Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Monday, June 21, 2010

Parent Teacher Conference

Today was Hannah's second round of parent teacher conferences at Crayons, but the first one with her new teacher. This was the second time I'd met with her teacher as well as sending her a VERY long and detailed letter about my concerns. Once again I really wasn't pleased about how things went at the conference. The teacher seemed eager to try to tell me the things I wanted to hear about how she was challenging Hannah and about how if there were incidents of hitting and kicking between Hannah and other students she would have been letting us know, but her words just don't match up to what we are actually experiencing. Hannah reports daily physical spats with her best buddy Elisa (those two have a definte love/hate relationship) which her teacher denies. She says they argue, but other than the one time they informed us about, it never gets physical. Hannah reports otherwise and I emailed Elisa's mom and apparently Elisa reports otherwise as well. Something seems amiss here to me. Then there's the issue of what academics Hannah is actually participating in. The teacher reports that Hannah is producing all sorts of products of learning, but yet I can count on my fingers the number of times ANY sort of paper or project has come home in the 3 months Hannah's been in that class and at least two of those times occured when her current teacher was on vacation and a sub was in charge! It just doesn't jive to me. All of this really serves to confirm to me that we're making the right choice to homeschool Hannah next fall. We still haven't decided if we are going to have her continue to attend her current class one day a week or not. I'm still on the fence about that. I would hate for her to lose those relationships she's formed with the kids in her class, but at the same time I don't want to be paying for something that's really not benefitting Hannah as much as something else I could be doing. You know what I mean?

Hannah's birthday party is coming up this weekend and she's very excited about it. This year she will actually have quite a few kids there. I think there are 11 kids already that have RSVP that they are coming. I have to hand it to them, the kids in Hannah's old class are super great about birthday parties. They almost always attend. We've had less luck getting any RSVPs one way or the other with the kids in her new class, but I guess that is to be expected since those parents don't know Hannah and I don't even really know those kids. Many of them I can't even pick out of the room and I sure as certain wouldn't know their parents if I saw them. Since Hannah has such an early drop off and late pick up time I just don't cross paths with a lot of other parents. We'll see if the next few days bring any more RSVPs, but if not Hannah's got a full house already and it should be fun. I've got the goody bags all ready to go (no fish included!) and hopefully they will be a big hit. I'm a bit fanatical about giving children gifts. I ALWAYS give a book. A kid can never have too many good quality children's books in my opinion and most kids don't have nearly enough exposure to good literature as I'd like. So, I do my part and I hand out books. I bet you can't guess what's in the goody bags? It was my goal to make these useful. If I was going to spend money to give out goody bags then I wanted it to be stuff that wasn't just going to end up in the trash or give the kids a sugar high. So, I bought cheap sand buckets at Walmart to use as the "bag", after all we do live on the coast and filled them with books I found at one of our local bargain stores and like new ones from my favorite second hand store. I didn't pay more than $0.99 for any of the things in the goody bags, but I think the pads of note paper, crayons, markers, stencils, and of course books should be so much nicer than the stuff you normally see and I doubt it was much more expensive either (especially not the way I shop!) . Maybe it'll even keep them bus on a car trip this summer!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Evan and Catherine

This is a bit late in coming, but we have a new addition to our family. A few weeks ago Hannah attended a birthday party for one of her classmates. The theme was a carnival and they had all sorts of carnival type games and carnival type snacks (cotton candy, corn dogs, popcorn, etc). In lieu of the traditional goody bag for the guests (which I never understood anyway) the hostess instead gave out goldfish to her guests! While I appreciate the sentiment and think it was an awfully creative idea, certainly better than the junk that usually comes in those goody bags that goes directly in the trash, a fish is a living thing! You have to take care of it, feed it, have someplace to house it, etc. We had none of the appropriate supplies and had to go out the next day and get fish products to welcome our new family members. Oh, and did I forget to mention that we received not one, but two fish? Anyway, Hannah decided to name her fish Evan and Catherine. We went out the next day after church and got a tank and some food and went to work getting set up to be fish owners. Unfortunately Catherine never made it to the tank. In fact, she didn't even last 24 hours! I expected Hannah to be quite upset about it, but really she took it pretty well. Evan is now happily living in his new tank is actually quite the entertaining fish. I have never seen a goldfish as hyper as he is. Maybe we got a fish with SPD! You should see this fish eat too. When you drop the food in the tank he dives and grabs at it like he hasn't eaten in a week! It actually makes a splash of water at the top of the tank! Do you think this means we aren't feeding him enough? We're giving him the amount of food the container indicates. All in all, this hasn't turned out to be as bad as I thought it would be, but just in case you are thinking about giving out fish at your next birthday party, I'd advise against it unless you want to make enemies out of all the parents!

