And She Lived…

{December 1, 2008}   Going Home

I asked a question of my readers back in October. I was thinking of going back to posting at my old blog instead of here. Everyone said they would happily follow me back if I chose to go. Well, the decision has been made. I am going back. It just felt more like home to me than this site does.

So my faithful readers please come back home with me. And for those of you that have only started reading me since I started blogging here, I hope you follow me on over there as well.

I have renamed the old blog and got a new look too. So click on over and check out And She Lived! Life After The Bitter Ball

It’s the last day of November which means an end to NaBloPoMo. Ya, I am glad to put an end to that. And for those who subscribe to my blog, I am sure you are glad to see an end to it as well. Nope, I don’t think I’ll be doing that again. Over and over I have had a tendency to put undue pressure on myself when it comes to blogging. Over and over again I tell myself I won’t pressure myself again. But I keep doing it anyway. Blogging reflects my life in that way. Taking on things I know I shouldn’t, but doing it anyway.

There is one thing that I wonder whether or not I should take on. Something I have been thinking about for a very long time now. That thing is a second adoption. While right now isn’t the right time to bring another child into our family, due to financial issues and getting Meechi started in all his therapies and school, I still think about it. It is something we really want to do. Meechi’s adoption took 15 months from start to finish. That is time from signing the contract to him actually arriving in our home. I think about where we will be 15 months from now and I think the timing for bringing another little one into our home would be pretty good then. I will have finished school and hopefully started a new job. Meechi will hopefully be caught up with some of his developmental skills and happy in his 2nd year of pre-k by then. So, the timing feels right. Also, it seems that adoption is taking longer these days, so it could be even longer than 15 months this time around and that would be ok too.

We are not jumping right into adoption. Instead we are going to go sort of slow with things this time. Lesson learned! At this point we are not even sure where we will adopt from. Our most likely choice at this point is actually US foster care. We were afraid to go that route the first time. Afraid of the emotional and mental damage that has been done to those children. See how naive we were back then? To not realize that the same is true for any orphan, anywhere. Of course we also wanted a baby back then, anddidn’t think we could adopt one from here through foster care. I do know that it is harder to adopt a baby when you go that route. We don’t want a baby this time around. Give me a child that has some emotional trauma, as long as he is potty trained and can talk! I know that sounds like I am diminishing the importance of a child’s emotions, but honestly if Meechi could talk it would make everything he has to deal with SO much easier.

One thing that we were a bit disillusioned on before adopting was thinking that babies do not suffer all the emotional and mental damage that older children do. We did not realize that it was possible for a baby to experience RAD. We know better now. We know full well that a child of any age will experience trauma from being abandoned by their birth family and from life in the system. Whatever system they happen to be stuck in. Meechidoes not have RAD, he attached to us quite easily. He does have separation anxiety though. I can not leave the room without him following me everywhere I go. If he doesn’t see me leave the room, when he realizes I am gone he screams in terror. If Hank tries to take him somewhere without me he reaches back in the door screaming “mommy! mommy!” because he doesn’t want to leave without me. If I go somewhere without him it leads to a meltdown as well. (first few days of preschool ought to be fun, eh?) Well, the point is that we understand a lot more now. We are better prepared for what to expect.

Sometime after the first of the year we are going to start doing the PS-MAPP training. (PS-MAPP stands for Partnering for Safety and Permanence Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) This is the required classes for people to adopt from foster care here in Ks. In this course we will learn about loss, attachment, managing behavior, birth family connections, and how to help children transition into their new family. Even if we decide not to adopt from foster care and do adopt from another country, this class will be helpful. It is what I think all prospective adoptive parents should do. No matter where they choose to adopt from. I truly believe it should be required for anyone entering into adoption.

When we decided to adopt the first time it never entered our minds that we would ever want to do it again. We simply wanted another child. A son that the two of us could raise together. It is because of our amazing son that we want to adopt again. He has brought so much into our lives that he has us craving more. We want another child to love and care for. Another child to bring more joy into our lives. Also, we want our son to have a sibling closer to his own age. He loves his brother and sister but there is such a big age gap. We think he would benefit from having a brother closer in age. Yes, we want another boy. I am just not a princess and ruffles kind of person. Besides, as I parent a teenage girl I realize that I don’t want to live with the worries I have over her again with another child.

