Thursday, March 31, 2011

Catching up - March 31st

Somehow I've managed to go two weeks without a post! As usual, we've been keeping busy and nothing too exceptionally news-worthy, but here's a recap:

  • Adoption News: There is no news. Still waiting on our home study to begin. We did however, discover that we will have to take an 'adoption specific training' class in May (3rd and 10th...6 hours total). Seems like there is a never ending list of classes to complete, but we are taking it in stride. I think I've officially decided on a plan for the nursery (I've been waffling a lot lately) and I hope to actually get started on it this weekend rather than just talking about it. And I'm still deeply conflicted on what all I should stock in advance. I will have a crib (that converts to a toddler bed) and possibly a changing table from my sister. I'd like to get a glider as well. I'm thinking I might start collecting some books too.

  • Mentoring: Still going, still feel like I'm struggling to gain any positive ground with the girls. However, I still LOVE hanging out with them and am already getting sad about the end of the year. Their teacher and I did decide on a new plan though: they must earn 3 out of 5 days on green or they don't get to have lunch with me on Mondays. I hope that will encourage them. I know they enjoy seeing fact, they asked me this week why I can't come every day!

  • Tax Site: Still working the tax site every Tuesday, but things are definitely slowing down. Only two Tuesdays left!

  • Choir: Well, I shamefully quit choir. We have had a LOT on our plates lately and since I wasn't really enjoying choir as much as my other commitments, I decided to drop it. I hate feeling like a quitter, but at the same time, I wasn't exactly providing any added benefit other than another warm body. I can't carry a tune in a bucket. I think the reason I wasn't enjoying it was because it just seemed so impersonal. I didn't know anyone in there and it was like we just showed up, sang, and left. While I appreciate the hugeness that is the Mobberly Choir, it makes it difficult to make things intimate and get to know each other. I am still working with the 3 year olds, 9:30 live, and active in our small group. Perhaps there will be other volunteer opportunities through church for me to be involved in later on. However, primarily, I just decided I needed to scale back my commitments. These next few months are our last few months of 'freedom' before our lives are turned upside down with kids.

  • Leadership Longview: On the home stretch. We've been having weekly meetings trying to tie up the loose ends before project day on April 14th

  • Mission Trip: Clint and I were thinking about going on a Mission Trip this summer. We were discussing Romania. However, after attending the missions luncheon to learn more, we just weren't feeling it. We don't want to do one, just for the sake of doing it, we want to have a desire for it, and feel like our skills are being used. None of the other missions through our church are really striking our fancy either. I looked at missions through Buckner online, but not much was listed. I may talk to them in person. In the end, we may just try to do some local community volunteering.

  • Racing: I decided to back down from the half marathon to the 5k and it was a good decision and I still had fun. I somehow managed to win my age group and was the third overall female. I'll take it! Clint had a great run in the half marathon as well! I was surprised when I saw him coming around the corner when he did. I thought it would be several more minutes before he finished. I've also finally made it back into the pool. It was surprisingly not as bad as I feared. Looking back at my training logs, I only swam 2.5 hours all of last year! And i didn't have much more in 2009. So, it's definitely been a long time coming. We have a great guy teaching a group swim on M/W/F, which I think will greatly help me improve. I am also still LOVING my Titan Training class (Art of Strength class at the gym). I am challenged every time and I love everyone's 'let's do it' attitude. This past weekend was the Beauty and the Beast Ride in Tyler. Clint rode (his first time to ride it) and I volunteered as a flagger. Great turnout and great weather!

I think that's the gist of things. We actually have a 'free' weekend this weekend...meaning, nothing on the schedule. I'm in the mood for some serious spring cleaning so that's my plan for the weekend. We'll see how much actually gets accomplished.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Waiting Game

This past Saturday we attended our restraint training class (SAMA). While we doubt we'll ever have to use any of the techniques learned, the class went about as well as it could I'd say. The instructor was nice and made it fun and our fellow classmates made it as tolerable as possible as well. Clint and I were the only ones in class who weren't current foster parents so we were extremely green. I'm loving getting to meet these other foster families though; such a great group of people.

