Friday, December 28, 2007

Our Christmas Celebration

Well the pictures were a little out of order on the last post, the first picture should have been the potato candy (the last picture). My Great-Great Grandma use to make it every year and it's been a family tradition. Well this is the first year that my Mom was like, "hey lets make potato candy". Well she doesn't have a recipe or anything just this is the ingredients. So I skin a whole bunch of baking potatoes, coo k them, mash them, and so on. Then we realize that we really only should have used about 4 potatoes and that would have been enough to make candy for everyone, family, neighbors, friends, etc and also some to send to friends far away. So now we have enough potato candy to feed everyone in the world. And I gotta say it's so freakin good.
The next picture is of K and her kitchen that Santa brought but the point of the pictures is her "Meow Ho Ho Ho" Hat that she has on. While trying to start and finish our Christmas shopping on the 22nd of December. We were walking down the aisle and she started point and saying "that cat" and then meowing. Well we were next to the pet stockings so I really thought she wanted to see one of them. So I started to hand her one and she shook her head "no". And so she continued her "that cat meow". So finally I really look at what she is looking at and thrown at the bottom under a billion other hats is a leopard looking ball, so I pull it out and she excitedly put it on her head and exclaims "Meow Ho Ho Ho". So of course I had to buy it and I was excited when it was only $1.74. So K got her "Meow Ho Ho Ho" hat that she wore all the way home, all day on Christmas and every day since then. I guess she's not going to let me pack it away with the other Christmas decorations.
Then there is our stove, which did catch on fire, if you blow up the picture you can see the salt we through on it and also how it's still burning at that point. I was trying to cook potato casserole when this happened. We are still not sure what caused it because nothing ran over. So it's a mystery. But we then used the picture of the bucket of water to clean up the whole stove and the insides of the stove. And the very last picture is not of the smoke alarms which failed to go off (yes I am going to buy new smoke detectors) it was of the burglar alarm that went off instead and the panel wouldn't reset it, so I had to climb up there and unhook the wires to make it stop.

So that was our Christmas in a nutshell. There were a few other things like it was only suppose to be the 4 of us and my Grandparents ended up staying with us because my Grandma was sick instead of heading to Tennessee like planned. My Grandpa complained about everything we fixed for dinner and how it didn't get enough to eat. Which just ticked me off for the fact that my Mom and I didn't eat certain stuff so he could have more which it certainly did take seconds and thirds.

Otherwise my Mom did escape the layoffs, so at least we have one income, but they cut her hours back, so not as much money coming in. We are still trying to get the social worker to come out for our last home visit. She is never around when I call and I"m just getting frustrated I'm trying to find out if I could change agencies but that would mean starting all over with home visits and paperwork and we have already put in so much time to get to this point. So I'm just not sure what to do. I have my license in hand and hanging up in my kitchen cabinet and I carry my state issued foster parent license (looks like a driver's license) in my wallet too.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Wow...unexpected free time

Well I really had thought I would make it through the layoffs at work but it just wasn't meant to be. So at 930pm last night I am officially without a job. To say I'm pissed off about this is an understatement. I guess this week and next I'll be looking for a new job, we can't live off unemployment, it will help for a little while but it won't even come close to paying the bills.

So today being my first free day in over 2 months I baked Christmas cookies with K. We had so much fun together and I realized that I have missed so much working the hours I was working. After Grandma got home, we went out and started and almost finished our Christmas shopping. We then headed to Sam's club and bought Christmas eve and Christmas dinner. Otherwise last night I had the strangest dream, that on Christmas we got a call about a Foster to Adopt placement and it was for newborn twins, a girl and boy and both were of Chinese heritage. I was just blown away and woke up this morning with such a strange feeling, like the dream was of a forshadow of the future.

Otherwise onto some pictures taken over the last month of K

This was at the MOMs Club Christmas Party, the had 2 Giant inflatable bounce houses

This was at the beginning of our 1st snow storm, we eventually got 9 inches of snow and 2 inches of ice

K loves to wear Santa hats, she walks around the house and goes "ho ho ho"

watching our Christmas cookies bake

Monday, December 10, 2007

Back from Blogcation

After everything that happened at the last tests for K, I had to take a Blogcation. First off I'm happy to report that we got our Foster Parent License 2 days before Thanksgiving. The downside is the Placement worker is dragging her feet because we have to have one last home visit before we can take in Children. She has had between now and when we finished classes to get it done and so far nothing. I guess because we had such a good experience with K's Social Worker and being that this women works in the same office I thought she would be just as good.

Otherwise in our lives, we are trying to get ready for Christmas, today I dragged the tree down from storage, it's been hard getting things done because right now I'm working 12 hour days and 7 days a week at least through the 22nd. I'm getting about 2 1/2 hours a sleep a day since by the time I get home, it's time to turn around and take my Mom to work and then after that K is wide awake for the start of the day. After all this I'm still not sure I'll have a job or be layed off after the 22nd. It's so frustrating, I work my butt off for the last 3 1/2 months and how do they repay me. So I'm trying to look for a new job just in case but it's really hard to find work right now during the Holiday season that's just not temporary work. I'm sorry to my family and friends who have emailed me and haven't heard anything, I'm really trying to get caught up on stuff but it's just not happening.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In Just One Moment......

every question you had becomes clear. In that same Moment, suddenly you have a 1000 more questions that are unanswered.
Over the last year of K's life we have strived to find the answer of what is causing her paralysis. Yesterday in just one single, life defining moment, we had our answer. It is not what we wanted to hear, it's nothing that we thought we would hear. To say we are shocked and upset, is an understatement. Right now we are working through everything we heard yesterday and I'm just not ready to post the answer we got. To say I'm devastated is an understatement, because when you think it is one thing for so long and it turns out it's not, well you just feel crushed once again. I'm glad K is too young to understand this, to understand the emotions I am going through, that our family is going through. I'm glad she doesn't understand the sadness in my eyes when I look at her. Instead she oblivious and super excited about going Trick-or-Treating tonight, which is the way it should be.
I can tell you that the test she went through was traumatic because she had to be awake for it so they could see her reactions, she has more needle pricks than I could ever imagine on her little legs.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Carving Pumpkins

Yucky Powder

Ok, so not the greatest title but I just looked down at my hands and I've got caked on powder all over them from the gloves I have to wear at work. The sad thing, I even washed my hands before leaving, so not sure why it's still there.