Today is also the last day of adoption awareness month. That is the reason I have chosen to announce our plans to adopt again in the not too distant future. I want to share the magic of adoption with everyone. We have gone through the trials of adopting through an unethical adoption agency, getting less than average treatment from adoption coordinators, losing a job due to the adoption, huge financial setbacks, unexpected developmental delays in our son, living every day with his SPD issues… and we want to adopt again. If we can make that decision then I hope we can inspire at least one more family to adopt. There are thousands of children out there who need parents to love them. They are hurting andsuffering from loss. They aren’t perfect, but neither is any of us. I truly hope some of you will find it in your hearts to consider adoption.

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I watched the 20/20 show last night. The one I like to call their anti-adoption campaign. My feelings on it haven’t changed much.

I know what RAD is. I know it really can be very, very bad. I know that sometimes these kids really do threaten the safety of themselves, siblings, pets and parents. I know it is very difficult to parent these children. I also know that I have no personal experience dealing with RAD. (short pause to thank God) However, I also know that following your newly adopted daughter around with a video camera, essentially stalking her is NOT helping. Yep, I know that. Too bad her parents didn’t seem to.

I got my questions answered about how long those girls have been here. 4 years. So, at least they didn’t call in the film crews right away, like I thought perhaps they did. Nope, they just did that themselves.

Now let’s put ourselves in this little girls place. You’ve just left behind everything you’ve ever known. You are half way around the world from the place that is home to you. You are now living with people that are strangers. Strangers that are now your mom and dad. The only experience you’ve ever had with parents were not good ones. You are scared as hell. You don’t understand what anyone is saying to you because they speak another language. You have no way to tell anyone about what you are feeling because they can not understand what you are saying. All this is going on and you are scared and upset and confused and now, suddenly, these new parents of yours are following you around with a camera, fimling your pain. All you want is to get away, but they won’t let you.  ok……….. now how do you feel??? Are you building trust in these people? Are you feeling loved? Protected? Wanted? Safe? Secure? Or, are you feeling the exact opposite of those things?

There are differing opinions on how to handle RAD. There are those that swear by holding the child close in tight hugs. Keep in mind that you have to actually physically force the kids into this because they don’t want you to hold them. This is known as holding therapy.  There are others who swear that doing that is the totally wrong thing to do. In my opinion (notice i said MY OPINION) I think that holding therapy would have been a preferable method for this child over what she got. Forced hugs? or documenting RAD rages on film? Ya, I gotta go with holding therapy on this one.

I know that this was one small piece of their lives that was displayed on film. I am sure there were things they have done that didn’t make the story. I don’t have the whole story. So I can not truly judge without knowing all the facts. But I am going to comment on what I did see. Because this story made me feel so much as I watched it.

As I watched last night I made the comment “those people think they can buy their kids love. listen to them complain how all the lessons they’ve put the kids in and all the things they’ve bought them and how the modeling contract they got them didn’t make them happy!”. It bothered me so, so much that they were baffled while all these THINGS didn’t make their daughter happy, didn’t make her love them. I was nearly shouting at the tv “how about a hug? how about sitting down and talking to her? how about sitting and letting her talk and just listening?”. Then the girl went to camp. People talked to her. People listened to her. She didn’t have things given to her, she worked and she lived in sparse conditions, she talked, she played, she lived! Oh… and she smiled. Let’s not forget that. And then she said the thing that made me shout “yes! you tell ’em girl!” She said that her parents tried to buy her love! I hope they listened and learned. I really, really do. (this is going to lead to a whole other post on how adoptive parents often make this mistake)

I don’t really want to judge this family on their basic parenting skills. I want to keep this focused on how they were ill prepared to deal with RAD. And they were ill prepared. They had no idea what it was or how to deal with it. I think all adoption agencies should require families to take classes on things like this before they can adopt. ok, where was i? oh, ya…  I just have to make a small comment here that is more about their parenting skills. Did you see the way that 12yo little girl was dressed? Did you see how much makeup she had on?  Shy, who is 14, made the comment “that little girl looks like a hoochie“. Yes honey, yes she does. “why would her mom let her dress like that?” Let her? honey, who do you think bought her those clothes and that makeup?

