Friday, December 30, 2011

Being nice is so hard to do sometimes

I have received an email from my kids birthmom.  She wants to see "her kids" and she wants to give "her kids" gifts and she "loves her kids" so much.

I have tried to explain to her, via email, that at this time (10 & 7), the kids really don't need to go and see her.  Big Daddy and I feel like they are too young and the scars are still too fresh for a visit.  It has been almost 5 yrs.  She has emailed maybe twice in that time.  Each time, I get the same requests.

Before, I have been nice and today, I was hopefully nice, but I was very to the point.  I called.  I did, I called her.  I had no intention of calling her and I did.  She seemed surprised that I called, which she should be and she was hesitant to say that I was the kids mother to whomever was with her.  I understand that, as well.  It is hard to explain to someone, that you lost your kids and then the bombarding of questions that usually follow.  I know, I've lost 2 children that we were going to is hard.

She asked general questions about how they were and how they were doing, in school.  She wanted to know what they were "in too" and asked if she could give them a gift.  I explained that they didn't need anything, but if she wanted too, she could buy them something small and we could arrange for me to meet her and I would pick them up.

Then, it happened....I let it out.  I told her about the PTSD and the RAD.  I told her of the struggles and the demons that Gigi deals with.  She seemed sympathetic, but didn't understand that the anger was aimed at her, as much as the actually abuser.  She denied EVERYTHING.  Stated that she did nothing wrong and if she had been present during the abuse, that she would've stopped it.  

Uhmmm....I told her that since I wasn't there, that I could only walk through what was written down in her book (ie the birthmom's testimony over the last 3 yrs and every other person that testified to the same thing stating that she was, indeed, present during the abuse by the abuser).  It didn't seem to "stick".  I really really wanted to say a whole lot more, but refrained.  I simply got off the phone.  Maybe that was a mistake, in calling, but I do have a heart and I do know how it feels to lose children and I do know how it feels to be away from them for an extended period of time.

I can never take away the fact that she is their biological mother.  I never want to do that.  I want, someday, for forgiveness to pass through us all and for the children to move on without fear.  I do want them to remember the good times, though my son doesn't remember her, at all. I don't my daughter to focus on the bad, but I can't erase the memories.  I can't make the scars go away.  They will always be there.  

My simple prayer is for birthmom to move on and have a successful, productive life.  I pray for my children to heal from the abuse and neglect.  I pray for forgiveness to permeate our family and I will remain thankful that justice, though small, was served.  

Loss and grief will always be a part of our lives.  It is part of the foster care system.  It is part of adoption through foster care.  No matter how old the child/ren are when they come into your home.  It is a part of life and a part of what we deal with, on a daily basis.

It is hard.  Everyday is hard.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Parenting a child/ren with RAD

I despise this.  Absolutely 100% despise this.  

It is the hardest thing to deal with, for me, as a person, as a mom.  

There is not enough education on it and those around you, when you state that your child/ren have RAD, they jump to "reactive airway disease".  Which is real and 3 out of my 6 children have that too.

There is no medication.

There are not many "professionals" on the matter.

It is sleeping on a cloud, in a quiet place and then opening the doors to the inferno of hell.

A sleeping dragon.

The "signs" or "symptoms" of RAD (we have all those that are in red):

1 Is unable to give and receive love 
2 Is oppositional, argumentative, defiant  
3 Is emotionally phony, hollow or empty 
4 Is manipulative or controlling 
5 Has frequent or intense angry outbursts   
6 Is an angry child inside 
7 Unable to cry about something sad 
8 Avoids or resists physical closeness and touch 
9 Cannot be trusted
10 Has little or no conscience 
11 Is superficially engaging and charming  
12 Lack of eye contact on parental terms 
13 Indiscriminately affectionate on parents’ terms 
14 Not affectionate on parents’ terms  
15 Destructive to self, others, and property 
16 More disobedient toward mom than dad  
17 Cruel to animals 
18 Steals  
19 Lies about the obvious (crazy lying) 
20 Is impulsive or hyperactive 
21 Lacks cause and effect thinking 
22 Gorges or hoards food 
23 Has poor peer relationships 
24 Preoccupation with fire, blood, or violence 
25 Persistent nonsense questions or incessant chatter 
26 Inappropriately demanding and clingy 
27 Sexual acting out 
28 Bossy with peers 

So, as you can see.....we pretty much have them all.  We are thankful that a few, that I did not highlight, have been resolved, over time.  We, at one point, had them all :/  

Our RADish has been with us since she was, newly, 6.  She will be 11 in Feb, so over the last few years, we have been able to "un"highlight some things.  For that, I am sincerely grateful.