One thing I did walk away from the SAMA class was on the communication portion. We went over a process to verbally de-escalate a situation. While some of the steps seemed silly, I really see how the process works. The biggest thing I learned was when confronting an angry person, use questions that get them to talk it out. Questions to use are when, where, how, and what. However, NOT 'why'. This question can have an accusatory undertone, thus making the person angrier. I had never thought about that before! I know even with my mentor girls when they are mad about someone doing something to them, etc., I've been quick to the 'why'. Overall, the class taught me to be aware of my approach and how it is received. Oh, and to use open-ended questions (something that I DID know) to get the person in distress to talk rather than shutdown in yes/no questions.

So now we wait for the home study process to begin. This will be the first of many waiting times, I'm sure. However, we are prepared for that and actually in somewhat of a tough situation. We'll be licensed by sometime this summer (unless something unexpected occurs or they deem us not fit to be parents). I'd like to keep my job through the end of the year and then switch over to my husbands insurance, etc. This doesn't mean we couldn't go ahead and get a placement and then put the child in daycare temporarily (not what I'd like!). But, we also plan to take a vacation the first week in October. We feel it's important for us to get one last big, grown-up vacation in before kids. After kids, we know it's going to be Disneyland, etc. for awhile (if we get a vacation at all, ha!). Therefore, I do not want to take in a child before our vacation because I don't want to take them in and turn around and say 'we're going to be gone for a week, someone come get this child.'

With the October vacation, I'm thinking that we would not want to be open to a placement until after we return. I still don't like the idea of putting a child in daycare though, even if it's two months. Not that I'm worried about a horrible day care experience, but I want to be there for the child. I want to work on attachment (yes, I know we may not get to keep them). I want to be the one who provides for them. Yep, I'm selfish I suppose :)

Meanwhile, we've had so many people ask, 'when do you get a baby?' It's just not that easy to answer. We don't get the 40 week countdown. It's funny, I think we are more patient than our family and friends! We've got lots of time to be parents and start our family and it will be done on God's timing.

We saw Clint's family this weekend and his parents are extra anxious. I told Clint again, that it's time for a dinner with them so that we can have 'The Talk.' I need to do it with my family as well. Right now, they've got 'rainbows and unicorns' in their heads. They need to understand that this is going to be difficult; we may be a temporary family long before we get to be a special one's permanent family; we are going to be restricted more so than 'normal' new parents; these kids may have some tough issues to overcome that they aren't accustomed to; etc. And I don't want to paint gloom and doom, but like PRIDE, they need to be aware of the 'worst case scenario' and a little more about how this process is going to work. We're going to be dealing with CPS, Buckner, lawyers, biological parents, CASA workers (hopefully), medical exams, it's going to be busy and stressful. Of course, the rewards will far outweigh these struggles.

Once again, just thinking 'out loud.' That's another reason why I love this blog and will be great for me to reflect back on and see my emotions, etc. that I am experiencing along the way.

This week has been nice since it's Spring Break, which means nothing to us at the moment, but does to just about everyone else. Our normal extracurricular stuff has been cancelled this week so we've had slightly more breathing room. Although, I think work for both Clint and me kicked up a notch this week and we're already looking forward to the weekend. We'll be racing in the Longview half marathon (Clint) and 5k (me). I dropped down to the 5k since I just haven't had the time to get the mileage in that I should to run the half, so that means a short and painful 5k! I'll also be getting my hair chopped short this weekend. I was doing good about growing it out long, but I feel like I'm carrying around an extra 50 lbs when working out so it's time to say goodbye for spring and summer. I hope to get started on the nursery this weekend as well! At least get the furniture out and perhaps get the walls taped and prepped for priming. So, all of this to say, it's going to be another packed rest for the weary!

Friday, March 11, 2011


WE'RE DEBT FREE!!!!!!!!!

Today is the day! The last payment of Clint's student loan! Oh, what a feeling! You really do feel free. Yet, at the same time, it almost doesn't seem real. Can we really remove that line item from our budget?? We finally get to start looking forward rather than looking back. And I know for Clint, this day is extra special to him because he carried so much guilt knowing that he came to the marriage with probably 98% of the debt. But I married ALL of him and I'm thrilled that we tackled this goal together! I love the peace of mind that we have going in to start a family without that burden.