Ok, back to the real comments. I believe this show was meant to inform people about RAD. Most people are not aware of the many issues that children who are available for adoption can have. It is important to educate people on this. No one should enter into adoption without being aware of these possibilities. I just don’t think that this particular story, this particular family, was the right choice for this. I also do not think it is fair that this story singled out international adoption. Look in the US foster care system. You will find many kids with RAD and PTSD there as well. It is the life the children have lived. It is the poor parenting they have had to endure in their young lives. Those are the factors that have led to their issues. Not the country they come from.

If someone is considering adoption I pray that they do study all possibilities. Look into things like RAD, PTSD, SPD and a hundred other possibilities. Know that there is a chance that any child could have one or more of these issues. Make an informed decision. Know what resources are available to you if your child does happen to have any of these issues. But, most of all remember one thing. Behind all the diagnosis, this is a child. A hurt, scared child who although they have no idea how to be loved… needs to be loved!


edited to add:

I wanted to make it clear that it is not my intention to “bash” the mulligan family with this post. I do feel they made some mistakes and felt that it would benefit other families who may be facing RAD to point them out. I also believe they made some good choices. I think they realized that they didn’t really know how to help their daughter and sought some help in finding it. Also, it took real courage to open themselves up to critcism in order to make people aware of RAD. For all that I want to say that I have a great deal of respect for the efforts they are now making.

Jen at Live and In Color tagged me to do the six favorite things meme. I thought that since it’s Thanksgiving time (well, it was yesterday but still a time of giving thanks) that I would make this a 6 things I am thankful for becuase they make me happy. It’s all the same thing anyway, right? Oh, and I am not going to list family because it’s too obvious that they are my #1 make me happy/thankful for thing in my life.

Here are the rules:

  • List six things that make you happy
  • Pass the award on to 5 other bloggers
  • Link back to the person who gave you the award
  • Link to the people you’ve passed it on to and comment to let them know

1) Blogging. May sound silly, but blogging helps me sort through my feelings and has helped me to make a lot of good friends. So, yes blogging makes me happy and I am very thankful for it.

2) Reading. There is nothing like getting lost in a good book.

3) Movie night. The kids and I often pile blankets and pillows on the floor, pop some popcorn and toss in some M&M’s so they get melty in the hot popcorn, then snuggle up and watch a dvd. Awesome!

4) Chai Latte. I can’t stand coffee but I love a nice cup of chai. It’s warm, tasty and relaxing.

5) Nursery Rhyme Time at the library. Ok, this one really makes Meechi happy, but that 20 minutes of him singing, dancing and having fun… well, I am certainly thankful for that time and it makes me happy to watch him.

6) Bedtime. As much as I love my kids, I also enjoy having an hour or two of peace and quiet and time to myself after they go to bed.

I am tagging JenE, Robin, and Chel. Ya, I know that’s not 5 but it’ll have to do, most people have done this one already.

{November 27, 2008}   Happy Thanksgiving


May your stuffing be tasty

May your turkey plump,

May your potatoes and gravy

Have never a lump.

May your yams be delicious

And your pies take the prize,

And may your Thanksgiving dinner

Stay off your thighs!


Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

This month families all across the country are advocating for adoption. ABC is taking a different approach in this month of adoption awareness. They are trying to scare people out of adopting. Outrage over their upcoming story is mounting through the adoption community. I am among the outraged.

Watch this video promoting their upcoming story to see why.

RADD is a very real diagnosis for many adopted children, from both international and domestic adoption. However, they way ABC has chosen to showcase this disorder is appalling. RADD is something that can happen to a child who has neglected or treated poorly, or simply has lost trust in the adults in their life. Many orphans have good reason to feel all of those things. What these children need is love and understanding. What they need is a family with patience and a caring heart to help them heal. To help them overcome their fears and the neglect they have suffered in life. What they do not need is cameras following them around when they are already terrified and upset!!!