As for the rest......*sigh* has been hard.  It is hard to have 3 "normal" kids (I use that VERY loosely LOL), 1 that is new to America and has lived in an orphanage for most of his life, 1 that is reminding me A LOT of our 10 yr. old RADish and then our RADish.  My parenting style is more of an "oh crap, which child am I dealing with and which hat do I need to wear".

It is almost too much to bear.  I have horrible thoughts of "if I had only known, would I have chosen to parent her?"  I didn't know.  If it was known, then it wasn't divulged to us.  We knew something was wrong, but we thought that the trauma of being in foster care for so long and having no stability was it.  We thought we could "love" her out of her issues.  

The fact of the matter is, we can not love her out of it.  It is what afflicts her.  It doesn't define her, though.  That is a distinction that I have a hard time to make. I tend to hold onto to things.  I have tried to parent her like I parent my other children.  That doesn't work, nor will it ever work.  She isn't the same as the other children.  Plain and simple.  She isn't the same.  What works for kid #1 doesn't work for kid #6.  What works for kid #3 doesn't work for kid #4.  I have to parent each of them a bit differently, but, on the other hand, I must love them all the same.  

Love, that is a struggle, as well.  I have moments when I simple don't like her or want to be around her.  Then, I feel guilty for feeling like that.  I have moments where I just want peace and until she is 18 and out on her own, we will never have peace.  Then, I feel guilty.  I do things, say things that I don't mean, but they come out of me.  Then, I feel guilty.

I have been told that love is not a feeling, is a choice.  I must choose to love her.  Regardless of if I knew what her "issues" were, God entrusted her to me.  He chose me to parent her.  Why, I have no idea...why did he choose me to parent the other 5 children?  He chose me.

I struggle, on a daily basis.  I wish I could find the magic cure.  I wish I could snap my fingers and live in the land of normalcy.  I wish she could be "normal".  I am scared for her future and for her future choices.  I am scared for my sanity.  I am scared for my other children and for my marriage.  Raising a RADish affects EVERY aspect of your life.  Every.single.aspect.

I have stumbled across a blog I am reading it, comprehending it, soaking it in and hoping to glean from it.  We shall see.

Until then, I pray.  I pray for the love that the Lord has bestowed on me, I will bestow on her.  I pray that I can let go of the past, not focus on the future and live in the present.  I pray that I can focus on the TODAY and how was she TODAY, on what she did yesterday.  I pray that I can relearn to discipline her, effectively.

Blessings to those who struggle with me, who walk down this miserable path of RAD and who choose to take the road less traveled by parenting one of these kiddoes.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


These boys are going to drive me insane!  I asked Abinet if it was his goal to make me crazy and he laughed and said "yes"!

Between the broken door (which Big Daddy fixed), the multitude of locked doors (which he is fascinated with), the endless fun with the dogs, the new adoration with the cats and the wrestling that NEVER.EVER.STOPS.

I need a coke....a big one.  

So blessed to hear all my kids laugh and play, together.  Blessed to be going through pictures of our time in Ethiopia and having him oooh and aaah over them.  I'm so thankful that he isn't sad.  Heck, he doesn't have time to be sad.  He is CONSTANTLY moving....every single moment of every single day HE IS MOVING.

Blessed that our journey is over, he is safe in our home, he is healthy, happy and wild.

To God be all the glory because He is the one who brought all my children to us.  We are forever in awe of His Awesomeness!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

....and then there were the monkeys....

There is a the middle of nowhere, that was beautiful (I use that word, a lot, to describe the parts of Africa because it is ALL beautiful and no other word describes it).  There is dirt, mountains, sugar cane growing and then there is a gated area, where you can't have glass bottles or food.  You pay your fee and enter this garden of Eden.  Betty told us to hold onto our bags of bananas, tightly, because the monkeys would grab the bags and run.  Uhm, okay.  The only monkeys I have ever seen have been in a zoo and the shock and awe of seeing baboons, on the side of the road, was enough of a thrill.

Little did I know.

