Saturday, September 5, 2009

Seven Again!

We are once again THE SWEENEY SEVEN!!!!!!! I was at my daughter's psychiatrist appointment and my cell phone kept ringing. I kept pushing silent and never paid attention to the "private" number that popped up. Well, "private" number was social services, and they finally got a hold of my husband. He called the psychiatrist's office and told the receptionist that he needed to talk to me. SO, I got off the phone and told the doc that we needed to get her prescriction and go. I told Annie and Landon that we needed to get to daycare and get the little ones and then go get a new sister. Then, I looked at doc again and asked if he had any samples of Lexapro. :-) He did.

Anyway, we have a month old little girl that happens to be the half sister to both Chloe and Luke. More to come later......

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Update

Yes, I know that I need to take time and update on my family. We are so busy right now and I'm just plain exhausted. Today was the first day of school. The week before school starts always wears me out. Though I do have a lot of family/kiddo updates, that's not the purpose of this post. I just want to update on my last post. The other blogger found her friend. I don't know if anyone ended up reading her blog as a result of my post, but I'm very happy for her.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I found this blog last night: http://growinguplost.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/ive-made-a-deal-with-claudia/ I'm not sure how I stumbled upon it, but my sleep was greatly effected. This girl has led a life of living HELL on Earth. She has suffered abuse that most of us can't even grasp. She is an adult living with RAD. This blog is serving as a bit of therapy for her as she lets out some horrible memories and she tries to process her life. She had a childhood friend that shared many of her experiences. They haven't seen each other in 12 years. She wants anyone who reads her blog to link it on theirs. She is hoping that someone will know him. She has actually had a few leads, but they all stop. DO YOU KNOW CLAY O'CONNOR?

She has a friend that has helped her. Her friend is a Christian and has been trying to witness to her. She is open to learning more about Christianity. They have prayed about finding Clay and have a timeline. Regardless of how you feel about making deals with God, we know that HE can move mountains. If she finds him by Aug. 1, she will know without a doubt that God not only exists, but cares about her personally. Let's help her!!!

This is the describing information that she has provided:

*His name is obviously Richard Clay O’Connor, but he usually goes by Clay.
*He’s about 5′8″-5′10″ tall and between 25 and 30 years old.
*He had long blond hair that was shaved underneath as was the style back then.
*His dad, or the man he called dad owned a tattoo shop in Augusta.
*He had a foster mother he kept in touch with who was a cop for a very large teaching hospital
*He lived in Florida for a while (post foster care) with a family member that I think was his brother
*He also lived in Oklahoma for a while (post foster care)
*Worked at a KFC or Wendy's (cant remember which) way back when.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Luke!



Though Luke won't actually turn three until Aug. 1st, we had his birthday party on July 23. The pool that we belong to only does private parties on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We chose to to have it before his birthday instead of after because we wanted to do it before school started.


We had a lot of fun. We had a great turn out and all of my kids had friends at the party. Luke totally knew how to play the role. He sang right along with us during the "Happy Birthday" song. He told everyone else to close their eyes when he opened his presents. He wanted them to be surprised to. Luke's DI (Developmental Interventionist), Krista, knows him well. She brought the favorite gift -- a Black and Decker Leaf Blower. Luke will transition out of First Steps on Aug. 1st. We sure will miss Miss Krista.


My neighbor, Amy, took charge of my Cannon Rebel. My 6 year-old, Landon, took over my old Kodak Easy Share. Between the two of them, I had over 200 pictures of Luke's party. Below is a musical slide show of the night. Please watch to see how much fun we really had!!
video

Midday's Child Link Update

If you still want to view the Midday's Child post, you can. However, when you click on the link, it will take you to the latest news segment that WBKO wants to publish. You have to go through the pages and find the date 7/14/09 Midday's Child.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Midday's Child

Our local news channel does a segment on Wednesday afternoon called Midday's Child. It's purpose is to promote adoption and adoption awareness. This month, the segment focused on adoption success stories. Guess who the feature family was today!

Here is a link to the segment.

http://www.wbko.com/midday/misc/40420837.html

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Landon's End-of-Season Baseball Party

We were in Sandusky, Ohio until Friday morning. Landon had to be back in Bowling Green by 6:00 for the Hot Rods game. His coach had arranged for the players to get to go on the field to their positions during the National Anthem. HOW COOL!