Otherwise it's been a crazy last week. K had her MRI at Children's last Thursday. Amazingly it went really well so no one has to fly up here and help me set them straight. We have her EMG tomorrow and I am really hoping it goes just as well!!

Over the weekend we were super busy. On Saturday, we went to Trick or Treat at the Zoo and on Main Street in our town and then we headed to our friend, S's birthday party. We had such a blast. K loved getting to see all the Big Cats, I really think that was the highlight of the whole day.

Also on Friday night, our 2nd car broke down and we had a choice either get it fixed or get a new car. Hmm, of course getting the car fixed was the cheaper option even though it was a $2500.00 option. So luckily they let us pay some now, and then some later, so the car is fixed and I no longer have to be taxi girl in the morning running my Mom and N to work.

Well I need to head to bed, we have to be up and at the hospital at 6am.

Monday, October 22, 2007

1st Afternoon Shift & Other Ramblings

Tonight was my first afternoon shift. It was great! But what's not to love, there's hardly no one there, no boss and there's actually work to do opposed to the day time. It is a little crazy because we got about 300 orders at 945p and we get off at 11p. We got all except about 50 done.

Otherwise I was so excited when I got the mail today because inside was my Dining Deals gift certificate. Our local TV station has a special show that covers all the happening of the area and new food places. Well every Thursday they offer a Dining deal, you spend $25 and get a $50 gift certificate for whatever place they are showcasing. I have been trying for 3 1/2 years trying to get one because they limit it to 100 people and you have to log in right at 315pm. Needless to say if it's 316pm, your out of luck. So to my amazement I got one of the gift certificates, finally after all these years of trying. Which I'm even more excited because it's for America's Incredible Pizza Company which just opened up and I've been dying to go there. They have an all you can eat pizza, pasta, potato, salad and dessert bar. Along with games, mini-golf, go karts, bowling and all kinds of other stuff. So this is my Christmas present to myself and my little splurge because I wouldn't have been able to afford to go and take all 5 of us and now I can.

And a few weeks back, (Oct 12) I took K to my work for my Boss, M's Birthday. She has been giving me a hard time about taking off to tend to K. So I thought maybe if she met K that it sort of soften her heart about the situation. Plus I thought showing up on my day off, bringing my delicious homemade meatballs and a cute kid, would win me some brown nosing points. Of course since my Mom works there, she also had to bring something. So she was also trying to get some brown nosing points and made one of her hand-carved watermelons, she did such a great job on it. Well everyone else oohh'd and ahh'd over my Mom's watermelon but the Boss was sort of forlone about it once she found out who carved it. Yep, the Boss hates my Mom and of course my Brown nosing didn't pay off either. It did pay off somewhat because the General Manager and the Asst. GM totally fell in love with K and they have been nothing but nice and have bent over backwards to help us. That's why I finally got my afternoon shift, the GM made her give it to me. So I guess it wasn't a total loss!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

We had such a great time at the Pumpkin Patch this evening. There was basically no one there so we had the place all to ourselves. K had a blast walking around looking at the Pumpkins and she also had a blast going throught the corn maze.

K's New Improved Brace

On Thursday, Oct 11, we headed over to Shriner's to pick up K's new brace. Shriner's said this is the first time in almost 20 years that they made a brace like this. They said most Doctor's don't like using metal anymore but because K's condition is a little different then most (when we saw the neurologist she says only about 100 people in the USA have it) that sometimes it calls for a little creativity. This brace buckles twice, ties and velcro, it's difficult to put on and nothing like her plastic brace she had before. Of course the minute we walked into the fitting room, K started crying. We got her shoes off and they put her new brace on her. I really wanted to see how K would walk in it but instead when I put her on the floor she crumpled into a sobbing mess. I tried everything to get her to walk, I carried her to the cafeteria so I could buy her ice cream, no go. I took her down the hall to see the dog but she could have cared less. I even took her to the 2nd floor to see if the change of scenery would help but there was no way, no how she was going to walk. Thank goodness they weren't going to make us stay until she would walk in it. They took it off and checked for hot spots and then they let me put it back on. Of course K was fussing so the Shop Guy started showing her pictures of his kids, she sat there with great interest and he got a real kick out of that. We were over an hour late picking Grandma up from work but there was nothing I could do about it. We got stuck in rush hour traffic and then construction traffic so it took us forever to get home.

The CRAZY Weather

Well I wouldn't normal just post about the weather but I took some really cool pictures last night I wanted to show off of the storm front moving in behind my house. Yesterday it was 85, sunny and just plain ole' hot. Today it's windy, super cold and barely in the 50's. I'm sorry but if you don't believe in Global warming, then you better see a doctor because your crazy. There is something certainly amiss.

So here are my pictures of the thunderstorm moving in last night, today we've had the torando siren's go off twice already.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Horriable, Worst and Better

I want to Thank everyone for the sweet comments. I was still pissed off when I went to work on Monday. But after being around my co-workers for awhile I was feeling better, I really truly believe that being around chocolate makes you crazy, I mean think about it, I breathe chocolate all day long, so it's gotta do something to ya. But my day just had to be ruined when my boss put me in charge of melting the chocolate. Ok, this isn't a big deal but they don't do it right. Anyone who has worked with Wilton wafers for years (which I have) or even someone that has a half a brain knows that you are suppose to melt them by defrosting them, that way they don't burn. Well not at my work, they cook them. I brought this up once to the boss and she went ballistic, total b*tch. So of course I had to follow their directions. Well of course what happens, I burn the chocolate, not once, not twice but three times. And I get this freakin' lecture from the boss. It's not my fault because I was following your directions and did it exactly as M & D told me to do it. So I came home in a grumble mood. I tried K's Halloween costume on her again and she tolerated it a little longer than last time, so that was good.

