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Today my daughter, Gaubri, and I took my foster son to Kauffman Memorial Gardens to have his picture taken for his adoption profile. We met his new Wendy’s Wonderful Kids worker and admired the beautiful gardens.

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This week’s project to tackle is cutting food costs for our family of eight. We currently have the following: one five month old, one eight year old, one eleven year old, two fourteen year olds, one seventeen year old and two adults. When it comes to appetites we are basically feeding seven adults.
We have been in survival mode adjusting to the increase by three people after a new foster placement over two months ago. It is now time to evaluate ways to keep our costs down.
I am a reader, an absolute book fan so when it comes to any question I tend to gather my resources and get to researching. My current “cutting food costs” stack contains Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn, Cutting Your Grocery Bill in Half with America’s Cheapest Family by Steve & Annette Economides, and Dig Out of Debt by Jill Cooper & Tawra Kellam.
While I start formulating a plan I will concentrate on using what I have. This morning I put on a rich, hearty stew to simmer so I can fill all those hungry bellies before Football and Karate this evening. I will serve it with fresh bread from the much neglected bread machine.

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Please feel free to comment with your family’s food stretching and money saving tips.

Outside in Kansas City~Sunny and 37 degrees.  We have been enjoying record highs lately and the forecast predicts 60 degree weather again this week!

I am thinking~that I would like to blog on a regular basis this year. I am also hoping to start training for a 5k and am entering into a new discipleship relationship.  Excited about new things in 2012.

I am thankful for~family time over the holidays.  It was such a blessing to have all our children and grandchildren with us on Christmas.  I know there will be years that this can’t happen so I truly appreciate it.

In my kitchen~I am planning to eat from the current fridge, freezer and pantry offerings this week.  It will help to clear things out before they go bad and save some money after the Christmas spending. After that I am planning to try out Once a Month Mom’s real food challenge and the Whole Food’s Menu.

I am wearing~My new fleece pullover from Land’s End, Jeans, Nike’s.

Last creative endeavor~is to regularly entertain, distract, and care for a nine month old 😉

Sleeping Sweetie!

I am going~to travel to El Salvador with a group from Faith Community Church for 10 days in March.  My daughter, Gaubri, will be going too. We are very excited about going to serve others and share the love of Christ.

Gaubri

Can’t wait for~tomorrow, every day is a new adventure. Longer term I am looking forward to a trip to Europe in spring 2013, Lord willing.

Family News~We are down to five people at our house right now.  Our foster son who has been with us since last January transitioned to his new home the day before Thanksgiving. He is being adopted by a family member who really loves him so this is a great ending for our placement with him.  We really need prayer about future placements, if, who, when, we take in more children.  Initially we were just focused on having a “break” and even though we have gotten several calls about placements we have told everyone that is what we are doing.  We still have our foster daughter, and she is spending three nights a week with her birth mom so we are in a very doable place right now. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that internal nudging that there is such a need and the constant reminder from the calls and the postings looking for placements on the foster care email loop keep me pondering what our next step should be.

Current Read~I am starting Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History by Diana Lynn Severance.

I am hearing~The hum of the computer, Brent took Gaubri and Shakur to basketball practice and baby D is taking a nap.

I am hoping~to keep the household organized with a new app I purchased for my Iphone called Motivated Moms 2012. It also comes in printable versions and breaks household tasks down into daily lists, similar to the old card system that the Sidetracked Executives used or Flylady without the deluge of emails.

Around the house~the dead Christmas tree has been taken to the woods and the living room is back to normal. The house seems very empty and quiet after the holiday invasion…

Simple pleasure~quiet time to blog and meal plan.

Outside in Kansas City~ It is already hot and muggy at 7:20am this Saturday morning. According to Weather.com:  The common weather themes this holiday weekend are what you would expect them to be during the first week of July: heat and thunderstorms.

I am thinking~a lot about Biblical Counseling, biblical change; especially how it needs to affect my life, and about anger specifically.

I am thankful for~God’s grace and mercy and the insight and dedication of his people. On another note I am grateful that I got a full night’s sleep last night for the first time in months, both babies had a super good night, no dog barking, no husband snoring, and no older son coming in late. Bliss!

