Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Will NEVER Leave Home Again

It seems that when Mama goes away the house completely falls apart. I spent last weekend and the first part of this week in Indiana to attend my grandmother's funeral. Hannah had school and didn't know my grandmother well so she and Kyle stayed home. I arrived home late Monday night to discover that the dog was wigged out, the cats seriously ticked off, and Hannah had chopped her hair off at school! Seriously? I was gone 2 1/2 days! Poor Kyle must have really had his hands full. Upon reflection we determined that while Kyle and I have gone away together without Hannah and Kyle has gone on trips by himself several times since Hannah was born, I had NEVER gone anywhere overnight without either Kyle or Hannah and left Hannah home alone with Daddy. How on earth this was the first time in five years I don't know, but it was. I guess there was a reason I don't leave and I was reminded of it Monday night!

So, I started this post two weeks ago and I've since left home overnight without Kyle and Hannah again! Apparently I'm a slow learner. This time I went to visit my friend Sarah and her family to help them move into their new house. While the chaos that erupted at home wasn't quite as dramatic and permanent as the last time, there was one incident involving poop that poor Kyle had to call me to vent about! The real effect of my absence was saved for when I got home and Hannah really let me have it! The very next day she split my lip open in an attempt to prevent me from making her go to school and had to be forcibly removed from the van at school screaming and without any shoes on. Interestingly enough she ended up having a great day at school that day though you would have never guessed it based on her performance that morning!

Photo Notes: Here are before and after photos of Hannah's self hair cut! She started off with no bangs and decided to add them herself! The poor teacher gathered up the pile of hair and sent it home to us in an envelope!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project

Next month I'm going to be participating in the Adoption Bloggers Interview Project in honor of National Adoption Month. I'm very excited to get acquainted with a new adoption blogger and to be able to highlight their blog on mine. If any other adoption bloggers are interested in participating there is still time to sign up. Just click on the button at the top of my blog and fill out a registration form and you'll be contacted with the name of your partner.

Speaking of National Adoption Month. . . . I was searching the online card catalog at Hannah's school library and I realized they only had 2, count them, 2 adoption related books and neither of them were current or what I would call quality adoption books. Think using the words "real mom" and "gave her away". So, I decided that rather than complain about it I should do something about it. I emailed the school librarian and offered to donate some quality adoption books to the school library. She was very responsive to this idea and so I set about purchasing copies of some of our favorite adoption books and also one I had heard good things about, but never read. The books we bought were How I was Adopted by JoAnna Cole, Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis (this is one of my favorite), A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kaza, and Lucy's Family Tree by Karen Schreck. The last one was the one we'd never read before and I must say that after reading it I'm glad I bought it as it has significant importance to school related personnel in handling adoption. How about you? Do you you have a favorite adoption book you'd like to share? I'm always up for good book recommendations!

Photo Notes: I just found these pictures on a memory card in my purse from MAY! They are of Hannah and her birthfamily when we visited on our way out to Nebraska from Rhode Island. The first one is of Hannah and her birthsister, Kayla, and the second one is of the two of them with their Grandpa Charlie.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tooth Fairy

The tooth fairy finally made her first visit to our house last week. During our trip back to Indiana for Kevin's wedding we noticed that Hannah's permanent tooth had begun coming in behind her baby tooth. We were worried there would be a big gap in her mouth for all the wedding pictures, but that baby tooth held on. It finally agreed to come out one night last week and boy was Hannah excited about the impending visit from the tooth fairy. I bet she checked on her tooth a dozen times after she placed it under her pillow. The tooth fairy left her a shiny new half dollar and she was pleased as punch. A few days before it finally fell out we noticed that the tooth next door to it was also already coming through and it didn't seem loose at all. Now it seems to be at least a little bit loose so I'm not going to get too worried about it yet unless that adult tooth starts to get big and we haven't made any progress in getting the baby tooth out. Tiffany, Hannah's birthmom, said that the twins' teeth did the same thing and they never had to have any of them pulled so that is an encouraging sign. This must just be a genetic thing that runs in her family.

We had our homestudy visit this week and it went very well. We were disappointed to learn, however, that it would be after the first of the year before our finger prints were cleared and our homestudy finalized. Hannah was actually mad about it. She shouted at me, "I want kids NOW!" I couldn't help but think, "My thoughts exactly!" It is a bit frustrating to just sit and wait on the government red tape when we know via our social worker that they are really struggling to find homes to place children in in our area right now. We are ready and willing, but can't take a placement until the government takes it sweet time to process our finger prints. UGH!