So on Tuesday, my boss pulls me outside, which in most cases isn't a good thing but actually it was good. She is finally allowing me to move to the afternoon shift which is what I asked for when I was being interviewed for the position. I'm super excited, I'll still get to spend my days with K and then take her to work with me, where then Grandma will get off work and then take her home to watch her in the evenings. Still wish I could get that midnight shift but this is at least better. I'll only be missing about 5 hours with her before heading to bed, opposed to 9 1/2 hours that she is up during the day (minus her nap).

Then there was yesterday, well that morning my boss decided to make a huge announcement that today was my last morning that affective next week that I'm on afternoons. Well needless to say my co-workers, who I'm really close to were all upset. They each hugged me and just kept telling me how much they will miss me. It tore me apart but they understood that I needed to work everyday opposed to the 3 days I was getting. Then that afternoon, one of the girls, L was complaining to the boss because people aren't cleaning the equipment properly. I just happened to be standing there when the boss looks at me and goes, guess what H, you get to give a cleaning seminar this afternoon. You should have seen the look of panic and anger on my face. Finally it was time to give my speech, which I again didn't want to give. I thought I was only giving it to the new people, instead she made me address the whole room, including the senior people. I felt like a total idiot and of course all the senior people were pissed at me. I told them all that this wasn't my idea and I was volunteered to do it. What sucks is that the Boss hates my Mom and so she takes it out on me. Our boss has never managed people ever, she was a clerk at her previous job and her lack of experience really shows, she lets so much crap going on that should go on.

So that brings us to today, things are much better...could it be that I'm away from work? I'm trying to do some major house cleaning but have no motivation at all. Did get some laundry done and some winter clothes dug out and hung up. I have almost found my bed which has been covered in miscellaneous crap for at least the last three months. I also found my box of Christmas presents for this year, I buy stuff when I find it on sale or clearance and then try and keep it all together so that way it isn't a great big hit to the budget come Christmas because of course my family is huge and of course they all expect a present even if it is something small. Well we are planning on going to the pumpkin patch tomorrow as long as the weather stays good, so we are excited about that. I'm trying to catch up on my posts because I still have to talk about my last Foster Class, my Bosses birthday party and K's new brace.

Here is K in her Halloween Costume, she is going to be a Circus Lion, I already have taught her how to jump through a hoop. Too bad I'll have to work on Halloween so Grandma & Uncle N are taking her Trick or Treating. At least I'll be able to take her to Boo at the Zoo.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Why is it....

that some people think they just know better? That they think that there way is the only right way. That is what happened tonight. I innocently called my Aunt earlier in the evening to find out if she was going to be at work this week so I could send her Grandson a package (this is the same kid who is just a big bully to K). My Aunt, who is also my Godmother and until the last few years someone who I was really close to, called me back around 10pm tonight. Our casual conversation turned UGLY when I couldn't make it to Fort Massac this weekend. I then turned into the evil person who wouldn't bring K down to play with her Grandson, J. Well, I have other plans and honestly I would only go down there if my Uncle was going to be there and at this time he isn't going to be. I told my Aunt that I had to work, which could be the truth since it seems like I may get an afternoon shift plus I had already committed myself to a church function. Well, then she points out "my Daughter, M is coming down after she gets done working" Ok, well let me point out something, M doesn't work a normal job. She occasionally makes bridal bouquets and that is what she is doing that weekend, well actually she just has to drop them off to the brides. So how does this compare to my situation....I have no idea, If I work I have to put in a full 8 hour + day on my feet. She then asked me if I would ask off and I said innocently that no I can't ask off because I have taken off to many days already this month with K's appointments and have to take off the 25th & 30th too. Then this is when I am told by my wonderful Aunt that there is nothing wrong with K, that I'm the stupid one that has been taking her to greedy, money hungry doctors and all K every really needed was a good chiropractor. Um, excuse me, she has no feeling in her foot. She then goes on to say, I'm just doing a bad job parenting her and not stimulating her enough. She told me that I could easily give her a back adjustment by hanging her upside down by her feet and then she would be cured. WHAT THE HELL!!! Needless to say the conversation went even further down hill from there, that basically I'm a bad parent for putting her through these tests and if it was her kid she wouldn't let them touch her. I tried to justify myself, which I don't even know why I tried because she didn't care because her way is the only right way. I got off the phone so angry and so upset. Heck I'm sitting her crying writing this. I mean who gives her the right to question my parenting skills? Who gives her the right to diagnose my daughter, I mean it's not like she is some MD or something, all she is someone who believes that a chiropractor can fix everything, from sinus infections to cancer. What frustrates me the most is she acts like I'm making all this up and that I'm putting my daughter through hell just to get attention. If I really wanted to get attention, then I would call her up and actually tell her about these tests, or her new brace or even when she gets a cold. My Cousin, M (her daughter) does that all the time, "Oh poor J has a cold/cough/etc". Instead I don't tell them because it leads to conversations like this one, where I get off the phone feeling like a failure and will spend the rest of the night and tomorrow beating myself up over all this, because someone who I dearly loved all my life and thought I truly understood them, treats me like shit.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

K's Tests are Scheduled!!

