Lots of excitement today. We are taking girl for a visit to see if she fits in our family. K and S aren't too happy about it. They like the status quo. But, this girl, from all accounts, is academic, easy going and gay, all of which pull our (Holly's and my) heart strings. Holly bribed K to be neutral. S is usually pretty nice to new kids.
Holly has begun writing a book for real. We've talked about ever since we met. She has several ideas bouncing around her head, but she picked one and wrote an outline and prologue. I'm excited.
Today is the last working day of the month and we are super busy at work. All of the staff we support are trying to get everything done and the system, as usual is getting clogged and making it much more difficult.
Holly just called. S had dental work done today. She is at summer band right now, and the numbing wore off and she doesn't handle pain well. Holly called to say that she is freaking out and the band directors are going to let her lay down. That means I'll have to go find her and wake her up. Its hard to tell with her - I've seen her pick live skin off and bleed and keep picking, then howl at the top of her lungs when she falls and gets a tiny abrasion. Hopefully, she will have worked herself down by the time I get there.
The other day I was talking to E, our oldest, who occasionally flies back to the coop to get groceries or wash clothes, or for short moments of peace and sanity. She talked about the lack of maturity of the people she hangs out with, her friends and birth family. About how they get themselves in trouble and even ruin their lives over things that shouldn't bother anyone above high school age. We agreed that she wasn't going to get anywhere if she stayed in that groove.
She and her gf still fight over stupid things. E can talk the talk, but she tends to fall into old behaviors around old friends. I explained that either she can trust gf to be faithful and that the flirting gf does is innocent fun, or she can live with the fact that gf is not faithful, or she can leave her. Fighting about it causes drama that doesn't get anyone anywhere, and they aren't anyplace to brag about anyway. She agreed, and said that gf gets more angry sometimes because she won't argue. E is so freaking smart. If she could only grow beyond her past. She can't because there are so many things in her past that she loves. Unfortunately, she keeps trying to bring them up with her, but she isn't strong enough, emotionally or financially, to handle the burden. She's only 18. She should be going to school and working and have her whole future ahead of her. Instead, she's trying to figure out how to support her gf and gf's 18 mo son, and her bio mom wants to quit HER job and come here and try to make it. E doesn't even have an apartment.
Holly and I've decided to be patient and try to be examples. We've had to decline help a couple of times because of financial issues. E doesn't blame us. She knows we do what we can. We've already done more for her than all of those from "home."
My 18 year old, E, is back, actively in our lives. She came back into town right before we went on the cruise, too late to be included. She is thin but looks good. She and her girlfriend, whom we don't care for much, ate all of our food while we were gone, which we told them they could do. They went back to their hometown and got the gf's 20 mo baby. He's sweet, but way behind. E has noticed how far he is behind our twins even through he's five months older and has been working his language skills as best she can.
They can't stay with us - gf has a history that could precludes her from spending much time in our house. They say they are clean, and we believe them, but we won't take a chance that could get our other kids taken from us. They both need jobs. We (mostly Holly) have done just about everything we can to help them out - bought groceries, gas money, helped them find places that are hiring and the doctor's office. They've turned in a couple of applications. They just come from such a different place than we do. They've dug themselves such a hole in their hometown that they can't go back. We've really pushed that we can't support them, they need to work. Once they both have jobs, they'll be able to get their own apartment. But they've been in town a month and have only done some odd jobs.
My seventeen yo started her first job yesterday. She whined to Holly all morning today about how her feet hurt and she was tired and going to quit. Thank goodness she told Holly and not me. Holly understands that she is scared and anxious. I probably would have gone off on her. My first job was in a grocery store deli and Holly's was at an unairconditioned hamburger stand. That is what first jobs are like. You are on your feet for hours at a time and you do tedious demeaning work. She wants to go to culinary school. I guess she doesn't realize that chefs/bakers/cooks don't sit down. They are always on their feet. Like I said, lucky it wasn't me talking to her...
Sophia, my twin daughter (15 mo), just talked to me on the phone. She said Hi and babbled and gave the phone a kiss. (openmouthed, couldn't hear it, had to take Holly's word for it) As far as I know, I'm the first person she's ever spoken to on the phone!! Way to make my morning. :-)
finally, a post
It's been a long time, but I finally found a piece of time to post. The cruise was wonderful. In case you haven't visited Holly's blog
, we got to meet Rosie. The picture is on my symetry blog
She brought us up on stage to congratulate us for winning the cruise. She talked to Holly, then to Kaia, who won her heart by admitting that her birth family had kicked her out because she was gay. Actually, as we found out, this kicked quite a few people on the ship in the gut. Rosie was struck enough to give us cruises for life with r family. That blew us away. For the rest of the trip, people would stop us in hallways and on elevators and congratulate and tell us how moved they were by our family. Holly and I were concerned that there might be jealousy, but we didn't run in to any.
