Sunday, March 1, 2020


Hello! Its been so long, how are you? what have you been up to?

In the beginning (September 2019) we thought we had a high chance of adopting this placement that we have been calling Dory on the internet.  Her story is quite shocking and sad, it has it all: Atrocious behavior of adults, mental illness, abuse, drugs, hospitalizations, failure of the county to find enough proof, etc. etc. etc. this is her third stint in foster care and she is only FIVE. I want sure how much, or what to share since a lot of it was such a bummer to hear about. So I just procrastinated writing but, I miss it. Dory is hilarious, thoughtful, kind, empathetic, and above all Extroverted.

My child loves school.

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She enjoys being there, she talks about it all the time at home, she loves her friends she worries about them all the time and she is bummed out when it is the weekend and she "has" to stay home. My child LOVES school. She wants to be a janitor so she can stay late and clean. 

I had to take her out of school - not my choice - to drive downtown. I made a deal with Dory that I would drive as fast as I could to our appointment and back so she would miss just a little bit of school. Reluctantly she agreed. I picked her up, she ran clumsily to the car. we drove downtown parked, ran to the appointment, jogged back to the car and started driving. She began to compose a song about how much she loved school. it started with "glo-OOO-OOO-OOO-ria" from angels we have heard on high and just ended with how much she loves school.

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We get to school. My long legged clumbsy girl sprinted down the hallway in a way I have never seen her move. She was a graceful gazelle. I chased after her saying "Dory, slow down, there are teachers here, just pretend you're walking fast" and each student in the hall mumbled "hey, shes running in the hall! that's not allowed!" the chase continued. She didn't pause in front of the heavy classroom door before she dramatically burst in, "GLOOOOOOOOOOORIA! I LOVE SCHOOL!" as all of her classmates were quietly sitting on the carpet having a talk about how to be quiet and respectful in the classroom. Ironic.

My child LOVES school.

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Sunday, June 30, 2019

And then Boots was gone...

I had heard rumor that there was a court date that day, so when the social worker called to catch up on the last week I asked about it. Some times they cannot tell you what is happening in court, and sometimes they invite you to come and if you want to say anything to the judge you can.

Usually I stick to questions like:

  • What is being decided in court today, if anything?
  • What major changes are subsequent of this decision?
  • I know you cant predict what will happen, but how long do you think Boots (or Buttercup, Jellybean) will be with us?
She answered my questions as best she could- she said that it was an admit/deny case which usually doesn't have an effect on the kids, or the duration of their stay. She also said that we would have Boots for AT LEAST 3 months, because both parties involved in custody had some things to prove to the court.

.....cut to later that day when I was walking out of work with a missed call and a message "please call me back as soon as possible." I called her back right away and she was standing with dad at the courthouse telling me that Boots was going home today- she even sounded a bit confused about the situation. So we had approximately 45 minutes for me to race home, pack up all Boots' stuff and say goodbye before his Dad and grandma Picked him up. I was just relieved that Roman was already at home and got to say goodbye- he never got the chance with Jellybean. 

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Boots was VERY excited - he was running around asking if each car was Daddy. It was adorable. We got all his stuff in suitcases and bags and sat in the front yard waiting. Grandma and Dad were living the best day of their life, and Boots was so happy to go home. I sent his namesake Boots home with him along with the dozens of carrot zucchini muffins I had baked the weekend before. There were hugs all around and we waved as they pulled away. 

You never can predict how things will go- even if you are a professional. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Mickey- As Good as Gold

Picky tots are hard to feed.

Me: "take a bite"
Boots: "no!"

.....ok well I'm not a mamma bird so......
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I slowly figured out that if the food is muffin shaped, has the consistency of yogurt, or is hot dog/nugget shaped he will probably eat it. I've been hiding zucchini, spinach and carrots in many things. Preschool said he only eats things that are sweet. Each meal time turned into a small torture session. "if you eat your sweet potatoes you can have more juice" (jokes on him it was fruit and veggie juice. "take a bite of apple and you can be done"

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I got tired of arguing, and I don't want to give him food issues in the future so I had to find a way to get him to mindlessly eat (sorry Kathy) so we could sneak in some healthy stuff. OF COURSE! Mickey. I didn't know Mickey could be such an addiction. I don't love mindless eating, or excessive screen time but I was out of choices. We have this act down to a well choreographed dance now. I play you-tube Mickey videos, and pause them every 30 seconds or so and Boots takes a bite before I can turn it back on. I don't even have to say "take a bite" anymore he just takes a bite and I turn it back on.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

First Mom Visit

Now, this is he first case we have had with two active, invested parents. Both have supervised visits at this point, and the circumstances of removal include chemical abuse, and mental health. When the social worker was telling us all about his situation she sounded surprised when she said "Both his parents are very nice". This struck me as odd since she has been a social worker for quite some time.

