Monday, September 26, 2005

Not a drop

Not only did Rita miss us, we didn't even get a drop of much needed rain from her. Well, better safe than sorry. Now we have pretty much everything we might need if we have some other natural disaster.

It was very hot yesterday - up to 108, I think. We went swimming at a local spring fed pool. In previous posts I mentioned that one of our teens has a bio sibling whose adoption placement fell apart for very scary reasons. She has been quite worried since she found out, and even with all the strings we could pull, we weren't able to get a visit set up until yesterday at the pool. It was hot as the dickens, but the water was cold and all the kids, from teens to babies enjoyed it. The sibling was okay - happy enough, willing to play in the water with his sister even though he'd wanted to meet us at the mall instead. He wants to live with us. We can't. He is going to need specialized care that we can't give him with so many kids in the house. Additionally, he and his sister will feed off of each other's emotions if they lived together and her emotional rollercoaster alone stretches our abilities. We still feel a bit of guilt.

Friday, September 23, 2005

heavy weekend

Rita is coming!!!
It is all that is on the news. Usually, since we're in Central Texas, we only get rain, hail, maybe a tornado or two from a hurricane. Unfortunately, there is a 10-20% chance that Rita will turn our direction and might still be a category one hurricane when it hits us.

Lots of evacuees still stuck in traffic in south/east Texas. We bought some water, candles, flashlights, etc, in case the power goes off. Canned food and formula, too. We put fresh batteries in the weather radio. As far as we know, family and friends from the Gulf area are safe and sound. Holly and I are a bit worried, but not much more we can do. The sun is shining brilliantly right now. partly cloudy. We don't live in a flood plain and the house is on one of the highest spots in the neighborhood, so flooding is not a fear. Probably the biggest worry is a tornado, but we are as ready as we can be for that, too.

So, I'm in a good mood. I'm not going to get myself into a worry loop when there isn't anything we can do until this blows over. If we show worry, our high strung teens could very well go into panic attacks. We have already explained the situation in detail to each of them, very carefully as to not bring on overreactions.

Thanks to those who've sent prayers and positive thoughts. I think it is helping!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

a good weekend

Our trip went well - not perfectly, but well enough for us. The wedding was beautiful. The weather was a cool respite from the heat here. The kids behaved well enough to not freak out my mother-in-law. We met lots of cool people in Seattle!

The only behavior that my m-i-l complained of was stuff we already know about. Some we're already working on - others we've decided to let go for now. That happens sometimes when they have so many troubling problems - you have to choose your battles.

A weekend alone with Holly was much needed. Even though we had guilt about leaving the kids, the together alone time was worth it. Holly is using some of the energy and calm she collected this weekend to address issues with one of the kids right now. Patience patience patience. Sometimes our kids lie incorrigibly. They do something wrong, then, straight to our face, lie about it. They will actually convince themselves that they are telling the truth. One of our kids is getting much better about it - even if she lies, she will usually cop to it almost right away. The other teen is getting worse, I think. That is what Holly is going to address. It is one of the things that she can do infinitely better than me. Holly will talk her through it, whereas I would not have the patience - I would state the truth and leave her to work it out. That's why Holly and I are a good couple.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Holly and I leave for a wedding halfway across the country tomorrow at 7AM. That is very very early. Her mom (Emma) and grandma are coming down to watch the kids. Well, not all the kids. S is spending most of the weekend at our friend's house and E is heading back to trash town with BG and her baby. E wanted to stay, but Emma would have felt obligated to kill BG for past transgressions, so we gave them gas money.

Can't think of a reason for things to go wrong, but the fear is there. We've never really left the kids with anyone else for any length of time.

The other side is that Holly and I will have a whole weekend together. YES!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

a positive note

I spent yesterday evening at the school district's marching band jamboree. It is not a competition, just a show and it's been around since way back when I was in high school, umpteen years ago.

Some things have changed about it. Bands and drill teams, as a whole, are smaller. I find this sad because these activities can do so much for kids. My alma mater and the schools that were our competition then are now poor 'inner city' schools with weak programs. The bigger, suburban schools (which we used to be) have more money, more kids and huge magnificent shows. Our shows, twenty odd years ago, were simpler to perform than the new ones, but we never performed the exact show twice , and these bands start on their very complex contest shows before school even starts. One band actually only had eleven kids on the field. They didn't even have a trumpet player - their band director had to play the part. They did have heart though, and they actually marched a show, didn't just stand in one place and play. My alma mater did pretty well. The band was probably half the size of when I was in it, but they held their own and were the first band to really do well in the show.