Most of our friends do foster care, so we don't see ourselves as all that special. As a matter of fact, we generally play down the good deed thing. Many of the families on the cruise had kids from foster care and they'd probably worked as hard as we have, but even they seemed happy for us.
It was so great to be able to relax and not worry about the mess the babies made or what to eat or anything. The entertainment was better than great - we saw Cyndi Lauper from the third row. Rosie brought a dozen or so Broadway stars to do their thing. Esera Tuolo moved us all to tears, with his beautiful voice, story and family. And, the icing on the cake was a surprise mini concert on the last night by Melissa Etheridge. She is still recovering from chemo, her hair was quite short, but she rocked. I've seen her a couple of times before, and this performance had more passion than ever.
The love on that ship was tangible. I think that people feel Rosie's generosity and extend it. I would definitely recommend the r family cruise to everyone, gay or straight.
The cruise has been going well - for cool up to date news, see Holly's Blog
. Webtime onboard costs a fortune - I'll elaborate when I get home...
getting ready to leave
I'm getting ready to fly away. My grandmother's 100th birthday party is tomorrow in Minnesota and I fly in a couple of hours. I fly to NYC Sunday to meet Holly and the kids before we get on the boat. I'm apprehensive - don't really like flying alone, don't know that side of my family all that well. They are stoic German bred farmers and I'm a wildly emotional city kid. Can't wait to see my grandma, though. I only wish that Holly and the kids were going with me. They aren't for several reasons - money for the flight, I'm not out to that part of my family and not quite sure how my multiracial family would go over. Sounds really lame that those things bother me, but I see them so seldom it was always easy to avoid racial issues and homosexuality.
Holly is stuck with all the kids for two days. I don't know how she is going to do it. We can only hope that the teens step up to the challenge. They are capable of it, but flying and boats and new experiencs sometimes get them worked up, too.
Wish us Luck!!
A glimmer of hope
E came home last night. After dealing with drugs, bugs, wrecks, illness, crime, abuse, hunger, the loss of almost all of the stuff she left with, and lots of HIGH DRAMA
almost constantly for eight months, she decided maybe she it would be easier to get her s*** together with someone to at least partially take care of her. Don't know how long it will last - she's already bristling at the rules we set. These aren't ridiculous rules, in my mind. 1) no drugs/tobacco in the house 2) her girlfriend, who is staying with a friend not too far away, can't come to the house until she's been law abiding and non-abusive for awhile. 3) E has to make an effort to get and keep a job.
Of course, it's only #2 that she has problems with. She doesn't seem to understand that the powers that be could actually take our other kids away if it's found out that the gf is spending a lot of time around our kids. Plus, she managed to destroy most of E's belongings in various fits of rage over the past months, and our kids certainly don't need to see that kind of behavior. Additionally, she's hiding from some criminal types that she turned in to the police. E knew enough not to bring her here - she's staying with one of E's friends. They both knew they need a little space.
We are full of help. Holly already has E at the doctor, and they are making a run of retail establishments and restaurants that are hiring. E has the number of the local gay/lesbian counseling center since they both need anger management and couple therapy. We want to be helpful, and hopefully, we'll pull back before she gets overloaded with us. She is such an amazing kid - bright, beautiful, smart. If she would put her mind to it for 6-12 months, she could get on her feet and rise above so many of her problems. Unfortunately, she doesn't have much patience.
Well, we'll hope and pray.
turning their backs
For the past couple of months, the twins have not done very much staring into my eyes like they did when they were younger. Kind of bothered me. Do they not like me anymore? Am I boring? It dawned on me yesterday, though, that I am kind of boring to them. They love me and want to be with me, but once they are with me, they want to see the rest of the world. Once he gets close enough, Ben will even turn around and back into me to sit on my lap or be picked up facing away. It felt good to realize that I am one of their safe people. They trust me to take care of them while they observe the big world.
The teens probably do it too, but in less obvious ways. I'm going to think about that for awhile, maybe I'll have more to add on their behaviour later.