One of the biggest things I've learned from foster care is that the stories of removal make the parents sound like monsters, something of a horror films. But in real life, these parents are just regular people, doing the best they can with the situation at hand. Now before you get your undies in a bunch, of course horrible things happen and that's why the children get removed, but humans are human, we all make mistakes and make regret-able choices. Imagine the government walking in your door the same moment you are having a tough parenting moment. Everyone is a few decisions away from disaster.

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Boots' case is gaining extra empathy from social workers, and myself. I think this is because unlike our past cases involving chemical dependence, getting a DWI with a child in the car, and physical abuse, the mental health issues surrounding Boot's case isn't a choice. (note: I recognize that addiction isn't a choice either but putting kids lives in danger while under the influence IS a choice).

So visit with mom:
She met us with such an attitude of gratitude that it took me aback. My first parent meetings in other cases were met with a little more hostility and skepticism , until I earned their trust and they saw that all I wanted was the best for their child. Boots' mom was so sweet and grateful for us to take him in. It was heartbreaking having to take Boots out of her arms. he was out of sorts the rest of the night, and even woke up several times just broken hearted. No one chose this. But we are all in it.

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Boots: The Stickiest Kid Alive.

I'm not exaggerating to prove a point. As many of you know I have met a lot of Two-year-olds in my time as a preschool teacher, and this is our second in terms of fostering.  I have never seen sticky quite like this before. Boots has no fear/aversion to water, mess or other sticky things like eating baked beans with just his hands etc...

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Planting gardens with tots is a dirty job, but none that I have seen have ever gone ahead to make dirt angels in the freshly flipped soil. LOL what are you gonna do other than just laugh. He also had a great time busting up dirt clumps and putting them on his head.

Roman was watering the garden on one of the few dry days we have had recently. Boots ran in front o the hose fully clothed and stood there "Squirt me in the face!!!" he would run away, roll in the mud a little and come back for more. We had a great time laughing at that.

I'm not sure why white clothes are made for children at all, but my grandma once said its SO you can bleach them. I'm not sure how well that will work but Boots was wearing this new shirt as we walked into preschool. They were already playing with blue slime. I just thought as I left, well that shirt will never be the same. He did look very himself happy, and sticky!

Saturday, June 1, 2019


We have a new placement! For privacy reasons he will be called Boots. He is 2 1/2 years old, very sweet, and he loves Mickey.

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The last few placements came with a feeling of overwhelming "what the hell are we doing again???" but when Boots arrived, we didn't feel a giant shift within our world, or the big overwhelming feelings. It felt very.... normal. Maybe its because Boots is our third, and we had Jellybean so we know what a 2 year old boy entails, or maybe we are too used to feeling out of our comfort zones.

Since we just moved into a house the only thing we were concerned about was kid proofing the house and figuring out how to parent when the bedroom isn't on the other side of the wall. We installed 3 baby gates, and it turns out that they all kind of suck, and will not be kid proof for long. Boots is very good at knobs and locks and things.

Boots is so adorable, chatty and loving that he won over his social workers in a big way. Not to say that they have favorites but.... They paid a special visit to our home to make sure we were a good fit and family for him. In our experience, that has never happened before.

Reunification is highly likely in this case, so we are just enjoying all the time we can with our cuddly little boots while we have him.

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Judges, Social workers, Patience

We had a very exciting few weeks this winter where we thought we might get a placement that would end in adoption. Our social worker, and one of our past kids' social workers were trying to get us this placement- they were excited that we are a permanency option.

This child has a sibling that has already been adopted and the parents' rights have already been terminated. So we got mentally ready, we received pictures from the social workers of him. We prepared the room for his age and then we waited.

for a week,

and a month

and a few more weeks.

and then I sent our social worker to find some information for us. It turns out during their last search of relatives that would be willing to take him in there were some takers. So they are sorting through and investigating the eligibility of these family members to provide a home.

If this placement ends up with family- that is great!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Back on the Placement list

Buttercup is home, she sounds like she's having fun and doing pretty well- she called to tell me all about her tooth that is loose. We will still get to see her occasionally when her mom needs to work to make up for a non- school day.

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Roman and I gave ourselves a two-week break- we are ready for Christmas, and back on the placement list again. It's always exciting to think about what will happen next, but it is hard to plan around. In between Jellybean and Buttercup, we were on the list for six months, and I was living every day as if we would have a kid at the end of the day. This time I'm older and wiser- it's too exhausting to do that.

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Lessons From Buttercup

It's amazing the things that need explaining, that you never thought you'd have to explain to anyone.

-Don't eat turkey off the bus floor
-You don't need to say "hi" to everyone who passes our car (parked downtown)
-How to walk up a hill (for sledding)

Since Buttercup does well with logic- in the right mood- and lists we narrowed down some good rules for different occasions.