Of course, I was there to support S. She isn't quite up to marching par, but she wears the uniform and helps the percussion and color guard get set up. Her band is also an older, inner city school, but they are a fine arts magnet and have great directors. They were better than some of the bands twice their size.

This may not mean much to any of you, but I asked S which band she thought did the best and she said, "Mine, of course." She is part of a group and takes ownership and pride in it. Many people who've known her for many years never thought something like this would happen. Currently, she plans on staying in throughout high school, even if she never marches. She has a couple of friends in band and they want letter jackets.

We live in reality - something could happen tomorrow to change it, but for now - :-)

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

old and new

We've had this stomach thing running around the house, and with so many of us it has taken so long. S has it now, but she is bucking up and trying to make it through school because she has a performance tonight. It is pretty much a 24 hour thing, except for BG's little boy (20 months old) He does not seem to be as hardy as our twins. They were clingy and had diarrhea, but still active. He was laid out and throwing up as well as the rest. His mother, BG, is beginning to see the benefits of feeding real food and milk and keeping things clean. This is the first time he's been really sick since they've been up here.

K is convinced that she needs to move out of the house as soon as possible. She'll be eighteen in November. I don't think she is ready. Three classes a day in high school and working less than 16 hours a week lays her out with anxiety. Don't know how she plans on translating that into any kind of college hours and supporting herself. The state provides some support such as medicaid and covering college costs, and she'll get some money to get set up in an apartment and maybe cover a few living expenses, but she'll still have to work. She wants a car, and we've told her we'll get her an old clunker or a really cheap new Kia or something, but only if she's working and can pay part of the insurance. If she is still living with us, we'll give her a tank or so of gas a month, but the rest is up to her.

How do you teach kids that a certain age doesn't make you grownup? The freedom that they expect - being able to make your own decisions and choose your own destiny - only come with (although I hate to say it) money. If you can't support yourself, you are stuck following the wishes of those who can/will support you.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

do we want more?

On top of everything else going on, another foster family had some trouble, so we have two more toddlers for an unknown amount of time. A sister and brother, almost four and almost three. Before we had our own babies, we used to do respite for these two regularly, and we've kind of missed them over the last year and a half. It hurts because we wanted them for keeps back then, but they were (and still are, apparently) in some sort of limbo. We think it is because the caseworker wants to place them with their three older siblings. That is a big deal because it will be very difficult to find a placement for five kids together, especially when they are African American and have abuse and developmental issues.

Holly and I have less of a problem with separating siblings after our experiences. The kids have been separated for two years already, and one can always stipulate sibling visits/contact in the adoption. Sometimes, I think it is even better to separate them. The older kids have a chance to learn to be children and not the 'responsible one', and the younger kids are removed from whatever problem behaviors the older ones have learned.

I wish we could keep them, but we don't have room. Our agency wouldn't go for it anyway because they think the foster family they are with would take offense. Don't really understand why, but it has been made clear to us. I think that the fact that we seriously considered trying to adopt them was one reason (besides having younger twins) that stopped us from doing respite for them.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

more stuff

All sorts of new stuff to brag about...
Sophia told me she loved me and gave me kisses over the phone. Ben actually talked to me on the phone, though it wasn't intelligible. After a momentary let down this morning, E is once again thrilled about school. She has her chef uniform now. She really looks cute in it and that helps.

Weird stuff - having trouble getting a hold of the adopted brother of one of our kids. They've had regular contact for a couple of years. Don't know what, but something has happened that nobody told us about.

Then this whole Katrina thing. GOOD LORD!!! I work for a social service agency, and even though I'm in the middle of Texas, hundreds of miles from the hurricane zone, our field offices are already getting swamped with refugees. This is fine - it is what we do. The bugger is that tens of thousands of people are still freaking stuck in New Orleans!! This is not Sumatra!! Why do they not have every available bus on that stupid highway to get those poor people out!! Why are the oil companies not donating millions of gallons of gas to get those people moved! Why hasn't every church between here and New Orleans offered their Parrish halls to hold refugees? Why hasn't every college/university offered a gym?

Holly and I can't take anyone into our house, if we didn't already practically have E sleeping on the couch, the state says everyone in our house has to have a background check, etc. We've given to the Red Cross already. I'm going to give to an animal agency this evening. Don't forget about the animals!!! However crass this sounds and however it makes you think less of me, the people had a chance to evacuate, and the pets/animals weren't given the choice.

so much for my raves and rants... peace to all!