In my kitchen~there is a happy, well-rested three-month-old playing happily in her bouncy seat and a 13-year-old boy munching his way through a big bowl of cereal.

I am wearing~Gray capri sweat pants and my Faith Christian Academy Walkathon t-shirt.

Last creative endeavor~was to start writing my first biblical counseling certification paper.  It may be a very challenging and painful endeavor because I have not written a paper in years. My book choices are Why Christian’s Can’t Trust Psychology which I read months ago and really loved and Competent to Counsel which I am currently reading.

I am going~to attend the IABC National Bible Conference in Colorado the first week of August (Lord willing). Julie Ganschow will be one of the conference speakers.

Can’t wait for~school to start…I know weird.  I will miss the some things but I really prefer for the kids to have the structure of school.  In our neighborhood there are not a lot of good options and it is hard to provide recreational opportunities that work for 3 months to 16 years.

Family News~My son, Nicholas and, his wife, Staci, graduated from Dordt College this spring and moved to Holland, Michigan where he is working for Gentex and she is working in a shop that sells wine from a nearby vineyard.

Current Read~Getting a Grip: The Heart of Anger Handbook for Teens by Lou Priolo. This book was recommended to me recently and I am so glad to have it. It is written in a really practical way.  Lou Priolo is a newly discovered and appreciated author for me.  The church I attend, Faith Community Church, recently had men’s book studies utilizing his book The Complete Husband and his writing and heart for Biblical counseling is refreshing.

I am hearing~our little foster son babble from his stander.

I am hoping~to get lots accomplished over this holiday weekend.  I may use the 15 minute approach because I have such a variety of things that need to be done.  We will see how that works-15 minutes of decluttering my bedroom where every stray piece of  paper and clothing seems to congregate, painting on the ongoing woodwork project as we move from brown trim to white, etc…

Around the house~still working on the trim throughout the interior of the house and I love the change to warm white so much.  It’s amazing how there are constant repairs to do to any house you own.  We have a list right now that includes replacing the garage doors (unfortunately a necessity), mudjacking the driveway, rebuilding a crumbling brick area in the front of the house (caused by the need for mudjacking the driveway) among other less pressing things like finishing the exterior painting started last summer and repainting/staining the deck which was just done last year but because I chose the wrong stain has to be done again already.

Simple pleasure~Iced Coffee

7:17 Wake-up and rejoice that both babies slept through the night, woo hoo.  Check baby J, he still has a few minutes to finish his nighttime tube feeding.  Load up his syringes with meds and his next feeding bag with his morning water. Load up the coffee maker with coffee and water for Mom and Dad.  Make up a bottle of formula for baby D who will be very hungry after a nice long sleep.  Run to the bathroom before anyone is calling for me.

7:30 Give J his meds, change his diaper, start his morning water and tuck him back in for a little more sleep. Make a cup of coffee and wake up baby D for the day.  She is happy, well-rested, sweet and warm, she takes a few minutes to realize how very hungry she is then slurp. Mom sneaks a look at The Voice semifinals on Hulu while baby D drinks her bottle.

9:00 D is playing happily in her bouncy seat; J is starting to wake-up and talk in his room.  Breakfast casserole is in the oven and dad is working out in the garage while the older kids (18.16,13) sleep on.  I will take pity on them this stormy morning and let them sleep in. D gets changed into her clothes for the day, or at least for the next 15 minutes  J.

10:50 J spent 30 minutes in his stander and is finishing up his morning tube feeding.  D had a short nap and is working on her second bottle of the morning. All kids are up; Dad is back from a trip to Tires Plus with Mom’s Taxi.  All enjoyed the French Toast Casserole for breakfast.

11:00 Mom left to take her Dad to lunch. Daddy B left in charge of all the kids.  He’s a trooper and, yes, he does change dirty diapers.

1:15 Mom goes to five garage sales and comes home with an exersaucer, pack n play, baby girl-shoes, headbands, dress, and toys.

2:00 Mom gives baby D a bottle and works to clean all garage sale items.

3:00 Dad takes two of the older kids with him to a wedding. While he is gone baby D takes a nap and Mom works with Baby J on his physical therapy.

4:30 Mom starts broccoli and cheese soup for dinner.