After 6+ weeks of arguing between me, Shriner's & Children's Hospital, K's tests are finally scheduled. She will have her Spinal MRI on October 25th and her Nerve Conduction Study on October 30th. I still have no idea what time they are scheduled for but at least we have dates! I would assume they are early in the morning since she has to be sedated for them. I'm just so relieved after all the stress I have been through the last few weeks with them and their incompetence. I just hope we are treated more like people than we were last time. I hate to see my daughter suffer and as many of you know, they acted like incompetent fools with her. I'm just so happy tomorrow is my last work day, not that I'm looking forward to Thursday since I've got a doctor's appt and K has an appt with the Shop in Shriner's for her new and hopefully improved brace. Then Friday, I got permission to take K to my work because we are celebrating my bosses birthday with a luncheon. Our plans for Saturday is to go to a super huge baby yard sale, where over 200 families set up and sale there stuff. It's a great place to find stuff that is still brand new and never used and cheap. I wanted to share these pictures with you, the sky was just so gorgeous the other day that I really wanted to try and catch it's beauty on film.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Pity Post - Blood Test for K are Back

I tried to think of a good title for this post but there just wasn't any. I got a call from K's doctor today and her blood tests are already back. And needless to say they aren't good, I mean it's not something horrific but still not news I wanted to hear. And then on the same side I think the doctor has been a total pain in the a$$ since K's 1 year check up and maybe she is blowing everything out of proportion. What I do know is we have to see a Specialist and I'm pretty excited because we don't have to go to Children's Hosp. We actually get to go to the other Children's Hosp in town which is CG. I have heard alot better things about the treatment at CG, so that puts my mind at ease.

So here is where the pity comes in, which I have to say I even hesitate to post this but I need to vent and work out my feelings because otherwise I'm just being ate up inside and I'm in an awful mood....Why do I feel like I'm losing every ounce of control on my life? Why doesn't it seem like we can every catch a break? I guess there are so many questions right now that I want answers too, I feel betrayed by the 2 Evil Adoption Agencies that gave me K's referral. I know that she is perfect for our family and she is my daughter and I wouldn't want to change that one bit. But why did she have to come home with so many medical problems? I mean most families that have adopted from VN come home with these healthy, happy children and never have problems. But every time we turn around it seems like it is something new. Why did the Universe think I as a single Mom could handle this? Because right now I can't. K's medical bills just keep mounting, right now I've got close to $112,000.00 worth of medical bills? Why? Because K's condition they considered pre-existing so they denied every medical treatment, visit or prescription she has ever gotten and it has fallen on me to pay these bills. On top of it the insurance I had dropped coverage for K and I. I'm lucky I could finally get her covered by the State's All Kids program but still, they don't cover even half the stuff she needs. Her allergy medicine alone costs me $389.00 a month. And I still have a huge copay on every medical appointment she has. Would you like to know how much it cost me yesterday to get K's blood tests done? $540.00 out of pocket. I don't have that kind of money anymore in savings, heck I don't have the same job I had when I started my adoption....they closed down my freakin office, so I'm not making $60,000+ a year. It took me forever to find this job where I make decent money to at least pay the mortgage payment and keep food on the table. I'm lucky that my Mom pays cable/phone/internet and sometimes power. I know why the Universe gave K to me, we were suppose to be a family and I guess, well they knew I was strong enough that I could handle this because I know most parents couldn't have. And like I always say we will survive this. Somehow we always get by no matter how hard it gets. Well this is good I feel better now. Just had to write out my frustrations. Oh wait one more Vent. After weeks and weeks of going around and around with Shriner's and Children's, they called me today and leave a message they scheduled her procedure on a freakin' Tuesday and not until the end of October!! I specifically told them that it needed to be either Thursday or Friday and by mid-October because otherwise we are in our busy season and I may no longer get Thurs & Fri. I called them back and left a very detailed upset message because # 1 which procedure is this for? she has 2 tests she needs to be done # 2 what happened to the whole Thurs or Fri or mid-October, it's not my fault you guys suck and dicked around for over 6 weeks for the one test and 3 weeks to get the other tests scheduled. Needless to say they never did call me back, I know it's because they didn't want to talk to me, the hysterical Mom but I can't be Sorry I'm upset, they have added so much un-needed stress into my life by pulling the crap they did scheduling the tests. I have made myself so physically ill over this, that after I left the message I spent a good hour getting sick. I hope all of you had better days than me!

To my friend C, in NH a very Happy Birthday wish! We thought about you and sorry your present is going to be a little late.
A in MI if your reading this my email's keep bouncing back, so please call me sometime, I'm pretty much always home, all day on Thurs & Fri. Would love to hear the updates of the paperchase for # 2 and updates on S.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Blood Tests and the 8th Training Class

Well this morning, K and I took Grandma to work so that way we could have the car and finally go and get the blood tests done we need to get done. We arrived shortly after 645am, the lab use to open at 6am but changed there hours. Well needless to say they didn't open at the time the door said either which was 7am. They did finally show up at 730am, we were one of the first people in but we didn't have an appointment so we got pushed to the bottom of the list, we waited almost an hour before we got called back. They did my blood draw first and we had no problems. Then came K's. Well of course I have said how my daughter has super human strength for being such a little bit of nothing but the lady taken the blood had to call the other women in. So I'm holding K still while they just hold her arm. Needless to say, we walked out of there at 1230pm, with 6 needles sticks, bruises on her arms that look like fingers because they were holding her arm so tight and no blood drawn, they told us to come back in the afternoon after she ate and drank. So I took K home and feed her lots of food and had her drink a ton. We then went and picked up Grandma from work and headed to the lab. Of course we had to wait another 45 minutes before they called us back but after 2 failed sticks, they called the head honcho in the processing lab and he said that they could do a finger stick but had to fill 10 mini-viles worth of blood. Needless to say at least that worked and after 38 minutes and 2 finger sticks, we were finally headed home. K was so pitiful with her finger and arm wrapped up and all the bruises.

