Remember this?

I last shared, prior to getting my placements, that my interest was piqued in regards to a 12 year old girl that was seeking a large family and that I had been contacted regarding to placement and adoption. Well, that was complete crap. It it a pretty shady ordeal, they can only disclose very small pieces of the case during the inquiry while letting you get emotionally involved. During a 6-8 week process they can pick you apart as the family who wishes to adopt but you get minimal information… but not medical or behavorial stuff.

I indicated to the the CSR specialist to call my licensing worker and disclose all of the information to him as there is a loophole in the process. Although he isn’t allowed to disclose any information to me, he can get the nitty gritty. I trust him to make the call for me, he knows my family dynamic and what I’m willing to have in my home in regards to placement. The CSR specialist called my licensing worker, disclosed all the things, he knew it wasn’t a good fit and it was closed down. I hope that anyone who is looking into a CSR child can find this information helpful and time saving, not to mention avoiding yet another emotional rollercoaster.

It was a CSR ordeal which pretty much equates to kids that are EXTREMELY hard to place due to behaviors, multiple placements, etc.

I’ve learned enough about photolistings, CSR’s, and adoptive searches in general. The masses are correct; it is a waste of time and pointless. Despite my initial feelings about everyone else failures being a personality flaw or getting emotionally attached to a picture of a child, everyone was right. It is complete garbage. I’m objective, even during my emotional bit during this journey.

I don’t like being this pessimistic but the proof is in the pudding.

TL;DR

Don’t bother looking at photolistings ot CSR’s. It’s a lost cause or a trap.

Five.

5. 5. 5.

Soon, I’ll have only 5 kids at home. Biscuit, Blue, Boychild, Bunny, and Lemon. I’m freaking out, how do I cook for only 7 people?! What will we do with the copious amounts of leftovers?! There will be extra time, room, and finances. Weird. There will be less stress, chatter, and traffic.

We will enjoy our time together until we are needed. I love my community, I love children, I love foster care. There are lessons to be learned about humility, compassion, and pain. My kids understand the importance of helping people and also, witnessing me fail, has shown them that even though you can desperately want to help it’s okay to say ‘enough’ and have a child removed. My kids have helped transition foster kids to our home and comforted them in times of need. They have also disagreed and fought with them. It is all give and take, understanding others circumstances and remembering how blessed you are to be taken care of in a standard in which society deems normal. My kids don’t take much for granted these days because they understand that things change in the blink of an eye.

I’ve been sifting through adoption listings, looking for potential matches. I’ve sent in several inquiries and have gotten very little feedback. Our system is flawed; caseworkers are busy prioritizing and adoptive kids are being pushed to the backburner. I understand that the removal and reunification are high on the totem pole, they are critical to child safety, but having a child wait in limbo for months or years just isn’t right. My licensing worker has assured me that my homestudy has been sent to all of the inquiries that I’ve sent in and even he says he has gotten very little feedback. It shouldn’t be this hard to find an older child, in the United States, who is legally free for adoption, to find a match. It shouldn’t be this hard to help.

On the other end of the spectrum I’ve gotten leads on some foster placements. Unfortunately, they weren’t a match for our home. I do have a strict criteria that I follow as my children are my number one priority. I do not want to expose them to some things nor have them possibly become victims in any way. It’s hard. Often times it breaks my heart but I’ve developed a firm understanding during my years of foster care of knowing when to say yes to a placement and when to say no.

Luckily, when you seek out adoptive children via photolistings or through your agency you can get every detail of their case/life since being in the foster care system. That makes finding a fit easier for families and agencies. I’ve gotten a few responses stating we weren’t a good fit for a child and I’ve sent responses saying we wouldn’t be a good fit for a child. I’m okay with that, I’m all about the best interest of the children. My older girls have taken an interest in looking at potential siblings online, Blue loves to watch the videos and Biscuit wants to see their faces.

