Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Calling All RAD parents!!!!

The Sweeney Seven has become the The Sweeney Six since baby Trinity went back to her birthfather on Halloween. I, of course, don't want to change the title because I know that we will be seven again. My son won a goldfish at his fall festival, I considered counting it as the seventh member, but the fish died on Nov. 1. So much for that idea!

I am asking for advice on this post from friends and strangers in cyberspace that know what I'm talking about when I say RAD parents or refer to a child as a radish. Of course supportive comments from others are always welcome, but if you don't know about RAD, then you don't know that these kids are different than other kids.

Today is the sixth birthday of our first foster child. We had her in our home for 15 months and then she was reunited with her birthmom a few weeks before her 4th birthday. She spent the better part of the last two years living on the streets and perfecting her street smart, manipulative skills. She was placed back in foster care early this summer following her mother's shoplifting arrest at Kroger. One of the hardest emotions I've ever felt was the saddness of not being able to bring my little girl (I do consider her my little girl) back into our home. She is older than Landon by a few months making her the role-model. Some role-model (RAD and Bipolar!). Our brains overruled our hearts this time. She would not be a good mix with a five, three, not quite 2, 6 month old (Trinity), and a 3 week old! It hurt because she told her psychiatrist that she didn't care if mommy went to jail because she was going to live with the Sweeney's. It hurt because I know how much progress we made, and how much progress was undone in those two years. It hurt because I LOVE this little girl. She is in her second foster home from this removal. We got an e-mail earlier this week and phone call today telling us that her "goal" has been changed to adoption. I celebrate this because she needs permanency. OK, so here it comes:

Her birthmom has stated that she would sign over rights with no fight if she came back to our home. She also stated that she wishes she would have let her stay with us in the first place. This is the statement that makes me so mad!!!! If she wasn't reunited, then she WOULD still be with us and she would have been adopted already. NO QUESTION. I also get mad because that statement almost sounds manipulative towards us, as if she is trying to guilt us in to this. I am mad because an additional two years of who-knows-what kind of trauma has been placed on this little girl AND I wasn't able to protect her. I am mad because my brain (and hubby's brain) keeps telling me that there is no way. That it is not fair to my other babies. We are only days away from getting our "official" RAD dx on Annie. Can we handle 2 Radishes? I am MAD because we haven't seen her in two years so how can we make a decision like this. I am MAD because I feel like doing "respite" for a couple of week-ends would give her false hope. I am MAD!

So what do I do? Pray, of course. Call my husband. Pray some more. Then I start reading blogs from Raddish families. They are so inspiring. It is great to know that there are families out there that know what it can be like. Raddish mom's, how do you make the choice?

Saturday, December 13, 2008


There is no rhyme or reason to this post. I'm just experimenting with Picassa Web Albums. I've been in the process of uploading all my pictures. I have an instinctive feeling that my computer is about to crash and I don't have backups. This has been some job. I've used all my available storage space. Now I've opened my husband a google account just for picture storage on Picassa.' The link above (if it works) is from October 30th. It was our last afternoon with Trinity before she went home. I was trying to get some good pictures, but it is quite the challenge to get mobile infants to cooperate for the camera. Oh well.

Thanks for the comments on my previous posts. God HAS blessed us with an awesome gift. We feel that our family is our mission field. We are never offended by questions that people ask. We feel that God has put us in this position to help others with their own personal struggles with infertility. We've been there.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

