Sunday, October 30, 2011

When two pink lines are completely innocent...

So for this post, I had to enlist the help of my new friend (can I call you that?? Can I can I???)  Her name is Jill (aka Jillsmo) and you can find her over at HER blog, Yeah. Good Times.  She is an accomplished artiste and was willing to help me illustrate whats been going through my head since the Incident With Pee and Positive Pregnancy Tests. 

Take, for example, the car below.  Notice the super speedy pinstripes, without which the car would probably not even move. Two pink lines on a car? Awesome, 80s style. The stripes incite a feeling of zippiness that the car would clearly not have were it not for them.

Now let us take a look at a really good movie. Doesnt matter which one, pick any one you like. See those little pink lines, craftfully sealing that wondrous DVD shut, so that you know that some little punk has not previously watched it, burned it, and then brought it back to the store? Those two pink lines mean security people!

Now, see the below child. She's precious, isn't she? See that pretty little picture she drew? Its a rainbow, made with pink lines.  Those pink lines represent unicorns and leprechauns and the innocent musings of a two year old, completely oblivious to the responsibility that comes with the other kind of pink lines.

 And this...well, its bacon.  Everyone loves bacon. If you don't, theres something wrong with you.  However, pre-cooked bacon is remarkably straight, like a little food omen.

There are times when two pink lines, that are relatively parallel to one another are completely harmless and benevolent.  Take, for example, the picture of one of those annoying bicyclists riding down our country roads (in the most arrogant fashion BTW).  See the stylish stripes on their shirt? Almost makes me feel bad for hating them taking up the road.  Actually, no it doesnt.  

So, quick recap. Most times, two pretty, pink lines do not connote the same feeling of panic and utter despair as two pink lines on a pregnancy test.  To say I'm still freaking out...understatement.  I'm blessed, I know that.  But we were not planning this and I hate to admit that I'm not handling this with as much gratitude and grace as I should be.  Luckily, my Pregnancy By the Week calendar states that this VERY week, I may have feelings of ambivalence mixed with anxiety. Thank goodness! ;-)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

And then there were

So, I havent posted in a few days because honestly, I'm still trying to drag my butt off the floor from when I first found out. 

Lets rewind to last week, when I was blissfully unaware of this up and coming responsibility. I was preparing to figure out how I was going to fund raise to ADOPT. Not birth, ADOPT.  Then, a funny thing happened. Or, a painful thing rather. My gallbladder started freaking the heck out. That typically only happens when I'm pregnant.  Of course I was all cocky...being on the pill and all (LOESTRIN people...stay away!!!)  and thought for sure this is just a coincidence and I forgot about it. Until I couldnt anymore. Then the cramps started coming at a time they shouldn't have...and I knew.

So I bought a pregnancy test...or six.  Every one was positive. Not even a "hold it up to the light to really see a line" positive.  They were there and undeniable.  Hubs and I are in shock. Of course, babies are blessings, but seeing that extra line was a record screech.  

We havent told too many yet. I know I'm still early on, but not sure how early. Dr's appt isnt until mid-November because the scheduling Nazi at my OB's office wouldn't let me in any earlier.  So, thats that.

Thinking back three years, hubs and I remembered that I conceived Baby A on the same birth control. All along I felt it wasn't strong enough (I'll spare the gory details as to WHY I felt that way), but I was going to bring it up with my dr at my next appointment. Funny.  Or not...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Easiest Tutu Tutorial EVER

So, somewhere online I found a picture of a tutu dress that I loved, but wasn't trying to pay $50 for, so I decided to make my own version, and voila!  I discovered the easiest way to make your own tutu (other than handing over the credit card).  So simple, and cost me about $6 to make.
-Stretchy headband thing
-two spools of tulle (get the spools.  Unless you reaaaaaly want to waste time, stay away from the the tulle yardage at the fabric counter. It takes forever to cut and it won't be as even as just cutting tulle from the rolls). Trust me.
-coordinating ribbon

So, the tutu I made will fit an older baby to an older toddler (say...6months to 4 years...might could squeeze it onto a size 5 if she's super skinny). 
Headband (you can get these at most craft stores)

spools of tulle (Hobby Lobby has a huge selection, but you can get most pastel colors in the wedding section of any craft store)

Place the band around something to keep it stable as you begin tying tutu knots. I use a football held in my lap. Seems to work just fine! The first row goes through the bottom of the headband, skipping a space between each piece of tulle.

For the second row, I really wanted to break up the orange b/c it was REALLY orange, so I added a row of shimmery gold.