Well, we made it to our driveway about 5:45. We ran inside to give Chloe a quick bath and change the kids' clothes. Then, we loaded back in the van and went to the stadium. The boys had a few photo-ops on the big ball field while they watched the Hot Rods stretch. They also enjoyed goofing off with Axle, the mascot.When it was time for the boys to run out on the field, Landon got tripped. oops. He fell flat on his face. Bless his heart, he tried to go on out there, but he felt blood running down his face. He ran to me, instead. (I happened to be on the field with my camera.) I didn't really know what to do. I had nothing on me, except my camera. It was either my shirt or his. I decided my shirt would be better. Luckily, the trainer spotted us before I got too bloody. He took us into the visiting teams dugout and got Landon cleaned up. He missed the National Anthem. You know, the reason we had a time schedule for getting back into town. I was crying in the dugout because I was so sad for Landon. The trainer was very nice, though. After the National Anthem, he took us to the Hot Rods dugout. Landon had his picture taken with one of the players and an autographed baseball. He then took us to the gift shop, and I got to pick out a new Hot Rods shirt for myself.






So far, we're two for two on the Hot Rods game being more difficult than expected. Third time is supposed to be the charm. We'll find out next time.

Cedar Point Vacation

We had a great family vacation last week to Sandusky, Ohio. I can now cross out one item on my bucket list. This was a dream for me, but unfortunately, I didn't get to ride every coaster there. It's OK, it is worth the sacrifice to get to see my children enjoy themselves, too. Landon hit a milestone on this trip. He is finally 48" with shoes which meant that he had a full price ticket. He's not much of a risk taker, but he did ride a couple of big rides. Annie isn't much of a risk taker, either. She likes the small rides. Really, she likes the junk food. Chloe is too little, but she enjoyed the sights and the few rides that she experienced. Now, Luke, he is another story. He loves the rides. He is just barely over 36", so he isn't allowed to ride too much, but he loved what he did ride.

I've tried uploading vacation pictures to this post, but it keeps getting deleted every time I try to publish. I don't really know what is going on, but pictures will have to wait.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The consequence Jar

The last week or so, I've really been trying to tackle the tattle monsters. If you are my friend on Facebook, you've seen the tattle scores each day and the improvement my kids, specifically Annie, have made. I didn't do much intervention. I simply told them that I was keeping score and it was like golf. The winner will have the lowest score. Congratulations to 13 month old Chloe Beth for winning the tournament!

Anyway, during my cleaning binge, I felt as if I was doing way too much yelling and redirecting. I know that effective parenting doesn't include yelling and less talk is usually more productive. I've seen consequence jars on Super Nanny and Nanny 911 as well as in various parenting books that I've read. I decided to give it a try. I sat my 3 big kids down and had them brainstorm the consequences. Keep in mind that Annie's cleaning adventure was still fresh on the brain. Here is a list of the consequences that they came up with. Luke has a separate list because of his age.

Landon and Annie’s List
5 minutes in time out
10 minutes in time out
Go to room for 10 minutes
Bedtime 10 minutes early
Stand up and touch your toes
Pick out a snack for your brothers and sisters, but you don’t get one.
Pick out a piece of candy for your brothers or sister, but you don’t get one.
No computer time or Wii time for 24 hours.
Clear off the table and wipe it down after every meal.
Clean kitchen floor with toothbrush and non-toxic wood floor cleaner
Clean bathroom floor with toothbrush and non-toxic cleaner
Give your brothers or sisters one of your bedtime animals for the night.
Count your lucky stars, because you got off lucky this time--no consequence.
Do 10 push ups and run 3 laps around the yard
Do 30 jumping jacks
10 minutes of watching an “off” TV



Luke’s List
Pick out a snack for your brother and sisters, but you don’t get one.
Let Annie and Landon have 10 minutes on tractor.
3 minute timeout.
10 minute room time
No Sprout TV at night
Pick out candy for your brother and sisters, but you don’t get any.
No tractor for 24 hours.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