We got out of the van and were armed with a bag of bananas.  We were instructed to break them in half and be prepared.  Uhm, okay.  Then, there was Betty.  I wish I could've gotten a picture of her sitting on the sidewalk with her twig.  I asked her why she was sitting there, with a twig and she simply stated that she didn't like the monkeys and the twig was to fend them off.  Okay, again :)  I couldn't imagine what we were going to be around, but if she had a twig, it couldn't be too bad.

Then she said "they are coming".  I looked up and  There were monkeys everywhere!  Giant ones, bitty ones and medium ones.  There was one GIANT male monkey and Betty asked me (while the monkey was sitting behind her) if I knew the difference between a boy and a girl monkey.  Well, having been married for a while and having 3 sons, I told her that the boys had testicles and the girls didn't.  She laughed and said "yes, they do have testicles and they are blue."  I turned to see the GIANT monkey and his balls are totally blue.  Like they were dipped in kool-aid.  We laughed and laughed.  Then she shooed the monkey away with her twig.  

We had the most fun.  The monkeys loved to eat and were thrilled that a bunch of people were there to feed them.  We got some great videos and some great memories of Betty and her twig.  

Also, Betty and I talked about how I could help with Hope Arising and how I could make a difference in the lives of these children.  Hopefully, my big mouth will help raise awareness and money for these families.

Look closely and you can see this is a boy :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dhera: Part 3

The next family that we visited was a mentally handicapped mom, dad (who was at work) and a baby, who was pretty sick.  

That baby didn't like me one.little.bit LOL  Mama did, though, isn't she pretty!

Another family was a mom of 4.   The mom, is in the center.  She is standing in front of a wood "table" with a giant bucket on top.  The bucket is filled with water and there is a spout, on the bottom, where rubber hoses are connected to it.  The houses are placed on the ground, in each row of vegetables.  That is the new irrigation system to help get water to all the plants and to be successful in their crops.  The more grown, the more to eat, the more to sell for money for things that they may need.  What a wonderful thing these people are being taught.

This pretty, young lady, is a single mom with a child about 2, maybe.  She is HIV positive and she never stops working.  Her garden was beautiful!  Her house was clean, there was a calf, that looked really good and a ton of hay stock piled for it.  She had saved the manure patties for fertilizer and wow...can this girl work circles around me.  Did you see her garden?  WOW.  Thanks to Hope Arising for supplying her with money to buy her calf and begin her garden to help feed her son.  

Our day didn't stop, here.  Once we were done looking at all the wonderful things that Hope Arising is doing and loving on all the children that came our way...we were off, again, to Woudneh's mom and dad's house.  Not too sure what to expect shall be in the next post!


What he knew and what he have learned

What he knew

  • to eat with a fork/spoon
  • to chew with your mouth closed
  • to lift the seat when using the bathroom
  • the alphabet
  • counting to 20 and up with help
  • the days of the week
  • the months of the year (minus September for some reason)
  • naps are for champions
What he learned

  • Boo is hysterical
  • that seatbelts won't always make you vomit
  • that mommy is loud, especially when singing
  • that daddy's tummy makes a good pillow for a nap
  • dogs won't eat you
  • cats are satan's spawn
  • you can't run away from mommy in a store
  • Just Dance for the wii is pretty fun
  • How to vacuum
  • lying doesn't pay off
  • how to lock doors
  • snuggling is pretty awesome

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dhera: Part 2

The next place, we stopped at, was an older lady.  I'm not sure if she lived alone, or not, but she was GORGEOUS!  You could see the story of her life in her face.  I wish I had a picture that would do her justice, but nothing could do her justice.

Hope Arising had given her some money, to buy an animal and begin her garden, which is an irrigation type garden.  I will explain the whole garden thing, using another picture that better explains how this system works.  Her garden looked nice, but not as nice as some of the ones that we saw.

Betty told me, when we walked in, to watch where we step and as we walked through her house, there was obviously a goat nearby that enjoyed sleeping in the bedroom.  It was a 2 bedroom mud house and in the back was a place where the goat was supposed to be staying.  The goat listened as much as a regular kid would LOL.

This is where we started becoming a side show.  Behind me, was a fence covered in vines and through the fence, I saw a precious set of eyes.  There was a sweet sweet little boy there, staring at me.  Then, more came and more.  They didn't want anything, simply to look and follow us.

These are some pictures taken while walking down the road....thanks to the Bambricks for taking pics when our camera died!

These were some of our followers. Are they NOT the sweetest kiddoes ever!

Betty and I walking down the street.

