Monday, October 15, 2012

Let's talk Hair Care!!

Okay, so being Caucasian and having adopted four little African American mixed children makes for having some hair issues!  lol  But I wanted to share with you all a website that I came across www.Chocolate HairVanilla  Oh my heck they are the BEST!  I am loving this website, but beware, it is as addicting as pinterest!  I am learning so many things and trying new things for my girls and it is so great!
The best thing about this website is they focus on more than just hair.  I would really recommend checking it out if you are struggling with hair care or other issues.  They also have a facebook page you can follow...Chocolate Hair/ Vanilla Care, and a lot of people are discussing and giving feed back it really is great!
As I learn more, I will add things to our blog but for now it is 2 AM and I am tired! I will get back to you all later.
Good night!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

More from Dr. John DeGarmo

From the book Fostering Love: One Foster Parent’s Journey, by Dr. John DeGarmo.

It was 10:30, and our own kids had long gone to sleep, when the caseworker arrived with the two girls. The girls were scared, both of them. And why not? They had been taken from their home late at night, taken away from their mother, and placed in a strange home with strange people now looking at them.
The caseworker, Shaun, sat across the table from us, sipping a cappuccino I had made for her. “Sarah is four, and Mary Sue is six months,” Shaun said. “They suffer from poor nutrition and neglect.”
“Why were they taken from their homes?” I wanted to know.
“Well,” Shaun began, “their mother and father were homeless, and moving from one hotel to another. There was also an incident with a knife, and the children were left in a hotel by themselves for awhile, while the parents were out.”
“Is the father the father of both children? They look nothing alike,” I wanted to know.
“No, there are two different dads. The mother lives with Mary Sue’s father, and Sarah’s father is in jail,” Shaun said.
“Is this all the clothes they have?” Kelly asked, pointing to the black plastic bag Shaun brought with her.
“Yes, it’s not much, but it is all I could get. We had to go into the house with a police escort, as the mother was trying to prevent us from removing the children. If you buy the
children new clothes, just keep the receipts and put them with your monthly invoice, and you will be reimbursed.”
“How about formula and diapers for Mary Sue?” I asked. “Will we be reimbursed for that too? Diapers are quite expensive.
“Yes. Same as the clothes, just keep the receipts and hand them in with the invoice, too.”
It had been a long night, and everyone was tired. We signed the necessary paperwork for taking the two girls into our house that DFCS required, and thanked Shaun for everything she had done. But, if Kelly and I thought we were about to go to bed, we were seriously mistaken. It was at this point that the screaming started. Screaming that we came to recognize in the future as quite normal for a first night placement into a foster home for a young, confused child. Yet, if it was only the screaming….
“I want my mommy! You can’t keep me here! I want my mommy!” Sarah screamed, hysterically, as tears flowed down her face. What we were not prepared for came next, very quickly. Sarah ran to the closest door and tried to open it. “You can’t keep me here,” she screamed again, desperately trying to get out. Holding Mary Sue, I went to close the door, while Kelly tried to comfort Sarah.
“I know, I know, Sarah,” Kelly said. “I’m so sorry, sweetheart.”
Without missing a beat, Sarah ran straight to another door, and tried the same thing. I felt my heart breaking for her. Sarah was simply scared. She didn’t know who Kelly or I was. She only knew that she was not home with her mother. As I ran to lock all the doors in the house, Kelly swooped Sarah up in her arms, and tried to console her with soft kind words. Mary Sue
was crying, as well, and was quickly given a bottle. As I was bathing her, Kelly and I both noticed that her skin was black, and Kelly suspected that it might be second degree burns. The burns, though, were in fact hard packed dirt. Mary Sue’s legs, feet, and hands were covered in so much dirt, that she looked like she had burns. For the second time that night, my heart broke. After a thorough and tough scrubbing, Mary Sue was asleep in her crib in our bedroom. Sarah, on the other hand, was not so easy to put to sleep. Kelly spent an hour cradling little Sarah, scared little Sarah, in her arms, rocking her to sleep. It wasn’t easy, as Sarah screamed and cried herself to sleep. Sarah, though, wasn’t the only one crying. Kelly was, too.

You can read more of Fostering Love: One Foster Parent’s Journey, as it is available at,, Barnes and, and other online book services.

Friday, October 5, 2012

My favorite foster care story ever. times infinity. (Melissa)

When people ask me how I can do foster and how I have survived taking care of so many other peoples children, this is the story I tell.  Granted, I give them the much faster version.  But I will share my long, detailed account because I can.  

Back many, many years ago.  I had a sweet boy from the Christmas Box House.  His name was Carter.  
(Sorry, I had to scan this in since it was pre-digital camera for me.  So he is a bit washed out.)
He was only with us for a couple of weeks.  There was no suitable biological family, so a committee chose a foster family for him.  One day in February, his new family Andrew and Brandee came to my house to pick him up.  This is a memory I will never lose.  They were so excited to get him.  I watched out the window as they left, (a little piece of your heart leaves with each child).  They went out to the car as a new family.  Brandee climbed in the back seat to sit with Carter.  That was so touching to me.  I am going to be honest and I hope I don't offend Carter or his family. We had a few problems with Carter.  Nothing huge.  He was a good kid.  But as I watched his mom climb in the back seat with him, I knew why we had not bonded as we should have.  He was their son.  Not ours. It was a big moment for me.  