No More Play Time

I've said before that my daughter has a terrible time playing. When we make her go play, we are recipients of a crying fit that would make passersby suspect abuse. No kidding! If we want to be REALLY severe, we suggest she go play outside. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment! Well, I was on a cleaning binge the last couple of days. I was quite frustrated because I couldn't seem to make progress. I tried to explain to the kids that I could get things done a lot quicker if they would just go play. Poor Chloe Beth either spent the two day binge in my arms, in the pack&play, in the high chair, or sleeping. Luke managed to get into absolutely everything including acrylic paint, dish soap, and eggs. He even managed to write on my wall with mascara! Landon ceased the opportunity to play unlimited hours of Wii. Annie went all RAD on me. She started every little fight she could, broke all the little nit-picky rules, button pushing rules she could think of. And pretty resisted any encouragement to go play and have fun! (Side note: I also have ADD and am actually pretty proud of this gift. I take medicine that is quite effective, but there is always one week each month that the medicine doesn't seem to make much difference. This was the week!)
So, I finally get a "no, duh" idea. Why don't I just let Annie help me. I bring her too me and explain to her that I am going to be nice. I'm not going to make her play and I'm going to let her follow me around the house and maybe even work. I let her start with a magic eraser and Luke's mascara art. I know that having the artist clean it would be a logical consequence, but not this time. Luke wouldn't be able to do it and Annie actually wanted to. She was so happy about getting to work and not having to play. The wall that she cleaned is pictured above. She used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Funny thing, when she was almost done, the last part of the art revealed a capital A that looked remarkably similar to the way she writes her A. You know, Luke denied the work. That is unusual, he is usually proud of his adventures. That is when I decided that I needed to take some pictures. You can barely see the faint outline of the A on the wall. I guess I will never know who the true artist really is.

I was really searching for things Annie could help me with. I don't want four-year olds dealing with harsh chemicals. I looked around and realized that the bathroom floors really needed attention around the baseboards. I remembered actually enjoying the toothbrush scrub method when I was a kid. I pulled out my own toothbrush, remembering that I have a unopened new one that I got from the dentist this week when he yanked my wisdom tooth, and some Method glass cleaner. It's non-toxic and has a peppermint scent. I even let her spray it herself. Wow! What a treat. She really enjoyed scrubbing and rinsing the toothbrush. When she finished a section, she dried it with a towel. She did a FANTASTIC job and we had some great bonding time, and she even showed concern about my willingness to sacrifice my toothbrush. Go figure!
When we were finished with the two upstairs bathrooms, Annie was ready to take all the supplies to the downstairs restroom. I just cleaned the crazies out of it the day before. I would have let her go for it, but she had to be supervised and quite frankly, I was having some terrible stomach cramps. I needed an Excedrin and a nap.

Fourth (really 3rd) of July




Last night we went to the National Corvette Museum for the annual ThunderFest fireworks display. The destination wasn't really a treat because that happens to be the place of employment of the Sweeney dad. However, the event was a lot of fun. I've noticed that my kiddos are starting to develop the "I want and expect" attitude that I have tried not to teach them. We hadn't even made it out of the parking field before I heard, "I want to ride in the balloon, I want to jump, I want to go there, I want a glow stick, I want to go to the bathroom (Annie is FASCINATED with Port-0-Pots), I want ice cream, I want a necklace, I want, I want, I want......
Of course, they didn't get all that. They did get to go to the bathroom, but not in the Port-O-Pots. You see, when your daddy has a key to the museum, you get to go to the real bathroom that smells like clean linen air freshener! Annie was a bit disappointed. In fact, less than five minutes after she returned to our blanket after going to the restroom with her father and little brother, she says to me in true RAD form, "I didn't even get to go to the bathroom!" HA! How I wish that I would have thought about getting a picture of the darn potties!


They did get ice cream and glow necklaces. We simply didn't get there early enough to justify paying $10 a child to jump in the inflatables. I would have paid the $5/person to go in the tethered hot air balloon, but the line was entirely too long. So, the kids were a bit disappointed, but we went to celebrate our freedom and to see fireworks.

Landon has come a long way in the five 4ths that he has celebrated in the USA. He was terrified as an infant. He is still SO sensitive to sound. He enjoyed the fireworks and watched the entire show with awe, but he kept his ears covered through the whole darn thing.
Annie could have cared less. I'm not sure she was even aware that the fireworks were going off. Before the show, she kept telling me that she saw fireworks. She was referring to the glow of the hot air balloon on the other side of the trees. By the time the show began, she wasn't really interested anymore. Since her brothers were focused on the show, she saw an opportunity to take their glow necklaces and connect them all together to make herself a long necklace. I really thought she would have loved the show. I'm still trying to find something that really entices her. This wasn't it.