Only God knows what will happen next, we may stay with the 5 kids and be done. We may foster more. We may adopt. Until then…we wait.

Time doesn’t stand still.

We’ve got new placement. Another teen female, surprise! We are headed to Thailand at the end of the week and once we return our new foster daughter will arrive. There was talk about her coming before we left but I feel like it would be tough to hop into a family when your parental units are gone. Our new placement is called Trambi, she’s band girl who has excellent grades and a sunshine-y disposition. She has a good head on her shoulders and is a lot like Hair, she is serious about school and her future.

Hair is currently trying to decide if she wants stay here or move away to live with family members. I’m okay with whatever she chooses, I’m here to help the kids in my home. While Hair may be different with her emo-goth facade…I don’t care. I’ll teach her the best that I can and help her achieve her goals. She wants everyone to believe she is different and interesting; hair color and dark clothes will not define you nor set you apart. You aren’t a special snowflake, you are YOU and once you accept that you will go as far as your allow yourself. I get it, I WAS the goth kid in school. If I could go back and tell myself one thing in High School it would be ‘Drop all this I’m special and different bullshit, you’re making life harder than it should be.’

Biscuit is having an amazing summer so far, she is taking the summer off. She has cheer and she’s happy. She isn’t doing summer school, college prep, camp, etc. She is currently considering studying abroad her junior year in Switzerland. I fully support this choice, I’ll happily pay for boarding school. Biscuit really wants to Colorado this summer and has asked to visit California as well.

Speaking of boarding school, Boychild wants to attend school in Hawaii this year and attend a boarding school. What?! He wants to learn Hawaiian culture, surf, fish, and paddle board. I’m on the fence about this…I was considering retaining him in the 5th grade and switching him to a private Christian school this year, I enrolled him earlier this year. Then I talked to a friend who has raised 3 successful, and amazing, children into adulthood who all went to public school. I’m on the fence about education at this point. Boychild has no interest in theater, karate, nor swim this summer. He wants to play Fortnight, hike, and ride jet skis. He is attending a Glorietta camp next month.

Bunny is excited about next school year, she knows a lot of kids at the private school. Again, I’m on the fence about education. Do my kids REALLY need private school? Parenting is hard. Bunny is participating in cheer and will soon be in a hip hop dance class to see if she likes it. Bunny has joined a bowling league this summer and a ballet camp. She will also attend Glorietta camp next month.

Blue has recieved her birth certificate, it’s SO cool! It lists me and Husband as her birth parents. I feel really good about that. In addition to this news, Blue is attending summer school so she can take the same math class as Biscuit next year. Sisterhood, it’s the real deal. Blue is on evaluation for a cheer team and we hope she makes it. If not she enjoyed participating in track and is open to other sports next school year.

Flower is trying to adult. She struggles continually when it comes to family, loyalty, and the future. Unfortunately she’s put too much time into her boyfriend (of one year) and prioritized him. It’s not uncommon for young girls to do this; I thought she was smarter, she almost had me fooled with her self hype and responsible actions regarding bills and such. I anticipated that she would cultivate her family and deticate more time to her family, family is forever. Instead she’s practically dragging her boyfriend along for HER journey and completely disregarding his ambitions. She’ll always be my daughter even if she wants to be absorbed in her herself and new love life, I get it… love is exciting and blinding. Flower is an arrogant girl, she believes what she wants and whatever we try to tell her it’s preposterous. It’s the struggle where she wants adult privileges but lacks the mature mindset. As parents typically are, we are the bad guys…we have the experience and want to teach our kids but they’re reluctant. She’s a stubborn girl and I haven’t got much time left to teach her. The entitlement is REAL with this one. She’s attending U of A this fall and then I have to sit back and watch her figure it out. I believe in her, undoubtedly.

Pretty is moving to Colorado in the fall. I’ve got mixed emotions as I want her to follow her dreams, I’m scared that she’s leaving me. She will ‘cultivate’ her dreams one way or another. I will support her in every endeavor…even if she wants to be a hippie and potentially live in a VW Bus.