Then tonight was our 2nd to last Training class, I have to say I'm pretty excited next week is our final one. Because then I won't have to listen to the snickering, whispers, racists comments and all those other fun things my class does. Today when we got there, I will call this girl the "ring leader" was sitting in our seats. It's not that we have assigned seats but everyone has been sitting in the same seats for the last 7 weeks. Well basically the whole table was full except for the end which my Mom wouldn't be able to twist around to see the trainers. So yes, we did the unthinkable and took the married couples seats across the room (GASP!). So they came in and was giving us nasty looks and stuff. Well luckily the Trainers brought up the fact to them, that someone took our seats, so we had to change what we were comfortable with. Which lead into what the topic was tonight "CHANGE". Of course that tabled acted like fools because the married couple sat with them and unfortunately, these people are probably good people but they come off as rich snobs who think they are above all of us in class. So of course the "ring leader" was saying one mean comment after another and it continued the whole night, along with her usual interruptions of the Trainers too. The looks the Wife made were unbelievable, at times I couldn't help but chuckle because now they know what we have been going through for the last 7 weeks with the Table and the "Ring Leader".
The topic tonight of change was interesting because it was more on bringing the foster child into your home and them leaving the home. Which we have always talked about how that will be the hardest part is them leaving. I have to say the covered children imagining things, a imaginary friend, or that my Millionaire Daddy is coming to get me tomorrow, we always had plenty of food to eat, etc. I guess I had thought about it but never really deeply thought about them having imaginations like that. They also talked about allegations against Foster Parents and how the investigation is accomplished. That actually scared alot of people in our class and alot of them stood there talking about maybe Foster Parenting isn't right for them because of the possible investigation. Which makes you wonder is a just a nerve thing or are they scared they could loose control someday and hit the child or worse? They also talked about changing our daily lives to accommodate another child, with me already having K, not that much would change except maybe getting up earlier or stay up later to get the things done I need to get done. Which is the exact same thing I do now.

Interesting Article

This is a intersting article that came out on October 3rd about the board payments Foster Parents receive for caring for a child. Basically I will tell you that my state is in the 76%-100% catergory. I can tell you for a a child age 2yrs old in our state only receives a board allowence of $320 a month and a Teenager only receives $440. Of that money the 2 yr old receives $20 of it is for clothes and $11 is for toys. For the Teenager it is $25 for clothes and $40 for misc. I do believe that there should be an increase in the money that is given to care for the children (and not because I'm some money hungry person) but it would help not using my personal money so that could be saved for family vacations for everyone including the foster child or something special like a new swing set or anything else that would be considered a treat.

October 3, 2007, the Children’s Rights Organization, the National Foster Parent Association and the University of Maryland School of Social Work released a historic, first-ever nationwide, state-by-state calculation of the real cost of supporting children in foster care. The report reveals widespread deficiencies in reimbursement rates across the nation—and major disparities among the states—and proposes a new standard rate for each state to use in fulfilling the federal requirement to provide foster parents with payments to cover the basic needs of children in foster care, including food, shelter, clothing and school supplies.
One of the requirements foster parents must meet prior to being licensed is that they have income necessary to meet their financial obligations without any reimbursement from doing foster care. Reimbursement from foster care is meant to cover only additional financial outlay due to caring for a child; the states are not meeting these costs today.
Providing foster care for a child is not meant as a way for foster parents to become rich nor should it cause financial difficulties due to low reimbursement. There is a minority of foster parents that do attempt to provide care for the money but they usually do not last long as foster parents. The majority of foster parents are meeting the needs of children in their care out of their own pockets due to the low reimbursements made by the states. Most states reimburse foster parents significantly less than the actual cost of raising a foster child, complicating the task of finding good homes for children who need them, according to this first-of-its-kind survey.
The survey analyzed regional living expenses and calculated on a state-by-state basis the minimum cost of adequately raising a foster child. Only Arizona and the District of Columbia pay foster parents more than this minimum amount, according the survey.
To adequately cover the cost of rearing a foster child, base payments would need to be increased as follows:
10 states would need to be raised at least 25%:
Alaska, Nevada, Wyoming, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Connecticut and Maryland
10 states would need to be raised from 26-50%:
Montana, New Mexico, Minnesota, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine, Georgia, New Jersey and Hawaii
15 states would need to be raised from 51-75%:
California, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Iowa, Michigan, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama, Vermont, Delaware and Massachusetts
9 states would need to be raised from 76-100%:
Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Rhode Island and New Hampshire
5 states would need to more than double their current base rates: Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin
Of the more than 513,000 U.S. children in foster care at any given time, about 75 percent live with foster parents, while most of the others are placed in group homes and institutions.
The report expressed concern that inadequate reimbursement rates would worsen a shortfall of foster parents, “potentially increasing the likelihood that children will be placed in institutions or shuttled from one foster placement to another.”
“The bottom line is that when these rates don’t reflect the real expenses that foster parents face, it’s the children who suffer,” said Karen Jorgenson, executive director of the Foster Parent Association.
Although child welfare agencies are required by federal law to reimburse foster parents for the cost of raising foster children, there is no national minimum, leaving states and localities free to set their own rates. The result is a huge disparity. The base rates paid for raising a 2-year-old foster child range from $236 a month in Nebraska to $869 in the District of Columbia.
The “minimum adequate rates” in the report represented the cost of providing basic needs — housing, food, clothing, and school supplies — as well as a child’s participation in normal after-school sports and activities.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ottertober Fest at the Zoo

We had such a great time at the Zoo. We got there early enough to get into the children's zoo for free. We weren't going to go because K wasn't feeling well but I needed to get out of the house. This was K's first time at the zoo and I'm so glad we did end up going because we had lots of fun.