People asked us if we were worried about Luke and Chloe. They thought they might be afraid. We knew that they were the only two that we didn't need to worry about. Our youngest babies are definitely our risk takers. The music was the biggest hit. Luke like the fireworks. Chloe did hang on to me quite tightly, but she didn't take her eyes off the sky. She grinned all night long, and slept pretty darn good when she got home. I can't ask for more than that!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Here are some picture from our days at the pool:


Annie is so unpredictable at the pool. One minute, she won't leave my side and is scared of the splashing water, the next minute she's jumping in with a group. I'm proud of her, though. She did teach herself how to swim. Not bad for a four-year old!


Landon is enjoying a banana split. I have made a deal with my kids that they will each get one when they can swim the length of the pool! Way to go, Landon!


Luke has also learned to swim under water after only 3 swimming lessons. That is a bragging right! I have a two-year old swimmer. I am proud, but I must admit, this kid is a handful. When he starts to show his mean, aggressive side at the pool, I encourage him to get his baby. I started taking the doll to the pool for Annie and Chloe, but Luke won't let them touch it! If anyone gets near, he says, "Go away. My baby is sleeping. She not feel good." He has also taught the baby how to swim, blow bubbles, and float. He can be so stinkin' sweet, and then turn around and be so mean.

Finally, this is my biggest bragging moment of the week! Chloe loves the water. She HATES her baby float. She wants me to hold her and then she pushes away. Today I went ahead and tried the wings on my 13 Month Old daughter. She took off. CRAZY!! It sure does make it fun to go to the pool when your kids love to swim!

Dentist Took My Wisdom With My Tooth!

Yesterday, I went to the dentist. She kindly numbed me, filled a cavity, and pulled my right top wisdom tooth. She also had a wonderful bedside manner when the roots broke off and very gently informed me that I might have to leave her office and go directily to an oral surgeon. Luckily, she was able to get another x-ray to see where the roots were and get them out. I have a blister in the corner of my mouth from having to keep it open for soooooo long. However, I must toot my own horn:

She offered to write me a RX for pain medicine. I told her that I didn't want any. She told me that I was going to need something, but Ibuprofin would help some if I didn't want the prescription stuff. You see, I've had bad experiences with pain meds, both directly and indirectly. My father, has struggled with alcoholism and pain med. addiction for as long as I can remember. I hate seeing what it can do to a person. Also, I had some Hydrocodone prescribed about 10 years ago when I had my left wisdom tooth pulled. It made me throw up. I also had some when I had a scope done during my, "I care that I'm infertile days" and I threw up. Therefore, I can't take it!!!!

So what did I do? I drove home and took 3 regular strength ADVIL, picked up my four kids and my 2 middle school sitters and went to the pool!!!!! The advice that I was given was to go home and rest. There is no resting in my home. I can bring sitters in, but if I'm home, the kids will not let me rest. Going to the pool seemed logical to me. However, I do believe my patience was rather thin. I was quite snappy, but I did have a crater in my mouth that could hold the planet, Mars.

My sitters were picked up at the pool around 4:30. I went ahead and loaded up the van with wet towels, floats, and kids to go home. I turned the key, and the mom-mobile wouldn't start. NO KIDDING!!!! I was out of gas! My son says, "Now what are we going to do?" I say, "Get out of the van and swim." My kids will probably pray that I run out of gas for now on.

Hubby, (who gave me NO sympathy, but loves me anyway), came and put gas in my van & than picked up Burger King on the way home. He bought me a chicken sandwich that I couldn't open my mouth wide enough to bite, but it was sweet that he thought about me.

A Little More About Living With RAD

As eventful as my life really is, I should be able to update this blog daily. I struggle with this, because I can't seem to focus my daily events into a topic in which to write.

I have a daughter with RAD. She can be so sweet and charming. She has intentions of being sweet and charming. She also has an underlying fear of abandonment that often forces her to be vindictive, controlling, and manipulative. It drives me crazy. She is only four. I am fortunate enough to have background knowledge on RAD & was able to begin therapy at an early age. Her future is bright, but parenting a child with RAD can be tough.