Lemon is back into cheer, she’s on the same team as Bunny. Lemon is truly excited to be back on a team; she feels helpful and big. Lemon is attending a theater camp and a Glorietta camp.

Me? Nothing really new on my end. I’m anxious about leaving my humans for a little over 2 weeks, I know they’ll all be taken care of but my mom anxiety is through the roof. I’m a bit fearful about this Thailand trip because last time I had gone somewhere with Flower I didn’t see her except for a few hours at an event and at cerfew. Is it going to be like that again? I hate feeling this way. I feel betrayed, used, not worthy, and not like a mom. Yeah, you read that right, Mohavecountymama is vulnerable. Moving along…I’m taking the summer off, as teachers usually do. I’m going to see if this ecommerce thing takes off and then become a millionaire. 😘 Ha, if only! I’ll presumably spend the remainder of the summer shuttling my kids to all their activities, parties, fundraisers, etc.

Husband, well, he’s a Type-A personality. He wants to plan, plan, plan, this trip to Thailand and I’m more of a go with the flow type. I’d say he is a bit stressed about leaving his business behind, leaving the kids home, and trying to plan an itinerary. I’m screaming ‘Husband, focus on the 18 hour horror flight and wing the rest.’ Husband is not concerned with the flight…not one bit, hes got to be some sort of sociopath. I really love and admire this guy; he has the patience for all of our kids and rolls with the chaos. I’m lucky we have eachother.

Countdowns!

In just 17 days the adoption will be finalized! Our entire family is excited. Blue will be ours, forever. Adoption is tragically beautiful in our case, Blue had to suffer a tremendous loss to be in this position. She has grown, processed, and achieved all of her goals like a pro, this girl is resilient. I’m grateful that she was placed with us, I simply cannot imagine my life without her in. She wants a pet lizard to commemorate the day.

46 days until Orlando with Bunny and Biscuit. ESPN, Disney World, The Summit.

49 days until Husband, Lemon, and Blue go to Disneyland and the beach.

67 days until Flower’s graduation.

In 77 days Husband, Flower and I will venture to China then off to Thailand and Flowers birthday.

I have many things to figure out in the next 70ish days. Summer school, travel plans for the kids over the summer, summer camps, fundraising, change of schools, plan our family trip to Mexico before August, cheer financial forecasting, plan Boychild’s trip because he didn’t want to go to either Disney Parks, in addition to everyday life and all the activities, I’m overwhelmed.

I’ll hunker down over the next few weeks and get it all figured out.

Full speed ahead

Aaah. Blue’s bio mom decided to appeal the severance. This is an adoption setback. Seeing as both of her bio parents showed up to the severance trial, spoke to their lawyers, then left the court house without attending the trial…I thought an appeal was out of the question. I guess I was wrong. I think they’re just dragging things out. The bio parents had done only one thing required in their case plan when it was a reunification case. Severance was ordered after 1 year of Blue being in our care. Bio parents STILL requested a trial even though their participation was minimal. Then, as stated above, flaked on the trial. And now bio mom wants to appeal the decision?! This makes no sense at all; it’s bizarre. And for whatever reason bio mom is, presumably, lying about her whereabouts to Blue and boy does that make her angry. This is foster care.

Flower is doing well. At the end of this month the publication will be complete and she will be legally free for adoption. Luckily, I’ve got a rad lawyer in Phoenix and he is familiar with all of this foster care/adoption stuff. Let me know if you need a referral and I’ll hook you up with him, he comes to Mohave County regularly.

Pretty is well, she’s starting a new job next week and she’s confident. Financially she struggles and it terrifies me to send her off to college at the end of the summer. I know she is a survivor, I’ll pray for her. She’s also moving out in March, get it girl!