Speaking of family, we're still rolling along. We received our TB tests on Friday (ick, needle!) and I managed to sift through our black box and put together ALL of our documents. Even our residency list. Fortunately, Clint used to work for a company that required a security clearance and had to list all of his places of residency so we were all set. I had forgotten what all was in the black box...I had middle school report cards in there! I'm sure those are really important, ha ha. I also had tax returns from 1998 and 1999. Wow! McDonald's birthday party days. I'm certainly not missing those days and I think it's okay to get rid of returns from over 10 years ago!

We turned in all of our paperwork last night when we went to Buckner for the psychotropic medication training. I'll be honest, Clint and I don't feel like it was all that helpful. I mean, she rattled off a list of medications and their side effects and risks of overdose. That's great, but I am not going to remember which drug you aren't supposed to take with grapefruit juice, yada yada. And I would hope that all of this information would be covered thoroughly by a doctor when/if the time comes that one of our children needs these medications. I'm glad that she mentioned that these drugs are the backup option not THE option. I'm extremely hesitant to run to chemicals to 'correct' my child.

Tomorrow we take our restraint class...again, hope to never have to use the skills we learn in it. Then, just waiting for our home study process to begin. Well, not exactly sitting around. We've got a nursery to put together! We need to rearrange furniture in the house and I want to paint the room to a much more appropriate color. I have a vision of what I want the room to look like, now to bring it to life. It's so exciting. Even if we go through a long period of taking care of children that won't be ours forever, I want them treated as if they were and they deserve a pretty room! :) On a budget of course though, we haven't forgotten Dave Ramsey's principles yet!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

PRIDE Part Three

Well, we had our third and final PRIDE class this past weekend. We covered discipline. Clint and I felt kind of 'meh' after this one, much like the first class. We get that you can't spank (nor do I want to do that), yada yada, but perhaps there could have been more talk on things that DO work. Of course, I know that for the most part, the punishment will depend on the child. What works for one won't necessarily work for the other. This was evident growing up! If I got in trouble and was told to go to my room, it was pure torture! Hated it! I wanted to be outside and with my friends. Now my sister, if you told her to go to her room, she was just fine with that. She was the creative thinker and could entertain herself for hours. Ahhh, the joys of parenting, lol.

The good part of the class was once again getting to hear from people who are in it. And these stories were much more positive than last week's, which was encouraging. Clint and I have also decided that we are open to fostering along our way to foster to adopt. The need is just too great to ignore. And the only reason we (well, really Clint) was against it before was because of the whole, 'give them back'. And I agree, that is NOT going to be easy and it's hard to go into something where you KNOW you are going to get hurt. Who wants to knowingly get hurt, especially when there is another road where there is no forseen pain? The need is greater than our pain and we will hopefully be able to give a child(ren) a loving, safe home.

After the class, we had to sign our lives away :) It was almost like closing on a house with all of the papers we had to sign. We also have MORE paper work to fill out. We need to have our places of residence for the past 10 years. Oof! That one gets hard for me even. I've only lived in 4 places in that amount of time, but I was in the same two for the past 8 of those years. And poor Clint! He lived the life of a nomad so he's definitely got his work cut out for him! We also have to put together a list of family rules. Ummm, don't pull the dogs' tails? Ha ha. Okay, so, we've got some thinking to do on that one as well. However, in my blog entry a couple of posts back when I discussed what all we needed before our home study, I accidentally got ahead of myself. Everything after the TB test (proofs of health and life insurance, will, physician's report) are NOT needed, at least not until we move from fostering to the adoption phase. So that helps. Now, I really just need to schedule us for the TB tests and then we should have all of our documents.

Up next, we have psychotropic medication training and restraint training (both towards the end of next week). But for this weekend, I am excited to have a weekend free from training and other commitments so that I can see my mom, sister, and niece. My mom just celebrated her 50th birthday and so they are all coming to East Texas to celebrate. And by celebrate, I mean shopping at Canton Trade Days! I'm excited! I've only been once and it was with Clint who, well, doesn't shop, especially in a place like that. I'm looking forward to spending time with my family. I don't get to see them near enough!