Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Love My "Job"

I mean, seriously, how could I not love it?? Today, I got to go to the park, be out in the fresh air & sunshine, watch these sweet girls play, & feed the ducks. Yes, there are days like yesterday when I am climbing Mt. Laundry Pile, but it's these days that make it all worth it!

For those of you that have asked, we are very happy with the decision to keep Kaya home instead of sending her to preschool. She is returning to her happy self, & we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was the right thing for our girl right now! And honestly, I am loving it & I think Kendi is thankful!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

On the Move

Just like that, we are now mobile.

Well, actually, Miss Kendi became mobile a few weeks ago at the ripe old age of 10.5 months, but I've been in denial about it.

But there's really no denying it. This girl is not just taking little wobbly steps. Oh, no.

We went to visit Daddy at the university today & she OWNED the place. These are a couple of the least blurry pictures Daddy caught with his phone. She won't stand still!!

Busy & cute is a very dangerous combination! ;o)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunday Snapshot: Simply Kemeri

Look what we got!!
Kemeri Abigail is almost 18 months old now, & we were so thankful to receive some new pictures of her recently. She is so sweet, & I just want to kiss those cheeks.

I don't know, though. Her lips look pretty kissable, too.

And I'm just betting this partial smile can get really big.

I know I haven't talked about Kemeri's SNs, but as you can see, she has what my daughter, Kearsten, refers to as a "lucky fin". (We are huge Disney fans, & Kearsten is an intervention specialist major, so I was not surprised when she immediately & matter-of-factly made that positive connection.) This next picture just made me so proud of her because she is using both hands. Funny how things hit you like that.

*Sigh*. I love the pictures, but they are hard at the same time. She has already changed so much, & it will be awhile before we get there. We have our fingerprint appointment on the 29th, so we're hoping our approval comes shortly after from USC*S so that we can send off our dossier. Then we get in the next line of waiting.

We would be most thankful for prayers for our paperwork, & even more importantly, for Kemeri. :o) Thanks for letting me share!

Click on the button to see more Sunday Snapshot posts or to add one of your own!

Sunday Snapshot

Monday, September 12, 2011

Acknowledging the Wounds

They say that hindsight is 20/20. *They* are sooo right. I have now parented two daughters into adulthood & when looking back, I lament that I cannot have a do over with regard to the way I handled some things. It's the old, "I wish I knew then what I know now".

When Kaelee & Kearsten were very little, their first father left the picture. Shortly after Joe & I got married, Joe adopted the girls. Less than a week later, their first father was killed in a plane crash. It was a devastating time, but the girls were so little & it didn't seem to phase them much because they didn't really remember much of him. Over time, we just didn't talk about it & I dealt with my grief. In my young, inexperienced phase of motherhood, I figured why bring it up & cause unnecessary pain for them. That's the thing about wounds. Some of them are visible; some are not. But just because you can't "see" them doesn't mean they aren't there.

Over these last several years, Joe & I have become quite versed in the effects of trauma on children. For Joe in his professional life, this has become a passion as he travels the country speaking to & training educators about working with wounded children based on his years of experience in education working with struggling kiddos. For us in our personal life, it has become a reality.

We've had a big dose of reality in these past couple of weeks. What should have been an exciting, happy time went south...way south.

Let me backtrack for a minute. If you've been around my blog for awhile, you know that Kaya came to us at 2 days old through foster care. After a looong 2+ YEARS, we were thankful to have the opportunity to adopt her. I have never shared much about those 2+ years because I want to be careful to not make my family feel like I'm hanging our undies out for the world to see. However, I also know that for me, one of the reasons I read blogs is to learn, grow, & feel encouraged that life is not perfect for everybody else & that other people understand that life is hard sometimes for all of us.

Life was VERY hard during those couple of years. I think some people have the misconception that since Kaya has been with us since near birth, that she has had it easy. Honestly, when I think back, it overwhelms me. For those 2 years, we had a case plan that dictated what had to be done, & it took a toll on every person involved. Twice a week she had supervised visitation that rarely ended well. At first, I would go to the courtyard to read a book or go to a nearby store to pass the time (visits were in a town an hour away, so going home was not an option), but after several episodes that resulted in a social worker trying to find me to console Kaya, I quit leaving. I planted myself in the waiting room so that they could find me. Again, this is hard to share because there's a lot more to it. At first some people thought it was typical separation anxiety because she had become attached to me. Over time, it became apparent that it was fear. Anyone that thinks that an infant, toddler, or young child does not have a sense of discernment should rethink that stance.

Fast forward to these past couple of weeks. Kaya got a brand new backpack & was all excited about starting preschool with the same teachers K'Tyo had last year. They are wonderful, & I was so excited for her & this new adventure. The teachers visited us at home, we went to open house, & then the first day. We had been through this routine countless times with K'Tyo, but when it came time for Kaya to be dropped off (a teacher comes to the car), Kaya unfastened her buckle, jumped out of her carseat, & began freaking out. She was clutching at my neck, kicking, screaming...holy smokes. Somehow, the teacher managed to get her out, & by the time I picked her up, she was fine & the teachers reported that she did well. However, we saw red flags everywhere. She began waking up crying in the night & ended up in our bed, she began acting out (naughty beyond the "normal naughty"), scared of everything, & the first words out of her mouth in the mornings were, "I'm scared...I don't want to go to preschool" as she became an appendage to me as I was trying to have the normal before school routine with the other kids.

Years ago, I would have drawn on the old "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" mode of operation & figured she would get over it. But knowing what we know now, Joe & I both knew we needed to trust our gut, and our guts were saying that she's not ready. While she can't verbalize where her feelings are coming from or what is triggering her fear, it is very real. I think there are definitely times in life when we do need to pull ourselves up, but I've also learned that life deals us things that are downright ugly. And some of those things show themselves in ways down the road that we need to recognize for what they are...past trauma & hurt that may need some extra TLC & flexibility in the way we do business.

I won't lie. I look forward to the kids going to school. To me, it's an exciting time & I love hearing about their daily adventures. I have never envisioned myself as a homeschooling mom (I totally admire the ones that are). But here I am with a little one that needs to be home, where she feels safe. For how long? I don't know. I do know that finally, over these past few days, she is returning to being herself. I know that we have done the right thing. I know that I will do whatever needs to be done as I take my cues from her & hope that I get it right more than I don't. And I will pray that God heals the places that hurt so that she may find a sense of confidence & security.

I am also thankful that even though I am an imperfect parent with much to learn, Kaelee & Kearsten have turned out to be beautiful young women that are using their gifts to teach children. And while I wish I had helped them to better deal with their losses early on, I am thankful that God works for good in all things, & you can see that He has used their past to influence their present to impact the future.