Biscuit is great, she’s doing her regular classes in high school and she’s also taking 2 classes online. She is on two cheer teams and doing a special performance with one team at a community event in a couple of weeks.

Boychild is well, he qualified for spelling bee at his school. He was very proud of himself, he ended up bombing it on the word ‘pesky.’ He said he added an extra ‘e’ after ‘k.’ Boychild has been playing basketball and football quite a bit. He had excellent grades this last quarter too. He spends his time playing the Switch, making remixes, and riding his dirtbike.

Bunny has expressed interest in football and volleyball. Unfortunately, gender roles are preventing her from trying out for football. Her friends think it’s a ‘boy sport’ and it’s definitely put Bunny on the fence about it. Bunny has exceptional grades and is ridiculously funny.

Lemon will be 5 at the end of the month, wow. The only thing that she talks about is being able to cheer again. She is an excellent reader, she enjoys make up, and is loud. Really, really, loud. All. The. Time. Singing, talking, playing, etc…she’s always at maximum volume.

Lemon’s reading skills.

We are silly.

Boychild’s jam station.

Husband recently had a procedure done, he’s had 6 inches by 1.5 inches of skin removed from his back per the dermatologists findings. Life is scary, just roll with the punches. He is still cute as hell and I love him more than I love air.

I’ve made a decision; I am doing the challenge. I’ve got an application and written the essay of sorts. Now, I’ll be making a video. I’ll post more about the challenge in the next few days. I’m a little apprehensive but I know, deep down, I need to make time for myself. This could be the push I need for a healthier lifestyle and help me get a handle on this self love journey.

Knott’s Berry Fun!

We had a great time on our mini trip, it was a fun 3 days! We spent the day at Knott’s, we had a beach day, and we had a schedule free couple of days. I attached a few pictures because they’re worth a million words. 

We are officially foster kid free, we have 3 open beds. I’ve gotten a few calls but I’m not sure what will come. We are all ready for some new faces around here, my kids are asking when we are getting new kids. I love that my kids are excited to help new families, I feel happy and inspired when my kids are intetested in helping our community. 

Tomorrow we are going to Prescott Valley to pick up our puppy, Murphy! We are all excited to add a furry member to our family. 

(That’s Murphy!)

Then…a few days of downtime then we’re going camping. Boychild cannot wait up get onto his dirt bike. Biscuit has decided she’d like a new dirt bike, she’s ready to learn to work a clutch and shift. She says she needs to learn before she gets her street bike! Biscuit has decided that she doesn’t want a car, she wants a Kawasaki Ninja. Oh boy. 

Have a wonderful day, be happy and know that you are loved!

I’ve got 7 kids in school!

Today was the first day that I had 7 kids in school, it sounds crazy when those words roll off my lips. I have SEVEN kids. It’s always been my personal goal to have 7 kids, I’ve always wanted 7. That’s my number…now it’s a reality. I love it! 

While Lemon only goes to preschool for 2.5 hours it was just enough to time to go have breakfast with a couple friends and spend some time enjoying coffee and company. I have 7 kids. 

Minnie is doing just fine, she’s been introduced to many of our older cheer friends who also attend high school and she was feeling confident when I dropped her off at school today. I can’t wait to hear about her first day! Minnie has expressed interest in joining the high school swimming team, I’m definitely on board for that. She mentioned yesterday wanting to get involved with the anti bullying club as well. Yay! I’m happy she’s here, I’m happy she’s expressing her needs, and I’m happy that she’s ready to just hop right in to life here and  to find herself. I have 7 kids.  

Boychild is running for student council! He was very excited to tell me about it and to go over his speech that he will need to read to the whole school. I’m proud of him! I have 7 kids. 

No other big news to report. Be happy. Guys, I have 7 kids!!!

What makes a household with 6 kids work?