I will save judgement on the couple in this video until I have seen the full story. I doubt however, that it will make me feel any better about them. I don’t understand how they could possibly think it is a good thing for these young girls (girls that are now their daughters and are supposed to be getting love and support from their new parents) to have strangers come into their home and follow them around. Trust issues?!? Hell, yes these little girls should have some trust issues! Would you trust someone who asked strangers to come follow your every move and record it? Especially when the girls are so newly arrived to America. The video said they had been home just over a week. I am not sure if that meant that is how long they were here when they started to show signs of RADD or if that is how long they were here when they started filming them… but it bothers me either way that instead of comforting these girls, they decided to put them on display. And when I saw that so-called father drag that little girl out from under the bed………  *#(@&$&@$(&$)(*&#@!!!!!   Oh, right, I’m saving judgement on them. forgot about that for a second.

Please watch the video and share your thoughts with me.

and if you feel like it, send a little email off to ABC news

 http://abcnews. page?id=3271346& cat=20/20

{November 26, 2008}   Ridez Photos

I wanted to share some photos of Bucky making his Ridez. He had such a great time building it. Of course Meechi was totally interested in what he was doing. He wanted a Ridez of his own I think. I am thinking that I could get him one, and have Bucky build it. I think at age 3 he will be a bit young for the rc version, but the freestlye would be great for him.







Don’t forget… you have until January 4, 2009 to use coupon code 93458 at to get $10 off a purchase of $30 or more.

{November 25, 2008}   A Very Good, Really Nice Day

Yesterday I had such a great day with Meechi. We read books, we played outside for an hour (weather was nice for this time of year) without encountering any dogs, we read books without having to read EVERY book we own, and he even ate after a near 2 week hunger strike. Ya, it was a great day! If you want to know more about the hunger strike or what the big deal about dogs is, you can read about all that at Life With Meechi.

But for now, enjoy these photos of our wonderful day.




{November 25, 2008}   Tips For Black Friday Shopping

I don’t know about you, but I love to hit the Black Friday sales. I am not normally a morning person so it’s not easy to get myself out of bed in what is essentially still the middle of the night. Once I am up though, the excitement kicks in and I am ready to go.

Normally I go with my sister. I sleep at her house. We live on opposite ends of town and if I had to drive to her house, then I would have to get up even earlier. That’s not happening. So, the kids and I just crash over there Thanksgiving night. We get up around 3:30 and bundle up in warm clothes, coats, hats, gloves and scarves. We load up her SUV with thermoses of hot chocolate and some snacks and hit the road.

We always spend part of Thanksgiving planning out our route. The first store we go to depends on different factors. First, there is the fact that different stores open at different times. Most often the earliest time is 5am, which means being in line by 4am. Another factor is the special offers. Some stores will offer a free gift or gift card for the first shoppers through the door. If there is a special offer we can’t pass up on, then we will make that our first story, but ONLY if they have items that we want to buy. We won’t risk missing out on getting something we really want at a great price by not getting to it fast enough. Generally, we end up going to the same stores, in the same order each year.

Most often our first store is Walmart. There is a good reason for this, and I’ll share it with you. First of all, Walmart is open 24hours (at least it is around here). So, we can actually get in the store and wait where it is warm instead of outside in the cold. Walmart starts it’s BF sale at 5am, so it is one of the earliest. They rope off the items that are part of the BF sale, but you can wander the store and look around to see where they items you want are located. They do not keep things in their normal place, they set up huge displays in the aisles. It’s simply a matter of finding the right aisle. Or if you want electronics, getting in line to get to the electronics department, which they do close off until 5am. Another reason we start at Walmart, and this is the BIG reason, is that they price match. So, if you have an ad from one of the other stores and Walmart has that exact same item, you can get it at the competitor’s sale price by showing the ad. We do this a lot for some things that Best Buy has on sale, especially cd’s. We don’t go anywhere near Best Buy on Black Friday. That place is a warzone, and we want no part of that mess! Also, it is good for things at Toys R Us as well. Walmart does not have everything that TRU has, but you can find many of them there. Let’s face it, TRU is one more place that is going to be a warzone!

Kohl’s is right across the street from Walmart so we usually go there next, and because they don’t open until 6, we wait in line and get in early on that sale as well. It continues on like that. We go to the stores in order as we come to them while driving down the street. It sets a good pace and flows well this way. Be aware of where stores are located in relation to each other in order to be more efficient!

Another thing that helps us is that my brother in law always comes with us. He’s our driver. 😉 He will drop us off at the door so we don’t have to worry about parking. Once he finds a spot, he will join us in line.

