Monday, September 29, 2008

Music and Life-Austin

Today is my oldest son's birthday, That baby boy that taught me how strong a mother's love really is. The one who helped show me just what a miracle life is and how strong the Father's love for us is; after all, doesn't He love us more than I love my son? Wow!

I remember taking Austin to church for the first time after he was born. A beautiful Jamaican lady, who attended there as long as I can remember and had known me since I was small, was one of the first to sidle over to take a look at my beautiful baby. She asked what his name was, but when I told her she misunderstood and thought I said Awesome. So, she proceeded to tell lots of folks that his name was Awesome :) hehe

Maybe she spoke that into his life that Sunday morning, because he is awesome. He's loving, protective of his Mama, helpful, looks out for his little brother, and he has a way with younger kids that just amazes me. He's a super funny kid who says the craziest things that you don't expect and he's super smart, I have to get him to help me with math when I'm cooking. How sad is that? lol

Austin loves Johnny Cash, especially his song "A Boy Named Sue".

Happy Birthday Austin! Love you!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Music and Life-Robbie

This song always makes me think of my younger brother, Robbie. I don't remember if it was a favorite of his or not but the story of the young boy and his great-grandfather calls to my mind the relationship between my brother and our great-grandaddy, Grandaddy Marsh. I don't even have specific vivid memories, more like impressions of memories. But I do know that there was a special relationship there. Grandaddy enjoyed having Robbie around. Robbie was special to him, especially being the first great-grandson. I'm glad that they had that, because Robbie didn't always have alot of folks in his life that he really felt that he was special to and we all need that. Grandaddy Marsh has been gone a long time now, and I hope that my brother has these memories of him like I do.

Happy Birthday Bro!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Joys of Foster Care (the sarcastic version)

On Friday I got a call from "The Girls" caseworker. Their dad is out of jail and is determined to get them back. Yay! That's great news for a few reasons. The most important being that they will be happy to be with their own family and know that they are safe, and because unfortunately if their plan is not reunification then things look bleak. I hate having to say that but, honestly, once kids get to be as old as they are and have been thru as much as they have, their chances of being adopted out of foster care grow slimmer. It is a sad reality. What's sadder is that these girls had a great chance to be placed with a strong, secure, loving family the first time they were in care but they were sent home. And from some stories we've heard it sounds like Mom and Dad just did a great job of playing the System and hiding things the first time around. That's even more scary.

Now, back to Dad being out of jail. They were scheduled to have a visit with him this week and we thought, "just in case any thing happens we'll hold off on telling them". Thank God for His divine wisdom! It turns out that some things had happened in the past that need to be investigated and they may have no chance of ever going back to dad. Our trainers had told us to expect that things will come out after they had been with us a while, but I don't think you ever really prepare yourelf to deal with some of the things that have gone on with these kids.

Why does this world have to be this way?! We need for more of this evil that goes on in the dark to be brought into the light. IN JESUS NAME!

I am so sad for these girls. They have no appropriate family that anyone's been able to identify thus far. I just shudder to think what their future might be. I'm going to begin to pray that the perfect family be raised up to take them on. Pray with me?

YAY! Aww, Thanks......

Brandi awarded me a couple days ago and I have to say how truly good that makes me feel. I absolutely LOVE reading her blog, she has so much passion for "The Least of These" and inspires me when I get to feeling the "What can I do?" blues. She also has a blog, KidsLake, dedicated to making others aware of different causes that help orphans and training children in missions service to others. I love it as well, and have even passed it on to our children's and youth ministers. If you've never read her blog, shame on you, cause I link her all the time! :-) Seriously, you need to check her out.

Ok, now for the hard part. All of the blogs that I read are awesome and they all deserve to receive some type of recognition. Luckily, for me, lots of them already have received these awards. So, here goes:

1. Adopting Again Rebecca is a foster/adopt Mama who's journey has been windy and sometimes difficult, but obviously worth it. I have always admired how she gives Glory where it is due throughout it all.

2. My Minivan Rocks First of all, I love the name of Tracy's blog :) And second, I love her honesty and how real and funny she always is.

3. Stepping Out of the Boat I admire Laura's faith and the way she stands strong for what she believes in. She loves her family and it shines through when you read her blog.