People ask all the time ‘How do you do it with 6 kids?’ or the make comments about how crazy it must be at our home with all of the kids or how hard it must be. Guys, this is a myth…it’s not hard, it’s not a madhouse, and it’s not complicated. It’s really cool. Want to know how I do it? Let’s go!

1. Everyone is held accountable. I have six kids, each kid has 1 chore. The chore never changes, when the chore isn’t completed I know exactly which kid I need to find and talk to. They’re all responsible to keep their rooms cleaned and put away their own laundry. If it isn’t completed I know who to talk to, it’s pretty simple. If your chores aren’t done correctly you lose all electronic privileges. To kids that’s like death, anything but the electronics! Nooooo!

2. Communication. Do you know how important it is to say what you mean and mean what you say? It’s crucial in large households. Think before you speak, speak kindly to one another, and don’t lie.

3. Pick up after yourself. The kids are allowed to play anywhere with their toys, outside, inside, the pool, wherever. They’re responsible to put their things away when they’re done. They also are responsible to put their shoes, jackets, and backpacks away after school.

4. Homework. We pay for A’s, $5 an A. Kids work hard independently to achieve goals, when report cards come out its pretty exciting around here. School is their job and you get paid to work, it’s simple.

5. Love. We love fiercely. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes, don’t do chores, get bad grades, mess up…we still love. It’s important to know that you have someone on your side no matter what.

Sure, there are house rules but these rules are the most important ones, in my opinion. These things help make things move along effortlessly and swiftly. Yes, we have hiccups along the way but who doesn’t?! Having a large family isn’t hard, it isn’t unpleasant, and it is a chaotic mess around here. We have order, structure, and fun all balled up and that’s what makes our home amazing.

Next time you think, ‘Oh my gosh, how do they do it?!’ Just remember it’s normal for us and we think the same thing about small families. 🙂

Kids!

Kid update! Parent update!

Biscuit raised $500 fundraising for cheer, she bought her own uniform and jacket. I am proud of her! It helped with the financial burden of purchasing two uniforms, two jackets, and paying two competition fees last week. She also got her front tuck! That’s amazing, again I’m beaming with positive mom feelings! It won’t be long before she has her back tuck and we will celebrate. Being in Junior High is suiting her well…she is boy crazy.

Shy is no longer shy! He is funny, outgoing, and clever! He has started showing an interest in girls and participates in EVERYTHING. Shy is patient and kind, he is helpful, and he has come so far. I am proud of him! He started the Young Marines and he wants to become a leader. I can always count on him.

Boychild started the Young Marines, he’s really keen on it. He is excited about the encampments and the gun raffle! Boychild is doing exceptionally well in school and this makes me mega proud. He still has some impulse control issues as well as accountibility problems but that is something we are constantly working on, I hope the Young Marines will help pound positive things into his head.

Bells is doing well too! This girl is making leaps and bounds in the reading department, she was pretty far behind her grade level in most of her school work but she has been joyful during all the extra tutoring and AR reports. Bells started a recreational cheer team and she is a constant positive in our household. She calls me mom sometimes and I don’t mind, she is a good girl and I love her just as I love my own children.

Bunny is not liking Kindergarten so much, she misses me and cries often. She misses nap time too. However, she is doing great and is actually READING! Bunny is doing exceptional in cheer and is currently learning her back handspring. She has a great sense of humor and is a complete showstopper.

Lemon started Preschool, she adores it. I like it too…hello free time! Lemon thinks she is a cheerleader but she still has a little while before she can become a Sonic. Until then she is the biggest supporter of the entire Sonics family.

My babies make me proud, they’re all doing so well. Yes, they get into trouble and make mistakes but they’re learning. They’re kids. Kids learn by example and by guidance…I do my best. I am not perfect and I make mistakes too. I take it one day at a time and sometimes I wing it. Husband and I are doing well, we have our date nights on Wednesdays when the kids go to their youth group. We also have lunch dates during the week. I love that we make time, even with 6 kids in our home, to keep our relationship healthy.