When something is too hard 
1. Try Again
2. Ask for help
3. Have a hissy fit (not a good choice but you gotta do what you gotta do - even as an adult)

Rules for having a good day at school 
1. Listen to your teachers ALLLL day - even if you don't want to (with Pocahontas motion on the 'all')
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2. Keep your body to yourself - don't kick or hit anyone for any reason
3. ONLY food and your toothbrush go in your mouth (although she just says "don't eat poison or pointy things" both of which she has done)

What "common sense" idea did you have to teach a kid?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Foster care- how its supposed to work

It's all working out for the best

It's our last week with Buttercup. This transition/end is much easier than last time for sure. Since buttercup is older, she gets time to prep mentally, and we have a reunification countdown calendar at the house so she knows exactly what is happening when.

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Last time, we got a few hours notice before a social worker picked up jellybean and took him away forever- Roman didn't even get home in time to say goodbye.
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Things are so different this time! We have built a good relationship with Buttercups mom, and she has asked us to stay in touch, and if we could be their emergency contact- OF COURSE! We are excited about their reunification- they both have waited for this for so long and worked hard to get to this point.

Her humor and charm will certainly be missed by our entire family- but it's not goodbye- its see ya later!
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Monday, November 5, 2018


The transition to reunification for Buttercup has begun. During our vacation, the adults involved were busy making a decision in court.  Since Buttercups Mom is doing great on her court-mandated classes, and always shows up for visits, and is taking part in Buttercups life, she has been granted weekend visits, meaning starting immediately, Buttercup will be gone Friday afternoon-Sunday afternoon.

Of course, there is a lot of mixed feelings about this transition, but mostly I am excited for buttercup and her mom. they have been apart for 10 months and they just belong together- who am I to get in the way. Also, this brings back my feeling of being only a disciplinarian without being able to have the fun times of the weekend (especially with all our issues with school). We are excited about her transition home, and how that will open our home up for another tiny person.

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When we were on the way to Buttercups first overnight, I looked into the back seat to see a teary-eyed little one scared to spend the night at her moms. We talked all about how Her mom has to follow the same rules of our house, and it's going to be a safe place for her now. I wasn't really expecting it to be hard for Buttercup because she doesn't want to leave her mom at the end of visits to go with me.

Anyway, it turned out well- we sent her some pictures of Big Joe (the frog) and the dogs in her bed keeping guard of her room while she was gone. Her mom said that she got a kick out of them.

update: of course now she's too excited to go with mom, and only tears to come back to our house...

Monday, October 29, 2018

Duluth Adventure!

Day One: 

We drove up to Duluth, Singing, and playing the Alphabet game the whole time. We stopped at the scenic overlook to see all the things we would see, and the places we would go. Climbing on the rocks on the shore was really scary for buttercup at first, but with help and later got the confidence to start figuring it out on her own. We looked for treasures (sticks and feathers) and mermaid tears (sea glass).

We checked into the hotel- which was a little confusing for her because she thought we lived here now, and was worried about the dogs (who we left at home). We headed down to the pool with a flamingo toy and a life jacket, she played on the stairs and eventually got into the water. with lots of screaming Roman and I taught her how to scootch along the wall with your hands. After we taught her, she ended up scootching all the way around the pool on her own as we watched from the hot tub.

I had her keep a "journal" and draw something we that day each evening:

 Day Two: 

This was a full day! We went to the Aquarium, saw scuba divers feeding sturgeons, pet moon jellies and read all about fish- and played with the awesome lock and dam models of the lakes. In the afternoon we went to the library to kill time before the train ride.

We played in the pool again, she learned she could touch the bottom where the stairs ended

Day Three:

We drove up the shore, stopping at almost every pit stop to look for treasures, and throw rocks in the lake. We walked on the breakwater in Two harbors, ate lunch at Betty's  Pies, ran around at Gooseberry and hiked on the knife river. Ultimately, we raced one of the ships from two harbors, to the bridge to watch it go under. One of the crew members was wearing giant foam hands- better for waving.

I put on my swim teacher hat, and as she cried and panicked sang songs about fish while I held her on her back and taught her to kick. She had her head on my shoulder and we were cheek to cheek but she was so distraught she couldn't feel it. she ended up blowing nose bubbles in the water all on her own later.

Day Four: 

Our final day, we hung out in the hotel until checkout- we had to get our morning swim in. She had a few other kids to play with and she discovered she could touch in a lot more places than she thought. we were essentially playing fetch with a rubber ducky, and another child. she ended up swimming around without realizing it- and telling us how brave and strong she was. It was great! We took a harbor tour on a boat before we left town.

the weather was perfect for Duluth fall, we were there just past peak leaves, and we overdressed bringing our winter coats, hat mittens, and long underwear- but id rather be overdressed than underdressed!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Crown Of Rightness

Roman and I, just for fun, have a running joke that if one person is wrong and the other is right, the wrong person has to give up their crown, and put it on the others head. Of course, it's invisible. and there is only one crown of rightness.

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Well, miss observant Buttercup picked up on this little joke of ours and wants in. She doesn't totally get the rules- that one person has to be wrong, one person has to be right, but that's ok. When she is right she gets to take one of our crowns or one of the dogs' crowns. BUT she will also give you (probably one of the dogs' crowns) if she deems you "Absolutely right!".