After the third and final row (which was orange), I added this ribbon to cinch the waiste for my skinny minnie. And done!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Laundry Room

I spend a RIDICULOUS amount of time doing laundry.  It is a constant, never ending flow of clothing.  Our laundry room used to be Oscar's bedroom before he died.  He was funny like that...he had some form of anxiety that if left to roam the halls at night, he'd howl. I learned early on that rather than cuddling with us and having free range of the house, he much preferred to be "tucked in" and left alone for the night.
Anyhoo! Due to the tumor on his ear, he was leaking a lot of blood...and while I got it up, the walls of the laundry room are now dingy and need to be painted. This is my plan:

Ok, so this is actually my ribbon color chart, but the room color is ON here, so I'm gonna use it! Its the one on the bottom row, fifth from the left. That nice, toasty brownish, gray...
 I found these printables on  (best website EVERY for EVERYTHING). Need craft ideas? Done. Recipes? Done. You name it, its on there! Here is the actual link.
 This I'll be ordering from etsy

 And this is another printable I found on Pinterest...but I printed it in turquoise to match the other one. I stuck them both in simple white frames so that they'll stand out from the brown wall.
 And this lovely little project is for the hubs. As much as I admire power tools and like to hold them and press the buttons and stuff, I leave the actual creating to him. The tutorial for that is here . I'm going to do mine side by side instead of on top of each other b/c then I'm going to install one of those white wire shelves so that I can hang our clothes on it instead of in the bathrooms! (yes, I do have a dryer, but our stuff lasts so much longer when its air dried, and seeing as it has to be handed down to two more kids, I like to try and keep it in good shape...they do enough damage on their own!) :)
So thats my plan for my new and improved laundry room. I figure if I have to spend time in there, I might as well make the space pleasant!


Today was super frustrating. I have a case in which the parents adopted two children, and have two biological children. These kids were adopted from an Eastern European country, and were 2.5 and 8 at the time of adoption. Something happened between the two of them that I'll spare you the details of, but the resulting madness that has ensued has been filling my days with frustration and their parents. The boy is 15, and they are adamant about getting him out of their house. Their SON. They keep asking us to take him and put him in a group home...whaaaaa??
Although properly trained (I actually called their agency) on the risks of international adoption, and the effects of institionalization on children, they fail to see how their kids' early lives translate into their lives and behaviors now. They never got them proper counseling or services when attachment problems first surfaced, and they are not accepting ANY responsibility for their poor parenting of these kids.  They have abused them verbally and physically since they came to this country 7 years ago. I am just sick of this.  The child in question is very mild and he is a GOOD kid...despite what he's been through.  The parents are looking, at every moment, for reasons to be mad with him. AND ITS ALL DUMB.  These parents went through two post-adoptive counseling rounds, have two in-home therapists working with them, and myself (their good 'ol county social worker), not to mention education specialists...all of us pointing fingers to mom and dad, and mom and dad not caring AT ALL. They want him out out out out out.  How can they not be held accountable for this?  They are so cold with this child, I almost wonder if it would be better to remove him and put him in foster care.  On the flip side, we don't ever want to take kids unless we HAVE to...but they are just so hostile towards him and he cowers when they are around....he literally shrinks into his body. 
I'm not telling the whole story here for the sake of time, but I am just so infuriated with these people.  This child is a teenager...he does not do drugs, he does not drink, he does not cause problems in school, he does his chores as told. He has ASKED to be loved. He suffered innumerable abuses at the hands of his former caregivers including being tied to his bed, almost drowned, starved, beaten, molested...
And then here, he's suffered at the hands of the people who promised to protect him. He has sensory processing disorder, frontal lobe deformity, fetal alcohol syndrome...things that make it VERY difficult for him to function day to day, and yet he does...and he thrives...when they aren't around. 
I just had to get that off my chest. I'm so angry and so frustrated...I have put hours and hours and hours into this family, this child, and its all falling apart because we as professionals care more about this kid than his own parents do. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Carter Mountain Apple Orchard

Yesterday we decided to take the kids to Carter Mountain Apple Orchard...its in or near Charlottesville and Monticello (Thomas Jefferson's home for those that are historically challenged). 
So, it was a gorgeous day...they don't get much better than that.  The kids had fun, but our trip ended early due to one very fussy four year old. We got to pick our apples, and there are TONS of them to pick. I'm glad we arrived early too because as we were leaving, the line to park was snaking allllll the way down the mountain. We did the hayride, but skipped just about everything else due to the aforementioned bad mood. No apple cider donuts for me :(  Sigh, the sacrafices we make...
Anyhoo, some pics....
The view from the top of the orchard
trying to get all three to sit still for a family picture. I tried this numerous times throughout the day...this is the best one. You dont' want to see the rest!