K's New Trike

On Saturday we hit a few larger yard sales (most were playgroups that were hosting them), we weren't looking for anything specific, just thought it would be fun to be out and about. I have been looking for over a month now trying to find a trike that

1. That will fit K, most trikes are way too big

2. Don't cost so freakin' much

3. Has a parent handle so we can push.

The reason I have been looking so hard for one is because they said it will really help strengthen her hip muscles, along with her other leg muscles from peddling. I was amazed to find at the last yard sale one of the Top 2 Choices that I had made in my Trike research (which neither one in my top 2, I would pay full price for because they are super expensive).

Before I got way to excited I really wanted to check it over and make sure nothing was broken on it. It looks brand new, no chips, scratches, I really don't think the child played on it at all. The second was to look at the price, this trike is an import from Europe, it's super expensive (over $150 with the parent handle). I was shocked when it was priced under $10. Now the third test was to see if K would actually get on it, keep her feet on the peddles and ride it. The minute she got on it, it was like she had waited her whole life to ride a tricycle. All she does when she rides the trike is smile from ear to ear.

Friday & Saturday

I have to say I'm really enjoying my new work schedule. Getting to be home with K on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are awesome. On Friday we just hung around the house, I put on a pair of the smallest pair of squeeky shoes I bought and she just squeeked all over the house. It was a blast to watch. On Saturday we spoke at an Adoption Conference at our homestudy agency. This is the 2nd time for me to do this and my Social Worker makes a point to tell me in advance because she likes my insight into not only into adoption by advocating for your childs special needs. The downside to this was we only could stay for a 1/2 hour because we had a Cousin's baby shower to go to but instead we ended up staying almost a good 45 minutes longer than we wanted too. We only arrived a 1/2 hr late to Cousin S baby shower. I really didn't want to go but my Mom basically forced me to. I'm 31 years old and my Mom still makes me do stuff I don't want to do. This branch of the family tree has basically snubbed us for as long as I can remember. I'm close to one Cousin D and his Partner S and that's because they moved far away from them and we stay close. Cousin S is Cousin D's baby sister. So I finally said fine I'll only go because it's Cousin D's little sister and this way I can send him some pictures. It went ok and luckily, two of my Great-Aunts where there and 1 Cousin who I get along with. So it wasn't bad after all. Plus we totally cleaned up on the baby shower games and we came home with almost all the prizes!!

Training Session - September 27, 2007

Well tonight was our training session. This week's session was on Adopting from Foster Care, Also how to deal with a child being returned to their biological parents and also How to support the Biological Parents. Of course my class had to act up like fools. We had a women there that had to make up a class and they were giving her dirty looks and everything. I really felt bad for the women. And then there comments and laughing got so out of hand that the Women Trainer actually stopped class and goes "is there a problem" Of course they all shut-up for about 5 minutes and then started again. I really didn't listen as well to this class because I already know all about adoption and it wasn't anything new that I didn't already know. Know I did listen to the part about supporting the Biological Parents because they were even suggesting that even if the child is returned, that if they didn't have a place to live, you could help them get an apartment or provide them with money to do so. Ummm, No I don't think so, my money is already tight that I'm sure enough not going to give the Biological Parents money especially when there are state aid programs out there like Sect. 8 and Food Stamps. Sorry its just I work very hard for my money and wish for it to go to my family (which includes future foster children). So I've got a ton of homework because since there's always the possibilty that I would adopt a foster child, I have to fill out 4 more sheets than if I was just going to be a foster parent, making it a total of 9 sheets of homework.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Last Home Game of the Season

Today we were lucky enough that J, J, & S had some extra tickets to our beloved MLB team. They were meant for another couple but they couldn't come, so we were lucky enough that we were free and could go. K & S had a great time playing together in the kids play area. I think K crawled through the baseball hat at least a 100 times. It's pretty cool that K & S recognize each other and like to play with each other. K even protected S when a bigger kid (she was probably about 2) started to hit S. And you have to think that my K is a little bit of nothing (not even 16 pounds yet). That 2 year old stayed far away from K & S the rest of the time. My K didn't hit the little girl at all, all she did was grab her arm when she when she was about to hit S. We didn't stay for the whole game because K was having some really wicked leg pains and was miserable. Uncle N was a little bummed out that we couldn't stay but he knew we were better off leaving when we did. K is in pink in the pictures and S has red socks on.


We had a good Saturday, we had leftovers from Lotawatta Creek....MMMMM!! This place is amazing and if you are ever in my neck of the woods, make sure to visit this place. I decided to try something new on their menu "Rajun Cajun Catfish" It was amazing, blackend catfish with a creamy cheese and bell pepper sauce on top. It's not an expensive place to eat either and you get a ton of food that ends up lasting you for a couple of meals. We also got there stuffed mushrooms. Now these aren't any little stuffed mushrooms, these things are huge and so delicious, you get 10 of them in a order and they are all super big. Basically we get so much food we were able to eat Friday Supper, Saturday Lunch, Saturday Dinner and Sunday Lunch off of our meals. I got K a Chicken strip dinner with Green Beans. She wasn't too excited about the chicken strips but loved the Green Beans. I wish I knew what made their Green Beans so good because I don't like Green Beans otherwise but I love theirs.
This is a picture of one of the stuffed mushrooms with a normal size Hershey Kiss. They're Big Mushrooms aren't they!
Otherwise we spent this afternoon coloring, K is getting pretty good at staying within the lines. We also have been working on letter recognition and today 90% of the time she got the letter "R" correct when pointing it out in a book, paper, etc. If she got it wrong it was because she would pick out the letter "S" instead. Not sure why because they don't even look the same. I'm still worrying that she doesn't pronounce the words as plainly as I would like, I guess when we have to have another ISP evaluation (should be coming up soon) that I'm going to ask them again to look at her speech progress. I know she's on target but I guess I'm expecting more since she's so bright and tests at a 30+ month level in everything else.