6:30 Everyone has been fed and the older kids clean the kitchen. Dad leaves to go have a Spurgeon Night with some men from church.

7:00 Baby J gets his meds then back in his stander, Baby D had a bath and bottle, then fell asleep in her bouncy seat. One child playing Wii, one playing outside, older son on laptop and his girlfriend here painting a picture.

8:00 Baby J gets dose of water followed by the start of his overnight tube feeding. Changed and tucked in for bed.

9:00 All kids (under 18) in bed and Mom soon to follow.

10:30 Dad at the grocery store picking up formula for the babies on his way home…

Outside in Kansas City~28 degrees with freezing drizzle…gloomy and gray outside.  Forecasts for this week include record snows and low temperatures so everyone seems to be preparing for the worst.

I am thinking~that I will be glad to have all my family home safe and sound tonight before the bad weather hits.  Brent home from work in Topeka and the kids home from school.  I kept our newest edition home from his daycare today.

I am thankful for~The safe arrival of the dental team and Emily Duffey back from their mission trips this past weekend.

In my kitchen~I’m ready to start whipping up some comfort food to keep us warm through this frigid weather.  I think I’ll start with a batch of Hamburger Buns in 30 minutes, these make such great bread for a variety of uses. Some simmering soup seems to be a logical second step.

I am wearing~Paint clothes-jeans and one of my husband’s comfy long sleeved paint shirts along with warm wool socks to keep my feet cozy.

Last creative endeavor~ Worked on some embroidery  a few nights ago and just ended up pulling it all out, just not feeling the needlework thing. Dining room wall will have to be my “creative” outlet for now.

I am going~to introduce J our newest household addition.  He is a sweet one year old boy who is operating at the same level as a pretty newly born infant in a lot of ways.  He has brain damage from a lack of oxygen and it affects his vision as well as his control of/use of his whole body.  Sweet J is fed through a G-tube and takes nothing orally.  He is on a strict schedule but otherwise has moved pretty seamlessly into our household.

Can’t wait for~a visit from Taylor, I’m missing him!  Got to see Nicholas unexpectedly this week and it was a blessing.

Family News~Nicholas and Staci will be graduating from Dordt College this spring.  Nicholas has a job interview in California in February.  Please be praying for wisdom for them as they make decisions regarding their future.

Current Read~What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp it is really very good.  Family Feasts for $75 a Week: A Penny-wise Mom Shares Her Recipe for Cutting Hundreds from Your Monthly Food Bill so far so good, I’m trying to tighten my food budget which has gotten out of control in the past few months.

I am hearing~The humidifier in J’s room, very quiet here today.

I am hoping~to finish my dining room project before the day is over…

Around the house~the refrigerator is restocked as well as the pantry, prescriptions refilled, firewood stacked, necessary paper goods double checked, sidewalk treatment restocked and broken snow shovel replaced.  Bring it on!

Simple pleasure~Big mug of hot sweet tea.

Our foster care journey began way back in 1975 when I met my birth father’s sister, ie “my aunt Elaine,” and her family which included both birth children and foster children. This was the first time I had heard of “foster care” and it made quite an impression on me. Through the years it always remained at the back of my mind that I wanted to provide care for children without homes someday.  My husband and I married in 1980 and as we raised our four birth children the idea was never far from our minds.  At one point while we were raising our first three children I went to a Children’s Division meeting in Liberty, MO to get more information and decided that it was not the right time for us.  Our children were still small and frankly I felt we could not afford to take on the care of other children with the small amount of financial help the state provided at that time.

By 2008 our two oldest children were married and had children of their own, our third child was in college, and the fourth was soon to graduate high school and head off to college too.  The idea of becoming foster parents again came to mind.  I began to research Missouri foster care online and found Missouri Baptist Children’s HomeMBCH trains and licenses foster parents and because we were hoping for a Christian licensing agency we decided to attend their information meeting, which we were told was the first step in being licensed by them.  All went well at the brief informational meeting that was held at their Lee’s Summit location and we scheduled a home visit.  The home visit would determine whether we would be accepted into their Ten week training program.