(This next part is stolen from Brandee's blog.  I hope you don't care Brandee, but I loved it.)

I still remember getting the call from DCFS that we had been selected as 1 of the 3 possible families for a little boy that had just turned 3. About a week later they called us and said we'd been selected. His caseworker brought a picture of him to our house the night before we got him. I saw that picture and knew I was looking at my little boy, my son. Drew and I took the picture over to show my mom and dad. They both looked at the picture and instantly fell in love with him. He looked so sad in the picture. But the next day Drew and I went and picked him up from the shelter home.
When we got there the shelter mom asked him, "Carter, do you remember who I said was coming today?" He said, "My mom and dad."
I picked him up and he wrapped his arms around my neck and said, "I missed you."
We got home and he ran around the house touching all the walls and saying, "My house." He knew he was meant to be there.
That night my mom and dad came over for dinner. We were laughing and joking, and then in his little squeaky voice, Carter said, "I'm glad I came home." We all lost it and told him we were glad he came home, too.
I'm so grateful for this little guy.
I don't know where the time has gone.
He was definitely meant to be my little boy, he was definitely the child that was chose.

Now fast forward about a year.  I was sitting in Primary (Primary is a church class for children 3-11) with my class.  I look over and who do I see?  You guessed it.  Carter.  I was antsy and wiggly as I thought about all the different scenarios that would bring him back to my church in my neighborhood.  I ran up to his teacher after class and ask her who had brought him.  She told me who.  I went outside the primary room and ran into her.  It turned out that she was Brandee's aunt.  Small world, right?    She was on the defensive side while I was asking her questions.  It turns out she had every right to  be.  Brandee and Andrew were just about to finalize the adoption and the aunt was scared about where I knew him from.  She didn't want anymore delays.  Just a happily ever after for this family.   

Now we are going to fast forward again.  Are you still with me?  I had a darling newborn baby girl.  Here she is on her first day home from the hospital.  

This is her little tee-shirt she came home with.  She didn't even have an outfit.  Here is a shout out to the march of dimes so she at least had something to wear from the hospital until we got her when the case worker dropped her off.  

We had her for just under a month.  I got a phone call after the committee screening and it was her new foster mom.  Guess who?  Right again.  Brandee.  She asked if I remembered her (how could I forget!!) and told me that she was selected for KayCee, too.  We thought it was pretty amazing that my family and I had loved and cared  for both of her children.  It was quite the emotional experience when she showed up at my house and I handed her her baby. I cried for a while over that one.   I was also worried that since she had Indian in her genealogy  that they would not get to keep her.  I prayed hard over them for a long time.  

This is the day I brought KayCee home; I say "I" because I couldn't wait for Drew, and Carter and I went and picked her up before he got home from work!  I was sitting on the couch feeding her a bottle when he got there!  It still amazes me that my little KayCee was ever this tiny!  She was 4 weeks old when we got her, and she only weighed 7 pounds.  I love this picture of my two babies!  Carter was so little!  The day we got KayCee was also his first day of pre-school!

Now, back in the DeLorean.  It is over a year later and we are at a park.  Our school district hands out free lunches to children at schools and parks in the summer.  We got to the park a bit early and we were standing in line.  Guess who was in front of us?  Nope, not Brandee.  But Carter and KayCee were.  Well, I saw Carter with someone who was not Brandee. She had two little girls in a wagon.  If my memory is working right, one baby was light haired and one was dark haired.  I just stood in line and watched all the kids.  The interesting thing was that Carter and my son, James hit it off. They were playing and jumping.  What they didn't remember was that they used to be brothers and shared a room.  If only for a short time, they were brothers.  I stood and watched the little girls (I sound like a creeper, but I am not, I promise.)  I didn't say anything to the adults with the kids.  Because of confidentiality and Brandee's family's privacy, I didn't say anything.  We did ask Carter if he had any siblings and he pointed to the blonde baby.  That was totally surprising to me.  I expected KayCee to be the dark haired one.  I had a smile on my face the rest of that day.    

Now Brandee's aunt has moved from our neighborhood so I can't get any updates.  A few years ago, a good friend of mine was going to the aunts house so I asked her to get me an update on the kids.  And to my surprise, the aunt gave me a photo.  This sounds pretty cheesy, but I cherish that photo.  The kids only know them as some of our shelter kids.  But they hold a special place in my heart.  Guess where that photo has hung for the past few years?  

 Yep-a-doodle.  That is my dirty old fridge.  
And that's their picture taped to it.  

So, there you go.  My favorite foster care story.  Was it as good as you had expected?  I am so grateful for the experiences that foster care has given me.  These 2 children don't know me from Adam, but they will always be in my heart. And I thank their parents for all they do.  They are incredible.  I thank them for the time I spent with their kids.  I know it wasn't up to them but I do thank them for that.  I am also grateful for technology that I can blog stalk and see them grow up.  They are the only kids out of 79 (I have had 82 foster, but 80, 81, and 82 are not leaving.  I have adopted them.) That I can keep tabs on and know where they are.  And as of today when I was asking for permission to post names and photos, I am now their facebook stalker.


It's the Truth!!