4. Tami's I have so enjoyed following along on Tami's journey to her Noah. She waited so long for him, and her faith and perseverance in everything she did to get to him has inspired me over and over again.

5. Big Mama Hollers I Love Cindy's blog for so many reasons! She has a strong faith and KNOWS where her strength comes from. I feel I have learned so much just from her sharing her struggles with her kids, plus she gives great gardening and frugal living tips from time to time. And she lives so close to where I grew up, every time I read her blog it's like taking a slight trip back home. If you are even considering fostering or foster/adopt you HAVE to read her blog. Heck, you should stop by if you are considering adoption period. You won't regret it.

6. And just cause I'm a rule breaker, but also cause I love her blog as well: My Ebenezer. Cindy always makes me laugh and her passion for the children in foster care is evident. Blogs like hers and so many others give me hope for the future of these kids if we all just speak out loud and long enough.

Characteristics for the Smile Award:
1. Must display a cheerful attitude.
2. Must love one another.
3. Must make mistakes. (I think we can all relate to that!)
4. Must learn from others.
5. Must be a positive contributor to blog world.
6. Must love life.
7. Must love kids.

Rules for The Smile Award:
1. The recipient must link back the the award's creator, Mere
2. You must post these rules if you receive the award.
3. You must chose 5 people to receive the award after receiving it yourself.
4. You must fit the characteristics of the recipient of the award, as posted.
5. You must post the characteristics of a recipient.
6. You must create a post sharing your win with others.
7. You must thank your giver.

I wish I knew where the "I love your blog" award originated from, but I don't. Anyone else know?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Who's caring for the poor?

Please check out Brandi's post on the truth of who really does care for the poor. Ever heard the expression "Put your money where your mouth is"? I'm thinking Obama and Biden have not.

I am a truthseeker. I like to know and see what the truth really is. Even if it hurts and I don't want to hear it. I have a hard time lying to people and don't like to be lied to myself. So, when I run across things like this I want the world to know, to see what the truth is. If there's more to this story I'd love to hear it, because after all, Don't we want the whole truth? I have a feeling, though, that this is what it is.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Boy howdy the adjusting taking place in this household lately! I knew to expect it, they talk about it alot in the training, but that doesn't make it any easier when the actual adjusting is taking place. How many fits in one day can one little girl have? Gah!!!

Poor A (or Mississippi) is having a really hard time adjusting to having consistent rules.
-She does not like having to sit at the table and do homework.
-She does not like having a chore to do every night.
-She DETESTS having to read actual books for 20-30 minutes every night.
-And EVERYTHING her sister does pushes her over the edge.
I think her real problem is that she gets frustrated very easily and it escalates to the point that she just can not control her emotions any longer. Usually when she gets like this her feet and hands start twisting and she can't walk or write. We haven't figured out yet if this is just something she's developed to take the focus off of whatever has frustrated her or if it really is a symptom of something else. There definitely seems to be a lot of anxiety there and we will be working on that. At the time when she is having one of her fits I get frustrated with her and wish she would just stop, but later when I think about all she's been through I feel sorry for her. I'm surprised that there aren't more issues.

As for C (or Skippy), she seems to have the opposite going on. She still has some issues that we have to watch out for but they aren't as obvious as Mississippi's. One of her things is she'll tell us she will do something and then just not do it. Or when we went shopping for clothes she told us she liked things and now says that she doesn't and doesn't want to wear them. ARGH! Tonight Rickydoodle asked her if she had gotten a test back from one of her teachers and she said they hadn't taken a test. When he said he had spoken to the teacher and knew they had taken the test the day before she all of a sudden "maybe remembered taking a test", but they haven't gotten it back. We just had to laugh, under our breath of course. Sarcasm is a big defense mechanism with her. In one way it's not a big deal because you expect it from a kid her age, but in another she has never learned proper times for being sarcastic and being serious. There have been times we've introduced her to friends and she has shown a little sarcasm in her greeting, it's awkward, but I honestly think it's done to protect herself. Kind of, "I don't know you or if you're OK for me to get to know so I'm gonna use this to put you off." She also uses it with Rick and I at times and neither of us like a child to be disrespectful, so that has been awkward as well. All in all though, she's really a good kid with a good heart. Unfortunately, she's not had steady guidance most of her life.