Hannah continues to do well in school. Her teachers are really good about staying on top of her behaviors and she's getting plenty of academic challenge. Yesterday I actually just got an email from her teacher to let me know that Hannah had tested out of all of the sight word lists to meet the benchmarks for the entire school! This means that for the next 3 years she won't ever need to be assessed on them again because she passed the kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade tests! Way to go Hannah! We weren't really surprised since when the lists came home to practice Hannah didn't have to practice. She said every single word correctly the first time on all 30 lists. Still, it's good to know that she's displaying her knowledge at school as well as at home since that hasn't always been the case with her. In math she continues to get faster and faster at adding and subtracting and has also been working on word problems where she has to decide whether or not she needs to add or subtract to get the answer. She also likes to find the missing sign in equations. Her spelling and writing continues to improve and I'm often blown away by the number of words she just "knows" how to spell without having to sound them out. She can also spell many of the sight words that you can't sound out. Her comprehension skill of retelling a story is also improving. At the beginning of the year she was not only below her actual reading level of 3rd grade in this skill, but she was actually below her grade level on it. Now she's above grade level on retelling, but not quite up to her current reading level yet. We'll keep working on it.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Home Study

Well, it's home study time again. I remember when we had ours for Hannah's adoption. I totally freaked out thinking the house had to be spotless. I scrubbed baseboards and washed windows. I went nuts cleaning and we are not really clean people. We aren't total pigs, but our house is normally not spotless. This time around though I've got a kindergartner, two cats, and a dog and a MUCH bigger house. I'm not going to be doing any special cleaning this time. I learned my lesson last time! It seems like we've been waiting forever for the state to get their red tape stuff figured out to get someone out here to do our home study visit, but now it's finally scheduled for October 11th. We'll get our finger prints done then too. That means that if everything checks out then we'll just have one final visit before we are officially licensed to take foster care placements! I'm very excited (and a little nervous too). I can't wait to start filling up this big empty house, but at the same time I worry about doing a good job. I've never watched a kid I knew absolutely nothing about, let alone let one live in my home for an undetermined amount of time. We are planning on being open to kids 8 years and under. We've got a crib and a twin bed frame (no mattress yet!) in one of the extra bedrooms and I've started accumulating some smaller sized baby clothes and some boy's clothes wherever I can. I'm not sure what else I can do to prepare since the possibilities of what type of child will be the first to come are so varied. I guess we'll just get that twin mattress and then wait and see what happens. Wish us luck on this new leg of our journey.

Photo Notes: These are just some fun pictures from this summer.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Open Adoption

I don't often blog about adoption anymore since our experiences with adoption just seem like "life" now. We are living an adoption and it's hard to separate the two sometimes. However, on our trip back to Indiana a few weeks ago we unexpectedly got to meet up with Hannah's birth mom, Tiffany, and Hannah's brother and sister. It had been a long day and night, but it seemed so important to see them that I threw all semblance of routine to the wind and we went swimming at 9:30pm (already 2 1/2 hours past Hannah's bedtime!). The kids had a blast and it was so neat to see them truly behaving like siblings. That blood bond is strong no matter what others may try to say. You can't just forget it. It's as important (if not more so) for Hannah to see Kayla and Chase as it is for her to see Tiffany and it's important for the twins to see Hannah too. Because Tiffany has always been open and honest with them they KNOW Hannah is their sister and they proudly claim her. In fact, Tiffany shared with me a story about an interaction between Kayla and one of their neighbors. Apparently the topic of siblings had come up somehow and Kayla mentioned that she had a sister. The neighbor lady corrected and argued with her as Kayla continued to insist that she DID have a sister and her name was Hannah. Kayla explained to the woman the best she could about how Hannah didn't live with them and about the adoption. The woman just couldn't get it and never did believe her. Finally Kayla gave up and said, "Forget it! It's complicated!" It warmed my heart to have affirmation that my little girl has people who claim her, who want her, who simply take for granted that she's theirs. I know that open adoptions are often tricky to navigate, but there's one thing I KNOW for certain is that my little girl will always have her village of people who love and care for her, be they her birth or adoptive family, she'll have them.

Photo Notes: The first two pictures are of Hannah and her siblings swimming at the hotel pool during our most recent visit. The last picture is just a fun one of Hannah sporting one of Kyle's old Ohio State sweatshirts from when he was a kid.