6th Training Session - August 20, 2007

You would have never believe how well today's session went. There was no outburts, no comparing each other lives, and no stupid drawn out questions. I was in shock! And to top it all off, we finished class 10 minutes early. Tonight class was on discipline and the States policy on no corpal punishment. I already knew that because of K's adoption because I had to sign a paper for my homestudy. Plus I never saw spanking as an effect punishment tool anyway. I still have my homework to do, 4 pages of questions on how were you punished as a child and how do you punish your own children.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

One More Thing

Remember how I spent last weekend dragging out all our Fall/Winter Clothes because it was chilly.....we have been in the 90's all week. Just hope it lasts till this weekend so we can go swimming.

A Rough Day

I first off want to Thank Spirit for her sweet comment. I really hope that I do a good job as a foster parent and if I don't....I hope you all will tell me if I do screw up! I had a few friends in high school that were foster children and I saw how each one of the families they stayed with treated them like a paycheck. It made me sick. What was worse was one of my friends, L was available for adoption and she was staying with a foster family that wanted to adopt her. Well as soon as they put in there petition to adopt her, the social worker yanked her out of that house and put her into the Foster Home of Horrors. I was only in that house once and it was for L's birthday but I never wanted to go back. I felt so bad that she had to live there. They had 12 other foster children and 3 children of their own and these people were just down right scary. She wasn't allowed to use the phone in that house and was in a different school system, so I lost track of her but I still think about her and I hope she's happy. I vowed that when I started this journey that I wouldn't be like those Foster Families.

Otherwise today was a rough day, K had an appointment at Shriner's. We woke up late so I didn't get on the road when I wanted too. Right before we left, I heard on the news there was a manhunt for a Murder from Georgia, seems he killed 4 people on Monday and was asleep in his truck in the gas station less than a mile from my house. He shot at Police and ran off. So of course when we head out to the car, I'm hypervigiliant making sure he isn't lurking behind some place and kidnap or kill us. So we make it to the car ok. But what the news failed to mention was that they had shut down every major highway headed into STL from my town. So I had to drive almost a 1/2 hr out of my way on backroads just to be able to hit the highway to head to STL. So of course I'm already late, and add another 1/2 hour being late and we arrived at our appointment right on time, actually we arrived 2 minutes before 830am. They called us back pretty quickly, which is always the case, you never sit in the waiting room. Well to cut the story short, the doctor K was suppose to see was called away to the Governor's Board Conference that was being held at the hospital today, so we had to wait until she was done speaking before she got to even see K. K basically cried the entire time we were there, which was from 835am till 2pm. I don't blame her, like I wouldn't cry with all these strangers grabbing at my foot, poking and prodding. The thing that pissed me off the most was we were about to leave and the RN goes and tries weighing K and of course K is still flipping out and won't sit still. So we had to head to the shop because they are doing a new type of brace for K and the RN turns towards me and K and goes says in a really nasty loud voice "can't you shut-up". Needless to say I flipped out on her. This is a baby you are yelling at who is tramutized and like you are making the situation any better. I should have reported her right then and there but I just wanted to hurry up, I know K was tired and hungry and I was just ready to go. I don't understand why we can never have an appointment at Shriner's that's just quick in and out. Why do they have to drag it out? Otherwise they ordered a spinal MRI to be done at Children's Hospital which I know a few of you out there know my feelings on them but they are the only Hospital in the area that does them, so we are forced to go back there. They are also going to do the Nerve Conduction study there too. We are trying to get them scheduled on the same day so they only have to knock her out once to have the procedures done. So WHOOHOO know I get to deal with the Children Hospital Idiots!!

Which you'll just laugh because Children's Hospital called me tonight in the middle of dinner and wanted to verfiy some information...of course it was address, name, birthdate, all the general stuff but again they don't have it noted I'm single, she was adopted and there is no father medical history and why isn't there a complete mother medical history when I'm talking to you on the phone...DUH! She's adopted. Then she goes well this is for her MRI and I go she's also having the Nerve Conduction Study and she goes. Oh, I guess we lost that paperwork. In a matter of minutes or hours you lose the paperwork. Oh this is going to be just as fun as the brain MRI.



Saturday, September 15, 2007

5th Training Session and Other Random Stuff

Well of course Thursday we had our 5th Training session. To tell you the honest truth it was suppose to be about keeping connections for the children and instead turned into a free for all. But the little we did learn was interesting but was common sense kind of stuff..which obviously alot of people in my class don't have. I mean if a child was on a ball team, I would try my best to keep that child in that sport, even if it meant driving a 1/2 hr or 45 min. As long as it's something the child would still want to do and ok with the Social worker, otherwise I would go out of my way to let them join a team around here. The thing is you should put the child's needs first and not look at them as a monthly stipend like alot of people in my class see them. I read a blog the other day from a former foster child and he said too many people go into foster parenting because they want to "save a child". And because I am me, I had never even thought of it that way, the same with K's adoption, I meet so many people who wanted to save the children from the heathen society. I can tell you that we have more monsters here and just because they don't believe in what you believe in or they are parented differently doesn't mean that there way is wrong. It just means that we are all different, just as the universes had planned. Ok so off my soap box...I still have my homework to do which is to create a ecomap. Basically you draw yourself and the people you live in a circle and then put around all your groups, friends, work, etc. That way you can see if you ended up getting taken away from all of it how much you would really lose. We did it in class and after we all moved away, got mad at the person and stopped speaking or died, it was a really awful feeling because that person was up there all alone.