Another issue we are dealing with from both of them is Parentification. Luckily for me I've been reading Cindy's and Yolies blogs and found lots of been there done that advice. I am by no means an expert but it's nice when you sort of know what to expect. The only trouble with this case is I didn't expect them BOTH to be parentified, but they are. We first noticed it in Mississippi and thought that was strange because we expected it to be Skippy since she's the oldest. Then when Skippy was a little more comfortable we noticed signs of parentified behavior in her too. Honestly Skippy probably is more parentified but they definitely both show signs. And maybe that's where some of Mississippi's issues with Skippy come from. It's like having two positives to a magnet too close to each other, right? We finally had to tell them the other day that they are not each other's parent and we will be the ones that tell them what they need to do and all the other things that parents do. I don't want them to stop looking out for each other but I would like to take some of the pressure off of both of them.

Austin, Noah, Ricky, and I are just adjusting slowly. Taking all this one day at a time. I've come to realize if your family is not very flexible you probably won't like foster parenting. You have to be able to roll with the flow.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Music and Life: 9-11-01

I was at work, about 45 miles from the Pentagon. My office manager got a call from her daughter and we turned on the television and watched the footage of the most unbelievable events I've witnessed in my life. After we heard that the Pentagon had also been hit we walked outside and I swear we saw small bits of ash falling from the sky. I never in all my life thought something like this would happen in America, I guess I just took for granted that we were safe. It brought home to me how things can change in a moment and how life has to be lived right now while we have the chance.

I don't like watching clips of footage like what is seen in this video but I know I need to be visually reminded sometimes. We should not allow ourselves to forget what happened to us. Our entire NATION was violated that day. Can you imagine the horror that those who knew they would not escape the Towers faced in those last few moments? I don't think our President is perfect and I am not sure where I stand on how the war has gone, but I do think that he took us into this with every intention of making sure that something like what happened seven years ago yesterday morning is not allowed to happen again.

Wher we were you? Do you remember?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

"The Girls"

All my life it seems it has been "Melissa and The Boys". As a kid I was older sister and ONLY sister to two boys, so, naturally whenever anyone spoke of my parents' kids it was "Melissa and The Boys". Then I grew up and found myself as a single mom to two little boys, and it was once again "Melissa and The Boys". Gotta love God's sense of humor, huh?

My brothers and my sons may need counseling someday for identity issues, but that's another post. This one is about "The Girls".

I know I can't share their names here and haven't really decided on code names for them. For now I'll call them C and A, or "The Girls". C is the oldest and she is 12 years old. She has super curly auburn hair and is tall, I think, for a 12 year old. But, then, I'm short so maybe she's just right. She's taller than me, anyway. A is 10 and has long blond hair and is not taller than me :) They both have beautiful crystal blue eyes and are really good girls at heart.

There has been the usual adjustment: a little attitude here and there and some tears. I know it has to be hard for them to be away from their family, especially since it's not the first time and everybody thought last time was a reunification "success story". At least that's what the social workers told us. Their former foster parents and others have said that they had their doubts even then. It really is sad. It's almost like playing Russian Roulette with kids' lives and hoping for the right outcome. I keep wondering where these girls might be right now if they hadn't been placed back home last time, if they had given Mom/Dad a little more time to make sure they were really ready, or maybe if someone had known what would happen and they had just stayed with Mr. and Mrs. T. They tell us these stories that make us cringe. Stories of before they were in foster care the first time and after they went back home. No child should have to live like that and their story isn't nearly as bad as some others' who are in foster care right now.

I have been impressed with their maturity in some areas. They know that it is best for them to be where they are. They understand that they weren't in a safe environment with Mom and Dad and that both Mom and Dad need to get help to overcome the obstacles that keep them from being the parents to them that they ought to be. So far in all this I have still been able to pray for their parents and hope that maybe this time they will be able to gt it right. To turn it around and be what their girls need. I'm surprised by this because I thought that I would have to fight to overcome a grudge at the way they have mistreated their kids and it would be hard to even pray for them. I guess it's God's grace, and some of the stories from those in our congregation that met Dad and say that at one time he was really trying, even bringing them to church once he got them back. I hope it's not too late.