 Big A taking the leap and being the first to test an apple
 Baby A following suit
 Hairbows courtesy of Four Little Apples

 Another FAIL. Family pictures are not our thing.
 I LOVE this picture of baby A and her daddy.

 Little cranky face below was actually in a great mood, just didnt want a stranger taking her picture.
 Picking apples is exhausting

Thursday, October 6, 2011

All I can say not in a good way

As most of you know, I'm a huge adoption advocate. I was adopted as an infant, and have been an adoption counselor for 11 years. I'm finding recently though, that I have no clue how very deep the controversy surrounding adoption runs. I was never naive enough to think the process wasnt without its faults, but I had NO clue how huge the anti-adoption movement was. I mean, I was floored when I began reading all of the vicious, hate-filled comments that span the web.  Some are from scorned adoptees...those whose lives didnt turn out quite how their biological parents had probably intended when they placed their babies for adoption. Some are from professionals, lay people, whatever...but their adversity to adoption is just stunning. 
I read an article by Jessica DeBalzo that slammed adoption and suggested that it is never a good option, and we should be supporting biological parents and biological families in order to keep that child within their bloodlines. Ok, Jessica...lets talk a few scenarios here and see how that plan would work (BTW, Jessica's is one of numerous that I found supporting this "theory"). 

1. The instance of rape.  Should biological mothers be forced to raise a child that is a byproduct of an assault? Should they be forced to love a child that was literally forced upon them in THE most invasive, degrading, traumatic way possible? I have placed babies for rape victims before and I have found them to be so incredibly even carry a baby to term that was not planned, but forced into your body...
2. parents that do not want their children.  Hate to say it, but I have worked with gobs of parents who don't all...about their kids. They don't want them and show them the very smallest amount of attention possible to keep them alive.  Despite beaucoups of "services" put into place to "support" the family, the parents don't bite and nothing changes.  They are mean to these children (case in point...I have been working a foster care prevention case where no services seemed to work and mom was completely apathetic about her children. Fast forward a year and CFS had to remove the kids. What did mom do? She didn't cry. She didn't beg for another chance. She didnt ask what could have been done differently or when she could see her kids again.  What did she do? She told her child it was HIS fault the kids were being removed. She then set his stuff on the curb to be sold, and was sure to do it on a Friday so that he would see it as his bus drove by to school...and he did).
3. Instances of drug dependency.  I'm not saying all drug addicts are incapable of rehabbing, but why the heck would you use resources to "support" a parent who would probably sell the dang baby for their next fix??  Support a parent who is well into recovery, but why allow an innocent child to suffer the constant ups and downs of life with a drug addict? I have learned the hard way that people do not change until they are ready and if a baby happens to come along before that day, that child should not be made to suffer along to "wait and see" if the parents can get themselves straight!

Ok, so I can go on and on about this stuff. Its infuriating that a few people, who are probably not even adopted themselves, can have such strong, negative opinions about something they have never experienced. Even if they have, and their particular experience was negative, they can NOT make blanket statements that ALL adoptions are a detriment to the adoptee! So many many children have been blessed with loving families and have been given opportunities (and I don't mean financial gain...I mean the opportunity to grow in a family that WANTS them, cherishes them, and helps them develop to their greatest potential). 

I havent even gotten to the international adoption argument yet...I just do not understand WHY people spend so much time arguing against a process that has saved lives and has made an positive generational impact.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

VA State Fair-Awesomeness!!

Last night we went to the VA State Fair and it was fantastic!! I'm not a big carnival person, but this was great! It was in a new location and was super clean and full of activities for everyone.

 Big A and the most giant-est cotton candy ever.
 The girls at the entrance of the fair
Big A and Baby A trying on their tail

DH and Big A got a kick out of this once...a cow named Meg...thanks!

Sweet baby pig named Caleb. We actually knew his "momma" and she let me pet him forever. I adore this little guy!!

 The duck slide!

Baby A in the biggest tractor wheel ever

Sunday, October 2, 2011

OT: Hairbows!

These are some of the cheerleading/school hairbows I've been working on. I recently completed an order for 17 girls! It was first "mass production." 

This is my etsy shop...convo me if you'd like to set up a custom listing!!