Last weekend we had our second house guests of the season. Our friends Sarah, Jason, Evelyn, and baby Vivian came to stay for a few days. Let me tell you, Hannah was PUMPED about getting to see her friend Evelyn. She counted down the days on the calendar and tirelessly told every person she came in contact with that they were coming. We had a great time during their visit, but I think Hannah was definitely ready for a break when it was time for them to leave. Having to be "on" 24/7 is hard for anyone, but it was next to impossible for Hannah. She needs plenty of alone time throughout her day and while they were here she didn't get any at all. Even though I was constantly on her about being a good friend, admonishing her for not playing with Evelyn, and pushing her to be social with our guests I think she did pretty well all things considering. Sometimes I just expect too much from her. I have to remember that she's not like other kids even when she appears to be doing ok. It sure was sweet to see those two playing together though. It's been way too long. Those two know each other like the backs of their own hands still, even though they haven't seen each other since November! I think that's pretty amazing. One funny thing was watching Hannah try to engage Evelyn in play. Hannah absolutely had to be the one directing the play at all times. It was like she was a little mini CEO. I kept hoping Evelyn would put her foot down and say "NO! I want to play this," because Hannah desperately needs a reminder that it's not all about her, but unfortunately for me Evelyn was a total sweetheart and went along with whatever Hannah wanted to do.

Here's a random funny Hannah story for you that happened tonight. I was sitting at the table looking at a magazine that had just come in the mail and was trying to get Hannah to go upstairs to get her PJs, but Hannah was stalling. She saw an advertisement for the Sears Portrait Studio that had fallen out of the magazine and she said, "What's this?" I told her it was just an advertisement. She replied, "For babies?" I absentmindedly said yes, thinking that she meant baby pictures. She then piped up, "Then we don't need this because we don' t want to get a baby right?" I about died! Kyle called down from upstairs, "You've got to put that on the blog." She totally thought when I said it was an advertisement and that is was for babies that I meant it was for people to BUY BABIES! If that wasn't what a lot of people feel adoption is I would think this was even more funny than I already do, but since I wanted to be sure she knew that you can't buy a person I explained to her that it was for baby pictures and that babies enter families either by being born to their mommy or being adopted, not by being bought.

Hannah's behavior lately has taken a turn for the worse. Besides defiance that is like none I have ever seen before, she's getting more and more physically and verbally aggressive. She shouts things like, "I hate you! You're not my mommy anymore! and I'm not going to be your kid!" at me routinely and hits, kicks, and spits pretty much daily. The other day the library curse struck again. Our library has removed it's check-out desk and replaced it with all self check out machines. Don't get me started on how much I hate this set up. That's for another post. Anyway, we were trying to check out the books and Hannah wanted to do it. She had a book up on the scanner, but she was trying to swipe the wrong bar code so it wasn't working. I tried to help her turn the book around so that the correct bar code would scan underneath the laser and she totally flipped out and chucked the book nearly 10 feet across the lobby. It was a miracle it didn't hit anyone. I looked like she was trying out for Olympic Discus! It's pretty much impossible to enforce a timeout outside of our home anymore so I did the only thing I could do and I told Hannah we were leaving the library right now and that we would not be able to check out the rest of our books because of the way she was acting. She went ballistic. First she kicked me. Then she hit me. Then she took off running. Leaving the books behind I took off sprinting after her and caught her. She threw herself to the ground and desperately tried to wrench her hand out of mine and would not walk. Instead she continued to scream, kick, and hit. I had no choice but to pick her up and carry her out of the library. She was thrashing around kicking and hitting and pushing on my neck so hard I could barely breathe. Several times she was flailing around so crazy that I dropped her. Eventually we made it to the van . I'm not even sure how that happened and then I had to try to get her into her booster seat. That was not easy, but eventually I got her buckled in and climbed into the driver's seat. Hannah still screaming and kicking away, I started to back out of my parking space when I heard a click. She had unbuckled her seat belt and was attempting to get out of her seat! I was shocked. This was a totally new behavior. I reprimanded her and buckled her back up, but she would not leave the belt latched. I had to hold it in place which unfortunately put me in arms reach of her hitting. She raged in the car for about 15 minutes (which felt like 15 hours!) before she started screaming, "GO! JUST GO! I WANT TO GO HOME!" I tried to explain to her that I couldn't leave the parking lot until I was certain she was going to stay buckled in her seat but that just made her more angry so we had about 10 more minutes of her raging about wanting to go home. Eventually she just started sobbing and wasn't fighting me as much so I took a chance at getting back in my seat. We made it home in one piece, but I was a nervous wreck the entire drive worried that she would unbuckle while I was driving. I don't know what it is about the library, but we seem to have a knack for causing huge scenes there. Before long they're going to ban us from coming!