I get tired of the fighting. All siblings quarrel a bit. I understand this. My boys ages 6 and 2 usually get along just fine. If Annie is around, there is always a fight. If she is with just one boy, she fights. If she is with both boys, she fights. She has learned that my husband and I are a team, so she doesn't play us against each other. (Triangulation) However, she has become a master of this with her brothers. It drives me nuts.

She also frustrates me because she is stuck in reality. A lot of parents of RAD children complain that their kids stay stuck in fantasy. I wish my daughter could use her imagination. One time we were cleaning her room and I stopped and started playing with her Barbies. I showed her how she can role play with them and have them talk to each other. She looked at me and said, "My Barbies don't talk." If I send her to her room or the playroom to play, she'll sit and stare at the toys. It drives me nuts. The only thing that she is interested in is what someone else is playing with. She'll watch her 13 month old sister playing with a sorting box and decide that she wants to play with the sorting box. PLEEEEAAAASE!!!!

My daughter CAN NOT watch TV. I want her to watch TV. Now, many people that are around my child will disagree. Annie will watch TV if I am sitting with her on the couch. THAT DEFEATS THE PURPOSE!!!! I need to find something that will entertain this child.

I write these things, and then I feel guilty. She really is afraid of being abandoned. That's because she has a history, before arriving in our family, of abandonment. If I had her history, I would be afraid, too. She is stuck in the one-year-old separation anxiety stage. She has to follow Mommy around EVERYWHERE!!!!!

I'm trying to find a balance. I don't know where her need to be with me stops and the manipulation begins. My patience is very thin, especially when I have a gifted daughter who seems to be more delayed than my one-year old in this area.

Testing: McLinky

A friend of mine is trying a new link on her blog. I'm supposed to link my sight after posting my favorite boy names. So, I'm trying this out for my dear, Amy.
My favorite boy names are, well duh, Landon and Luke. :-)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Baseball, Birthday Party, and Family

We have a new minor league baseball team in town. They have been a big hit around here, but last night was our first chance to attend a game. My son was invited to a birthday party by one of his friends on his baseball team. Wow! How cool is that? A birthday party at The Bowling Green Hot Rods game!!!
Landon picked out his shoes, hat, and sunglasses to wear to the game. I'm not sure if I've ever seen him so excited.

I was excited because I finally had a chance to put them in their coordinating baseball outfits. (Sidenote: I have a horrible e-bay addiction. I love to by handmade and custom clothes for my kids. I usually buy custom resell--second-hand clothing that was custom made for someone else.) Anyway, I did have these shirts (and Chloe's dress) made especially for my kids. My plan was for them to wear them to each others' ball games. When they came in the mail, I was almost disappointed. They were so nice that I couldn't let my kids wear them to the ballpark. So once again, I was able to coordinate my family for a crowded event. (Remember, that's a Sweeney parenting tip.)

I know, my angels are beautiful. Thanks.

Now, it seems that I'm not the only one that thought that it would be a great idea to have their group dress alike. Miles, the birthday boy, had shirts made for everybody at his party. They were certainly easy to spy with a little eye.


Now, we had a good time, but man, was it work! Everyone kept telling us how much fun these games were. In hindsight, I don't think any of the everyones had four kids ages 6 & under. It was extremely hot. We didn't know if we could take a stroller, so we opted to leave it in the car. BIG MISTAKE! When we got there, we went straight to where the birthday party was, which happened to be next to the inflatables. It was a lost cause trying to get our troops to our seats at that point.


Annie did not have a good afternoon to begin with. She had been in trouble for starting little fights with her brothers. I didn't do a good job of preparing her for the game. I thought we had taken her to a Nashville Sounds game last year, so I figured she kind of knew what to expect. Apparently, I was wrong. She was expecting a game like hers, her brother's, or her daddy's at a little community park. Well, let's just say that she was a bit overstimulated and not very cooperative. She didn't want to sit. She wanted to sit. She didn't want to be there. She didn't want to go home. She ABSOLUTELY would have nothing to do with the characters. She asked for ice cream 100 times EVEN after she had ice cream from the birthday party that she wasn't invited to.