I asked Betty, as we were stepping out of the van, why she brought me here.  This is not what I expected.  I'm not sure what I expected.  She simply said that she wanted me to experience all of Africa and that, Addis was way different then other parts.  She wanted me to see the "real" picture of life, here in this beautiful country.  Such poverty, kids and adults with no shoes, tattered clothes, riddled with bald spots, bloated stomachs and GIANT smiles!  So happy, so content with life.  They didn't have doors on their homes, no light, no windows. The love, of these people, touched my heart do deeply that I can't even begin to imagine what the Lord will want me to do there.  Raise awareness?  Perhaps. Raise money?  Perhaps.  Go and build?  Perhaps.  I don't know, I just know that there is no where like this place and I'm forever grateful to Betty for bringing me here. 

There are other families that I will posting about, but for now, this is all.  I have kids to tend too.  I can honestly say, that the "honeymoon" is over LOL and I have to deal with chaos.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 5: Dhera Part 1

Tuesday, December 5

This is a day that I will NEVER forget.  I have put off blogging about this because it was a very personal journey for me. One that is etched in my heart and mind, forever.  The images, the and sadness wrapped up into one.

We were greeted, by Abinet, first thing in the morning.  Such a sweet way to wake up.  We got up, got dressed and headed down to breakfast.  Abinet had another drs appt, for his physical...the day prior was just for his TB skin test.  We knew he would be gone, all day, so we didn't hesitate to say yes to Betty in taking us to Dhera.

These are some of the landscape pictures on the way to Dhera.

There were a boat load of these little contraptions.....I must say, I want one in bright yellow!

Dhera is about 2 hrs away from Addis, but the drive wasn't too bad.  The weather was gorgeous and the traffic was lighter than usual.  The people, who had come for George W was now gone (praise God).  The scenery, along the trip was amazing.  In the fields, you could see people laying down, some people were working, but there were people peppered everywhere.  In lieu of other drivers, there were masses of cattle. Just standing the road.  Some sheep herds and herders, a few donkeys and a couple of horses.  This has been the most livestock we had seen. 

This lovely man wanted his picture made in lieu of a pack of crackers.

As we were driving down the road to Dhera...Aschu pulled over and there were Baboons on the side of the road...just sitting there, minding their own business.  Baboons!  Like, not in the zoo!  It was fantastic!

This is another way to haul sheep.  There were wooden bars across the bed of the truck and the sheep were straddling the bars.

There were several horse and "buggies" hauling everything from tons of people, to bails of hay to water bottles.

This is the market at Dhera

Betty works for an organization called Hope Arising (please visit their site at for information on how you can provide for one person 2 meals a day for a whole month for only $20).  Anyway, Betty wanted us to see what these families have accomplished through the help of Hope Arising. 

The first family, was of 2 beautiful girls, 14 & 10.  They lived alone because their father had died.  Hope Arising came in and built them a room (made of mud) off the back of their little shanty house.  The girls didn't feel safe with sleeping so close to the main road where anyone could come in.  Now, they can rest easy.  These pretty girls make coffee mats for the coffee ceremonies.

These girls touched my heart.  They are the same age as 2 of my girls.  I look at my kids and I try and put them in the same situation as these sweet beauties.  It saddens my heart to know that they are all alone, in this world.  They have no family to depend on, no one but each other.  One girl could possibly be placed for adoption, but the adoption of older kids is very very difficult.  Everyone wants a baby or "youngest as possible".  I've never been that person.  Maybe it is because God blessed us with biological children, I don't know.  I just know that these girls would thrive and be a joy to any family willing to step out of their comfort zone and choose the blessing of adoption of older children.

This is their bedroom...completely with girly-girl comfortable and pictures of boys LOL

Is she not beautiful!  For $20 a day, you can make sure she eats 2 meals every day for a month!

This is the other girl and a neighbor boy...he was EDIBLE!

This is the "alley" where you get to the girls room.

Remember, go to and see how you can help these girls or other people in the same situation as these precious beauties!  If you are interested in adoption, please email me at and I will be more than thrilled to talk with you.  Give hope to a child/ren.  

If you are a believer, you were adopted into the family of Jesus.  Adoption is talked about in Scripture.  It isn't for everyone.  Believe me, I know that too.  You may not be called to adopt, but you are commanded to do something.  Don't eat out one day a week, save that money and then use it to feed children and families who have nothing.  $20/mth will feed one person 2 meals a day!  Please prayerfully consider what you can do to further the Kingdom of Christ.