We always make sure we have all the adds with us in case we forget something or have time or money left and decide to hit a store not on our original plan. Also, we need the ads for price matching at the stores that will do that.  Of course it’s a good idea to make a list of all items you want, which store they are at, and how much they cost. Have a back up plan though. If you miss something at one store, you can try to get it at the next best price that another store is offering.

This year, I had a chance to get sneak peek at the Black Friday ads. (more on that in a moment) I am actually considering going to Toys R Us this year. Scary… I know! That was the number one reason for my trip there on Sunday. I looked around and found where they put the things I want. So many stores will build huge displays of their BF sales items rather then keep them in their original place in an aisle. You can do this at TRU, walmart, Kohl’s… practically any store. If you walk through you will find big displays, and you can pretty much bet that those items will be in their BF sale!

So, how did I get a sneek peek? There are websites that list them, that’s how. My fave is Black Friday Info. They list by store or by category. They have a search option, so you can try to find a certain item and see all the stores offering that item on sale. Also, you can view a store’s sales by product listing (just the names of the items), product images (photos of the sale items), or by ad scan (a scanned copy of the actual ad). My favorite feature is that you can add things to your list by the simple click of a button. Now, I can simply print my list and be ready for Friday.

I did notice while wandering through TRU that there were items set up for the sale that are not listed on the Black Friday Info site, so I don’t think they have a complete list. Still, it helps me get a plan in place.

If you’re planning to go shopping on Black Friday, I wish you good luck in getting in on all the deals and happy napping that afternoon!

{November 24, 2008}   Just Let Me Do It!

See that title up there? That is what I wanted to shout at my husband today. He went out for coffee and came home with Christmas presents. Doesn’t sound like a problem does it? Ya, well it was.

You see, I went shopping for coats for the kids the other day and while we were at Gordman’s the kids saw some thigns they wanted. Shy has been wanting a keyboard and they had a pretty nice one for a decent price. As she was looking at it, Bucky saw a drum pad thing and he wanted it. Since I was struggling with finding stuff for him it was perfect that he pointed something out. Of course Shy and Bucky didn’t want Meechi left out of their little band and they saw a toy guiter that would be perfect for him. Naturally, I told the hubby about all this later and we planned to go back and get all this for the kids.

Well…. today while going for coffee, he decided to go to Gordman’s himself. He came home with Shy’s keyboard, no drum pad and an Elmo guitar. Elmo? Really? Yuck! I did not want to get Meechi a baby guitar. I wanted something that looked real so he would feel like he was actually doing what the big kids were doing. (sigh) When I asked about the drum pad he said he didn’t find it. I asked him where he looked. In the toy section was his answer. That is another reason why I wanted to go get this stuff. It wasn’t in the toy section. It was on a display table near little girl’s clothes.

This isn’t the first time he’s taken it upon himself to shop for something I wanted to buy myself. Last year I wanted to get Meechi the Fisher Price farm. Hank said he would pick it up for me since I had to work and he was on 2nd shift at the time. I said ok and trusted him to get what I wanted. He came home with the Fisher Price zoo. No, he didn’t get confused at the difference between a farm and a zoo. Once he got to the store he decided he liked the zoo better, so that’s what he bought. Never mind the fact that I had already picked out the farm. He had already picked most of Meechi’s gifts, and that one was supposed to be one that I got to pick out. grrrr!

So did I shout at him? No. I simply said “oh, that’s cute” to the stupid guitar. Then I drug him across town to Toys R Us and got Bucky a drum pad there. I wanted to look at the store and find out where they were putting all the stuff that’s going to be on sale on Black Friday anyway. I need to know exactly where to find what I need at 5am Friday. The drum pad we got Buck was $15 cheaper than the one I was going to get him. It only has 5 pads instead of 8, but I think it’s fine and he’ll like it. We also got him a skateboard. It’s pretty cool. I was going to get him one that going to be on sale on Friday (ya, i got sneak peek at the ad, more on that in my next post). I looked at them and they were ok, but then I found this one and it was too cool to resist. It comes with 2 different decks and 2 sets of wheels so he actually will build it himself and can change out the deck or wheels whenever he wants.

I think from now on, when I find something I want to get the kids I will keep it to myself and just go get it on my own.

et cetera