Otherwise sorry to all who was grossed out about the girl with the hairy underarms and chocolate. The funny thing was is that both her and her friend was only wearing tank tops on Friday, I about died. Otherwise they had overtime today at work, so my Mom went in instead of me, we no longer have a babysitter on Saturday & Sunday so I got to stay at home with my girl. My Mom and I decided to rotate overtime on the weekends, it just makes sense. We had fun today, we spent time changing out her clothes from summer wear to fall/winter wear since it's starting to get a little colder. Basically that meant I totally wrecked both our rooms with clothes all over the place. I mean she wears 6-9 mos clothes, but can wear some 12 and 18 mos because they are made small, so basically I have to drag out all 3 tubs of clothes and hold them up and see if they could, would, maybe fit her for the season. And then I can't pack away the summer clothes yet because it still getting warm during the day. UGGHHH!!! I usually enjoy doing this because I get to see all the clothes that I bought on clearance, yard sales or the resale shop but this season it just really feels like a chore. Then this afternoon, we had an unplanned playdate with J and her daughter S who was also adopted from VN. Luckily she gave me about an hour to at least sweep the floors and do the dishes before she came over. I mean they are great people and K & S love to play with each other BUT...yes there is always a but, she is a minimalist plus everything has its place. And me....well I'm a pack rat, plus I'm combing my house with my Mom's, add in K's stuff, plus we had N move home after graduating with all his stuff and I have no room left. Heck, I have N's couch in my entry way along with a whole bunch of rubbermaid containers from my Mom's house. So I know that when she comes over she passes judgement on me, I know she thinks I'm a messy house cleaner I mean my kitchen counters are flat filing cabinets. But honestly I would rather play with my daughter than clean, she's growing up so fast and you can't ever get this time back so who cares if your dishes are dirty and you have dust bunnies. Well I'm off to bed and I hope you all had a good day!

Friday, September 14, 2007

So Tired

I am so tired, Foster class ran super late on Thursday and today was a crazy day at work because we had a job fair and there was only 2 people not picked to work it and one of them was me, so the other girl and I ended up doing all the clean-up, which is hard work. But I just wanted to share some of my practice work for the week. We get to practice on chocolate that was already screwed up, it is maybe broken or someone screwed up the personalization. I really love working with chocolate and I'm getting really good at it too. I'll update after I get a good's night rest.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Day 3 This and Thats

Well I have actually really been enjoying work...I mean besides the throbbing hand and tired legs because there's nothing like being on your feet for 8 hours a day. It looks like I'm going to be dropping my work schedule down to 3 days a week. N got a HR job and actually started today, thank goodness his girlfriend KE could watch K. What is nice is N will work 4 days a week, including the weekend. I am hoping to get a part time job with a security company because they need someone only for Sunday, which it would work out perfect with our situation, so pray that it works out. So right now it's a little crazy but it will work out. I've tried finding a babysitter for K so I wouldn't have to cut my hours but the daycare's around here still want you to pay a full week even if it's only 2 or 3 days a week and so far all the in-home care I have meet with...well they were far from my liking (child eating out of the cat litter dish, running around unsupervised and numerous other horrors). Plus this works out pretty good because I will still get more quality time with K that I feel I have been missing. So maybe I didn't need that magic wand after all...but it still would be nice ;)

Oh, the only downside to work is 2 girls, I call them girls because they are both under 22 and act like 2 year olds...actually K acts older than these 2 girls, so they act younger than a 18 mos old. They are such slackers, won't listen and is causing so much drama within the group. Since we work around food, we are not suppose to wear any piercings, jewelry, eat food, chew gum, no cough drops, etc. Well both of the girls are still wearing their piercings and the one was constantly getting gum and chewing it up. Plus the nastiest thing she did, is she took off her sweatshirt and t-shirt and was only wearing a tank top....what was worse was her armpits were hairy and had caked on deodorant....mmm, don't you want some chocolate now. I mean she was dancing around and stuff and her nasty armpits could have contaminated everything, I mean we are in an environment that we put sanitizer on our hands before we put on our rubber gloves, we wear those great shoe protectors so that doesn't get in the room, we wear face masks so that way we don't breathe on the chocolate wrong. Yet she's allowed to prance around in a tank top. I think our manager is trying to figure out how to get rid of her but so far, nothing, I guess she's thinking she'll straighten up or something. So that's my day in a nutshell, hope you all had a good day.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It was Ok

I was really surprised that my day went as well as it did. The group I hired in with is actually pretty nice. And the people already working there were ok too. My table of women are really fun and talkative, which makes the day go by faster since we will be in training for two weeks. I'm not sure how much writting in chocolate I can take because my hand is killing me tonight. Guess it's the revenge for the carpal tunnel surgery that I had a few years ago that never fixed the problem and only made it worse. I have to say the manager is an ok women but she is stressed very easily and snaps very easily. Other than my hand throbbing tonight and my feet killing me because I've stood on them for 8 hours, I'm actually looking forward to going back tomorrow.
Otherwise N is back from Chicago and watched K today. When I arrived home, she was still in her pj's. So I asked N why wasn't K in clothes and he tells me that no one laid out any clothes to change her into. All I could do was crack up laughing at him. Why is it men can't go to the closet and pick out an outfit. Well at least he changes her diaper, feeds her well and takes good care of her, so I can't complain, all I can do is laugh about it and lay out her clothes from tomorrow. Off to take a great big dose of pain pills.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

New Job Jitters

Well tomorrow I start my new job, too bad I never found that magic wand or won the lottery. Not sure why I'm so nervous. Maybe because I'll be working in the same department as my Mom? Or that I have already heard her horror stories about the place and people? I'm trying to go in with an open mind but it's hard to do since I basically have made up my mind about the people from the stories. But at least I start with 9 other new people and at least I've got a little heads-up. I know who to watch out for and how this is the managers first time managing people. Goodness this is gonna be a long night especially since K is still having some anxiety. Friday night it was horriable and last night it was a little better but both nights she was in my bed. So hopefully tonight maybe she'll sleep in the pack n play next to my bed. That way she is still close but not hogging my bed. Otherwise wish me luck!

Oh and for you who are curious where my new job is.....Just take a guess

That's right, I'm working for Hershey, how awesome is that!