Friday, June 04, 2010

New Shoes

Mama dropped the ball BIG TIME.

Last week I figured it was time to go get Hannah some summer shoes. I thought the ones she wore all winter might be getting tight and they really weren't appropriate for the beach and other summer type activities. Due to the Great Flood of March 2010, all of our local department stores as well as my beloved Stride Rite are closed due to the several feet of water that filled our mall. Hannah needed new shoes though and I couldn't wait until August to see which of the stores in the mall would be reopening once the main building reopened. So off we went in search of somewhere to buy shoes. Unfortunately, because of Hannah's AFO's (braces) I can't just pick up a pair of shoes at Target that look like they might be the right size. Well, I guess I could, but I'm not comfortable doing that. Payless and the other discount shoe stores are pretty much the same way. Finding someone there with knowledge of how to properly fit a shoe is rare and I'd never trust them to know how to fit a shoe to a AFO. Fortunately I had seen a little shoe store in a shopping plaza we sometimes frequent that I thought I remembered seeing children's shoes displayed in the window at. That would be our first stop. I prayed we'd be successful. Luck was on our side and the store did sell children's shoes, high quality ones at that, for pretty reasonable prices. I was willing to pay more than the Target price in exchange for the salesman's knowledge of how to fit those shoes to Hannah's AFO. I was so pleased with how he interacted with Hannah and he really knew what he was talking about as far as the braces went and how to fit them. He even commented that he thought her AFO's might be getting small too. This guy was awesome. I was riding high until he actually measured her foot. The shoes Hannah walked into the store with were a size 10 1/2. He measured her foot at a 12! OMG! I had been letting her run around in shoes that were a size and a half too small for who knows how long. I totally felt like the worst mother ever! We manged to find a pair of summer style shoes that worked with her AFO's and fit her foot and when we had settled on the style, he even remembered Hannah's favorite color and went back to check if any shoes in the style we had chosen were in that color! They were and he quickly exchanged the pair Hannah was wearing with the coveted purple Keens and we were done. Except for the little snafu about shoe size, it was the most enjoyable shoe shopping experience I have ever had. I'll definitely be buying all our family's shoes there from now on.

As we were walking out of the store Hannah decided she wanted to check out the big girl bikes on the sidewalk in front of the store next door. I told her we needed to drop off her shoe box and old shoes in the van first. As we were walking back across the parking lot to look at the bikes Hannah spotted a lady, probably in her mid 40s, headed to one of the other shops. Hannah shouted across the parking lot at the woman, "Hey! I got new shoes! Do you want to see my new shoes? They are purple." The lady, who obviously never had children of her own, gave us a disgusted look, ignored Hannah's question, and kept on walking. Hannah was so confused. She wanted to know why the lady had not acknowledged her. That was a tough question for me to field, but I did my best as we continued to walk to the sidewalk. Just as we reached the sidewalk we passed another lady sitting on a bench outside the store waiting for the bus. She looked right at Hannah and smiled and said, "Well, I like your new shoes. Purple is a beautiful color." Hannah just beamed and chattered on about her new shoes with the lady for several minutes. I was so grateful for that woman being kind enough to let Hannah have her moment to share her excitement about her shoes, especially after her confusion about being shot down earlier. I have no idea who she was, but I hope she slept well that night knowing she made one little girl very happy.
Photo Notes: Yet another fabulous white board masterpiece and pictures from Hannah helping Kyle plant a garden in our backyard. Doesn't she look a little like Paul Bunyan swinging his axe or John Henry with his sledge in that second picture!?!?