Will we venture to another Hot Rods game? Without a doubt. We will make sure to take the stroller and Luke's leash. (Sorry, I can't help myself. It's the little bear backpack with a tether. Basically, it is a kid's leash.) We will discuss with Annie a little better about what to expect. We will have to decide before we leave what we will spend money on and what can wait.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Brandon and Stephanie Get Married

My husband's cousin got married last weekend. My husband and I are not strangers to weddings. There are not too many times when all four of our children attended a wedding. I'm glad it was outside. Our children were pretty well-behaved, other than Chloe wanting to practice her new mobility skill (walking) every chance she gets.

I want to point out a couple of things in the picture. First, notice the matching outfits. Remember, it is a parenting tool. Every guest at the wedding knew which kids belonged to me. This is a very beneficial trick when you're Luke's mom. Second, do you see what is on the other side of the fence? Yes, it is a race track--Keeneland in Lexington. There were no races going on that day, but there was a big marquee in the infield showing live coverage of the Belmont. Pretty cool. Third, notice Luke's shoes. I just think they're cute.

Well, I don't think you can have an outdoor wedding in the horse capital of the world and not let the kiddos see a horse. Annie, Luke, and Landon are enjoying a carriage ride with their cousin, Chance. Annie was relieved that it wasn't a race horse, but I think Luke was a little disappointed. Landon is such a good big brother and cousin. Can't you see the proud big cousin grin he is sporting as he looks at Chance?

See! I told you he was a proud big brother. I can hardly get this boy to look at a camera, but he wanted his sister to get her picture taken, so he got down on the ground to help her and be a good example. He's only six, but I can already tell that he is going to be an awesome husband and daddy someday.

This is the Best Man and the Maid of Honor from the wedding. They also happen to be the little brother and little sister of the groom. How many weddings can you go to where that happens? They also happen to be my husbands little cousins. I hope that my children are that close when they get older. Lindsay and Seth were a big part of this wedding. I think they might have been glowing almost as much as the bride and groom. They were so happy for their big brother.
And, here my friends, are the bride and groom: Mr. and Mrs. Brandon and Stephanie Lancaster. They are so happy. Do you see in the background the table of gifts? OOPS, the Sweeney Clan left theirs in Bowling Green. I still haven't put it in the mail. I guess that should go on my To Do list for tomorrow. I'm not feeling too bad about it, I know that I loved getting wedding presents in the mail. It's a lot better than the bills they will soon face. Congratulations Brandon and Steph! Your wedding was beautiful!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Truth Is....

I wish I could be paid a single dollar for every time I've heard, "I wish I could do what you do, but I'm afraid I would be too attached."

The truth is, as a foster family, we've had it pretty easy. I know a couple of families that have been doing what we do for much less time, and they have seen so many children come in and out of their homes. We've only sent 3 home in almost 4 years. Our first placement (which this post will focus) was with us for 15 months, our second placement was a newborn that we had for 5 days, and our 5th placement we had for 11 months. The truth is that we were very attached to these kids. I was not a fun mommy to be around the days that Miss A or Trinity went home.

A picture of Luke's Adoption --Sometimes It's a Celebration instead of HeartbreakAlign Left


The truth is we need good foster homes.


The truth is, those that are afraid of getting too attached are the families that we need! Of course, when talking to these families, I don't say, "You will, so sign up!"

The truth is that you will get attached. These children need you to get attached. How can they learn to love if they are not loved?

The truth is that your heart will heal. It is OK to allow your emotionally healthy heart a little pain. These children need your sacrifice in order to be emotionally healthy themselves.

The truth is that I am very sad at this moment. I am sad because Miss A (I've finally given a name to the 6 year old that I've mentioned several times) is labeled a "hard to place" child. The reality is that she can't come home to my hubby and me. She needs to be placed in a home with two parents that are trained in RAD and other personality disorders, that have no other kids in the home, that will be able to love and nurture a hard to love child, and will not want to bring in other kids down the road.

Do those homes exist? I don't of any? It's kind of odd, but whenever I read blogs of other RAD parents, they seem to have multiple (usually more than 3) children. Many of them have more than one child that is struggling with attachment issues. Miss A has had some hard times and she has many emotional scars. I want so much to go and get her and bring her home and love on her. I know that we can't do it. We can't put our kids through this.

The truth is that we need everybody to pray for my sweet, Miss A right now. Her future is at stake. She is still a baby, yet she already has so many demons to overcome.