multimedia-transracial adoption

It's been a while since I've posted. I'm still new at this blog thing, so I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to write about, but I do want to share this link. We have had the honor of helping a WKU student with her photojournalism project. Click on the link. Click on multimedia. Click on Colorblind. I just viewed it for the first time myself. I think she did an outstanding job. Maybe Extreme Makeover Home Edition can come and work on our bedroom for a mini-makeover.--lol.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Well, yesterday was the day that Trinity's daddy got to take her home for good. We made sure that we enjoyed every minute with her this last week. We even forced her to stay awake a little later each night so we could spend more time with her. I (mommy) had a very hard time being strong about this in front of my children. When they went to bed, I cried rivers. I was beginning to worry. If I was taking it this hard with her still here, what would I be like when she left? Amazingly, I haven't cried since I said goodbye to her at daycare yesterday afternoon after the Halloween parties. I told her to be good for her daddy and she just giggled. She such a "with it" 11 month old.
People ask us all the time how we do this. The question has several meanings. Sometimes they are referring to parenting a more than the national average of children so close in age. The answer to that question is teamwork. My husband and I are a team. Our strengths compliment each other. Our relationship has to come first. We are the rock of our home. Jesus is the rock of our marriage. Our children rotate around us. We are not superhuman. We get frustrated and are not always rational. My oldest two children are grounded from ketchup for Pete's sake! I'm tired of the stains!
Sometimes they are referring to letting a little one go home. Our answer to that is, "We don't know." Trinity leaving us has made us question our calling. Will we foster many more children? Is the heartache worth it? Let me just say that this is the hardest thing that I can ever remember doing. When we brought that little girl home, she was three weeks old and had spent that time in the NICU with only 2 visitors on record. We knew that she would probably not be a permanent placement. She couldn't afford for us to put a protective wall up to protect ourselves. We know too much about attachment to know how important it is for a infant to have a bond with a caregiver. I was as bonded with her the first time that looked at her eyes as I was when I held my oldest son for the first time. As far as I am concerned, I became Mommy that day. I am confident that our efforts have made this little girl capable of giving and receiving love. People outside of the adoption/foster world have no idea how important that skill actually is. So yes, our efforts were worth everybit heartache and tears that we felt this week.
How do we do it? When I look at my oldest son, Landon, run, play, and laugh; I think of his life in South Korea. So many people think that all children adopted from overseas are in orphanages. That is not the case. A wonderful Korean foster mother took my little boy home from the hospital. She loved him, rocked him, clothed him, sang to him, and taught him how to love and to be loved. When he was six months old, she put him on an airplane to fly across the world. She will never get to see him again. He is the most caring, compassionate, 5 year old boy that I've ever met. I am so grateful to her. If she could do that for my boy, then we can do that for other babies. We will heal. A child with attachment disorder may not heal.

Some people ask the question with a hidden meaning. They are really just trying to tell us that we are nuts. We'll we know that, but quite frankly, what's the point in telling us. Please, keep that implication to yourself. We are a strong family, but this is a very tough time for us. People have said that we knew what we were getting into so we shouldn't get upset. Fooey on them. Of course we are upset. We love that little girl. They are the same people that bad mouth the foster parents that treat foster kids like foster kids and not birth children. Then they criticize us for showing no difference. Again, fooey on them.
Novemeber is National Adoption Awareness Month! Wear a white ribbon to support adoption!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our family is in a time of transition. We are preparing to send our 11 month old home to her birth family for good this week-end. We have been expecting this and preparing for this, but we are not prepared. My children are struggling to understand why we "can't just adopt her" so she can stay. Chris and I know that we are following God's plan as foster parents. This, however, is a major challenge. We've had this little squirt since she was a whopping 4 pounds when she was discharged from the NICU at three weeks old. She is leaving us a week and a half before her first birthday. She is the most amazing baby. She is always happy, and can brighten a room like no other child has ever done before. Our prayer is for her father. He will be raising her 20 month old brother and her as a single dad. We pray for his support system to be ready when he needs it. We pray that he does not fall into the Prideful trap that so many people fall into. We pray that he will be willing to ask someone for help if he needs it. It is HARD to be a single father. There is no shame in needing a hand. Please pray with us that he understands this.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Sweeney Seven

Yes, I know this is only six of us. Sadly, child number 4 is returning to her birth family in November. She is a foster child, and her birth family has parental rights. Therefore, without parental consent, I do not want to post her picture on the web. Pictured here is Mommy, Daddy, and children #1, 2, 3, and 5. AKA: Brittney, Chris, Landon, Annie, Luke, and Chloe Beth.
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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Who Are We?

We are just your typical, everyday, multicultural family of seven in Bowling Green, KY. Be patient with me as I learn to blog, and maybe will I be able to let you peek into a day or two of our life!