more to go!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Court - the Wasted Experience

It really is a waste of time to go to court when you have children in foster care. Oh I know they want us to go and look good for the judge. You know, show that we're supporting our foster children 100%. But really, when you have to wait 30 minutes outside the courtroom for less than 10 minutes of actual court time it's frustrating.

It's especially frustrating when the birth mother has stated over and over to me, to caseworkers, to her lawyer, and anyone else willing to listen - that she wants me to adopt her child; and yet the judge and lawyers continue to make us wait. Her lawyer received the voluntary termination of parental rights paperwork about three months ago, and yet he is advising her to wait until the 9 month review hearing (permanancy hearing) before signing off.

It's crazy! She misses over half of her scheduled visits, she isn't following through on the case plan created for her, and she WANTS me to adopt her child. And I want him to be mine forever.

And then I have my sibling group of three. We have to go back to court for them next month I believe. It may actually be a little bit better; but so far every hearing has consisted of the dads saying they'll do more and that they want the children, and the judge stating things are to remain the same. Nothing changes.

Oh well, at least by going to court I know from the start what is taking place instead of having to wait for the caseworkers to find time to get me up to date.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hard Times

It seems like forever since I posted to my blog. Looking back it HAS been forever. But what can I say, life got in the way again. Alot has happened since I last posted. But I'm going to only post about one or two things that are on my mind.

So here is the sad news. My sibling group of three's bio mother just had her jury trial. It was decided that she was guilty on all four counts of charges. She has already been in jail for a year and a half, and with the guilty verdict they are saying that the earliest she can get out is 29 years; and the max sentence she can receive is 58 years (I think). Although I knew that she was more than likely going to be convicted, I was still surprised it was decided in only four hours.

So now I have to figure out how to tell the oldest foster child that she isn't going to see her mom anymore (they are proceeding with termination of parental rights). This is going to be horrible conversation. And even though I found out yesterday about the guilty verdict, the caseworkers want me to wait until after school today to tell the oldest. I think it's a mistake to wait though. The news has been plastered on every radio station, tv news station, and newspaper in the state. I have shielded her as best as I can from hearing about the trial, but I know someone is going to mention it at school and then she'll feel deceived that I didn't tell her first. She does know that the trial is taking place though, but that's it. But the caseworkers are adament that I say nothing until after school.

And as weird as this seems, I feel horrible for the biological family. I have really come to like the great grandparents on the mom's side of the family and feel that they are wonderful people. I can't imagine the grief they are feeling knowing that their granddaughter is going away for possibly life. :(

So wish me luck. This is going to be a really emotional weekend. Although I won't really feel the brunt of their grief until Sunday night. The siblings are going for a weekend visit with the grandparents tonight after school. The grandparents would love to have the kids for good, but they are just too sickly to care for them long term.