Last week I attended a symposium about Attachment Disorders.  It was very enlightening and helped to shed light on a lot of the struggles I have had as a new foster/adopive mom.  See below from Nancy Thomas’ website but remember there are varying degrees of attachment, children may have only one cause and would need to have at least half of the symptoms before they would be considered to have Reactive Attachment Disorder.  The children I have had contact with from the foster care system so far have had varying degrees of difficulty with attachment.

Attachment is defined as the affectional tie between two people. It begins with the bond between the infant and mother. This bond becomes internally representative of how the child will form relationships with the world. Bowlby stated “the initial relationship between self and others serves as blueprints for all future relationships.” (Bowlby, 1975)

Attachment Disorder is defined as the condition in which individuals have difficulty forming lasting relationships. They often show nearly a complete lack of ability to be genuinely affectionate with others. They typically fail to develop a conscience and do not learn to trust. They do not allow people to be in control of them due to this trust issue. This damage is done by being abused or physically or emotionally separated from one primary caregiver during the first 3 years of life. “If a child is not attached-does not form a loving bond with the mother-he does not develop an attachment to the rest of mankind. The unattached child literally does not have a stake in humanity” (Magid & McKelvey 1988) They do not think and feel like a normal person. “At the core of the unattached is a deep-seated rage, far beyond normal anger. This rage is suppressed in their psyche.
Now we all have some degree of rage, but the rage of psychopaths is that born of unfulfilled needs as infants. Incomprehensible pain is forever locked In their souls, because of the abandonment they felt as infants.” (Magid & McKelvey 1988) “There is an inability to love or feel guilty. There is no conscience. Their inability to enter into any relationship makes treatment or even education impossible.” (Bowlby 1955) Some infamous people with Attachment Disorder that did not get help in time: Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Edgar Allen Poe, Jeffery Dahmer, and Ted Bundy. One famous person with Attachment Disorder who did get help in time (in 1887!) and became one of greatest humanitarians is Helen Keller.

Attachment Disorder Symptoms

• Superficially engaging & charming
• Lack of eye contact on parents terms
• Indiscriminately affectionate with strangers
• Not affectionate on Parents’ terms (not cuddly)
• Destructive to self, others and material things (accident prone)
• Cruelty to animals
• Lying about the obvious (crazy lying)
• Stealing
• No impulse controls (frequently acts hyperactive)
• Learning Lags
• Lack of cause and effect thinking
• Lack of conscience
• Abnormal eating patterns
• Poor peer relationships
• Preoccupation with fire
• Preoccupation with blood & gore
• Persistent nonsense questions & chatter
• Inappropriately demanding & clingy
• Abnormal speech patterns
• Triangulation of adults
• False allegations of abuse
• Presumptive entitlement issues
• Parents appear hostile and angry

Causes
Any of the following conditions occurring to a child during the first 36 months of life puts them at risk:

• Unwanted pregnancy
• Pre-birth exposure to trauma, drugs or alcohol
• Abuse (physical, emotional, sexual)
• Neglect (not answering the baby’s cries for help)
• Separation from primary caregiver (i.e. Illness or death of mother or severe illness or hospitalization of the baby, or adoption
• On-going pain such as colic, hernia or many ear infections
• Changing day cares or using providers who don’t do bonding
• Moms with chronic depression
• Several moves or placements (foster care, failed adoptions)
• Caring for baby on a timed schedule or other self-centered parenting

Even though we had all our paperwork turned in and contracts signed we really cannot receive cases without a DVN. According to our Licensing Worker ‘The DVN is your vendor number and means you are State approved.” I am learning as much since our classes ended as I was before just in a different way. You just don’t know what to ask, there is so much information. It reminds me of an extremely stupid/dangerous/painful stunt that I pulled when new on the police force. It is hard to imagine once you know more that you could have ever been so stupid or viewed a situation in the way that you did. As a reminder one of my goals was to record our foster care journey on this blog. That is why I have been rather detailed as to requirements etc…lately I have been discouraged so I did not want to discourage others from following this path. That is the last thing I would want to do. I have not been documenting some of the bumps in the road because of that. Now that I am seeing things more clearly I will try to catch up so to speak and will let you know the gory (not really) details so stay tuned.

We signed our homestudy and contracts tonight. We are officially foster parents with Cornerstones of Care/Missouri Baptist Children’s Home. We are signed up for Traditional Foster Care, Respite, and Emergency Care.

August 2017
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