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.
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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.


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.


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.