God, please protect this child. Please provide her with a home that can use your power to heal her heart and mind.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

God's Signs in Adoption

God has blessed the Sweeney home in so many ways. Yes, I admit, that Chris and I feel the stress of having 4 kids that are spaced 20 months apart on a daily basis, but it is always so refreshing to reflect on how we came to be who we are today. We wanted children so badly, that it was painful. Any couple that has experienced infertility can relate. We did try "medical interventions" with no success. I have always felt led towards adoption, Chris needed a little work. The thought of trying to adopt a child seemed so difficult. We were never intimidated by the idea of being parents. It was the idea of having to pass some test that determined if we were good enough. It was the idea of having to go through the government of two different countries and filling out soooooo many pieces of paper. It was frustrating for me to think about people who could have babies and mistreat them and we were having to be approved. Though it seems now to be such ancient history, the emotions are surfacing now as I type. It was a very hard time for us.

Aside from each other, and our children, infertility was perhaps the biggest gift God has given us. We grew so much stronger in our faith. We learned how to depend on God, how to listen to his plans, how to pray, and how to wait. Granted, if we were better listeners, we wouldn't have spent all those hours at the fertility clinic in Nashville. We would have started our process with Holt International much sooner. Our last visit to Nashville, our doctor said, "You are two healthy people with a very big problem." I don't know what else he said after that. We were done. We went home and filled out the pre-application online and started the process of adopting our son.

How did we know that we were following God's plan? Signs, signs, and more signs.
Landon's Story:
After 4 years of infertility, we decided to finally listen and start the adoption process. After filling out the pre-application Holt sent us the paperwork. We filled it out and sent it back. It was postmarked June 3, 2003. A very nice lady from the Holt Waiting Child office contacted us on July 7 just to touch base. She also had a referral on a little boy that seemed like a good match. She mailed us his file, we looked over it, we accepted. Our little boy was home in Kentucky on October 22, 2003! Our son, Landon, was adopted from South Korea. The process took less than 5 months from start to finish. Why did we wait so long to take our lead from God?

Annie's Story:
When Landon was 2 years old, we began the journey into foster care. We started fostering another little girl (the child I have mentioned in previous posts) very soon after approval. She was a challenging child. I was a very busy mommy during this time. I had two children that were 3 months apart. When March 2006 came around, she was 3 and Landon was still 2. I never had a chance to sit down. I was still fairly new at the parenting thing, so I was probably a little more particular about things. For some strange reason, there was a day in March that God told me to rest. My husband came home from work early and I told him that I had to lay down. I just felt like I needed some rest. (Keep in mind, this was a week day. Those that know me well, know that I always have this moment on Sundays!) I took a good, long nap! We got a phone call around midnight that night. One hour later, a 14 month old Annie was brought into our home. She was scared and dirty and I was up all night holding this beautiful, chubby little girl. My sign from god was that nap!


Luke's Story:
The summer of 2006 was certainly busy. I was now a Mommy of a 3 year old Korean boy, a 3 year old White girl, and a 1 1/2 year old Biracial (w/b) baby girl. We jokingly told our social worker that we didn't want anymore children unless a newborn Hispanic boy came was to come into care. Please do not get offended by that statement. We are not racial people and pretty much consider ourselves colorblind to race. God didn't see it as a joke. He took us very seriously. Of course, one thing that we learned is that God does His work in His time.
School started on August 2, 2006. I had a very busy first day of school with my new batch of first graders. Less than 5 minutes after dismissal, my classroom phone rang. It was my social worker. She had a newborn Hispanic male. I picked him up the next day. The timing was definitely not how I would have planned. God knows what he's doing.
Our sign: We asked, we received, we never expected it when it happened.

Trinity's Story:
In October of 2007, Chris and I thought the time was right to do one of those odd things on our life's To Do List. We were going to host a Korean exchange student. We already had a video of him telling us about his likes and dislikes and his goals for his trip to America. We thought it would be a great learning experience for all of us, especially for Landon. We were excited about having someone in the house to teach him first hand about his birth country. On November 29, we were supposed to make the call to finalize all the plans. We were set. My husband and I both experienced a very strange, overwhelming "feeling" about 3o minutes before the scheduled phone call that the time wasn't right. We said no. The next morning, during reading groups at school, I got a phone call from a social worker. There was a three week old baby girl in the NICU at our local hospital that needed a mommy. We didn't know if it would be permanent, but we knew she was meant to go home with us until she had her Forever Family. Would we have adopted her? ABSOLUTELY, but she did return to her birth father 11 months later. I still feel like Trinity's sign was the most clear sign that we had from God. It helps us know that we are cut out to be foster parents. Sometimes I wonder why He picked us, but he did.

Chloe's Story:
We learned in Feb. 2008 that Luke's birth-mom was pregnant. Upon learning that news, the ages of our children at home were, 4, 3, 18 months, and 3 months. We didn't know if we were going to get to adopt Trinity, and Luke was quite a handful. We really didn't think we were going to be able to take Luke's sister if she were to go into foster care. Once again, I jokingly said, "Watch, she will be born at the very end of the school year. We brought Luke home the second day of school. She'll be ready to come home the second to last day of school. That will be a clear sign, wouldn't it?" Well guess what! Three days before school was out (May 21), I was on a field trip with my class. My cell phone rang and it was a social worker. Chloe was born on May 20. She would be ready to take home on May 22. -- The second to last day of school.
I can't think of too many times when you can actually tell God what you want the sign to be. I guess God knew that it had to be really, really clear this time. Chloe is the most amazing baby. I can not begin to imagine what it would be like without her in our family.



Matching Outfits


I can't help it! I love to dress my kids alike. WHY? Well, it is fun for one. I used to think that it was absolutely ridiculous. That was until I found my self parenting more than a handful of children that were all still very young. Matching outfits is actually a parenting tool for me. I will almost always coordinate my children if our family is embarking on a crowded adventure. I can find them easily. Since they are all relatively young, it is pretty easy to find the matching clothes. Kelly's Kids and Chez Ami have outfits in all sizes that work together. They are rather expensive, but if you search on e-bay, you can find last years styles for half the price. The outfits that my children have on were also bought on e-bay. Annie's dress and the shorts the boys are wearing are by Flapdoodles. I have searched for one in Chloe's size, but I haven't had any luck.

For now, I will continue to find opportunities to dress my children alike. I know the day will soon come when Landon will roll his eyes at me and protest the thought. I kind of expected that day to be here already. However, I have been tickled this summer. He has been sleeping a little later than the rest of the kids. I have noticed on more than one occasion, he came downstairs wearing the matching shirt that I had already put on his baby brother. SO, it is also fun for the kids. YES, I will take advantage this time.


I just recently bought a new mommy toy. I have "settled" on good point and shoot digital cameras for several years. I have never been happy. For Mother's Day, my husband told me to get my DSL camera that I have "whined" about for years. He wasn't about to try and surprise me. He wanted me to pick it out. I spent weeks trying to decide what to get. I purchased a Cannon Rebel the last week in May. This picture was taken after church. A good friend of mine said we needed to have a picture taken, and I just happened to have my new toy in my car. Thank you Emily. This might be my favorite family picture that we have had taken.
Posted by Picasa

RAD Update

I have procrastinated on updating my blog because my December posts have been haunting me. The foster daughter that I wrote about is still in a theraputic foster home, but her social workers are currently looking for a residential treatment center. I am still so hurt by this whole situation. I want so much to bring her home and hug and kiss her and let her know that I have never stopped loving her. However, we have four wonderful children in our home. (One that shares her RAD/ADHD diagnosis.) I like to think that I could do it all. I dream of bringing her home and teaching her to trust us AND protecting my other babies from the world which she has been exposed. I pray for her continuously. I pray that she will find a forever family that will be able to love her as much as we do. I pray that she will learn to love and trust and not follow the paths that so many others have been down.

What is RAD? Reactive Attachment Disorder. I will post more on this in a later post. For anyone who really wants to know about it, Google it. Search Attachment Disorder or Reactive Attachment Disorder. Do not search for RAD or you will end up with Radiation results.

Update

As I am sitting on my neighbor's patio watching our kids play, she asks me if I am going to leave the title the same. Of course. Currently, we are still the Sweeney Six, but I would only have to change the title back to The Sweeney Seven in a matter of time. We do have my classroom gerbil living in our garage right now. She can serve as our seventh member for now. Hopefully, she won't see the same fate that our goldfish saw back in the fall.

spitefulness

I love my neighbor. She keeps me straight at times. She deleted my blog from her list of links because I haven't updated since December. I'm updating now, partly because I've been meaning to for awhile, but mostly out of spite.