Rewards, rewards, rewards

22 Mar

Warning this is a rant about a serious issue in the world today:

I was going to post this yesterday when I found out but I was too busy having fun with 6 little girls the sleepover I had for my daughters. Yesterday while picking up the chairs for the at Party Central my daughters where talking about that they could not wait till after Spring break to ride the bus again. (Side note: they just became bus riders this week, in the mornings only though. They have always went to daycare before school and car riders in the evening.) I had to interrupt and ask why because they complained all week about the bus. My oldest explained to me that they do like the bus for one reason. The reason being that they get treats for being good on the bus. I am not sure why but this just burns me up and maybe because that is all I hear from teachers, principals, therapist, etc is “Have you tried this reward?”, “Have you offered to do this or that as a reward?”, etc. Call me old-fashioned or a plain out mean mom BUT am I the only one left in America who thinks kids should behave, respect others especially authority, be kind to others, do homework, and clean their rooms for NO OTHER reason than they are SUPPOSED to?!?! Since when did everything have to have a “reward” tied to it? What happened to holding kids accountable? What are we teaching our children? I think by giving rewards we are raising children to ONLY do something in order to GAIN something for themselves, the reward. Problem #1 with this is this ONLY works if the reward is something the child wants. So we teach them that if you are good today you get this chocolate bar (or whatever) however all day that child decides whether they’d like to partake in certain behaviors or earn a chocolate bar. However, what if that child does not like chocolate bars, perhaps they already had one earlier that day at lunch, etc. Then they are going to not even be motivated to do good because the reward does not entice them. To me this is NOT smart. The reward has to be great enough to make them want to behave first of all and second of all that is not working long term. Problem #2 with this is we are teaching kids to only do something if it benefits THEMSELVES!! What happened to respecting parents, teachers, strangers, and so forth because of the Golden Rule?! Why have we as a society tied a reward to everything especially BEHAVIOR? And furthermore what happened to doing what you are supposed to do or you’ll pay the consequences. I’m not necessarily speaking of spanking. I do believe that is one consequence kids feared though. A consequence could be a number of things not just spanking. But this world that we are creating is a ME generation because we have taught our kids to do the right thing only when it BENEFITS themselves. What happened to helping a stranger for nothing purely but doing something kind for someone else. What happened to doing the right thing to avoid getting your butt busted? I can tell you that my mom never told me growing up that if I did my homework everyday that she would give me something each day or week. Sure I earned money for good grades but the KEY WORD is EARNED. I didn’t get rewarded everyday for my homework but it showed on my report card. I had to work for that. My mom didn’t bribe me or offer me things to be good. However if I was at a store and asked for something she would then judge how I had been behaving lately when deciding to say yes or no. I wasn’t offered the toy up front for being good. I think this as a society is where we are messing up. We are dangling the carrot in front of them BEFORE the have earned it. We should show the carrot AFTER the good behavior. Kids should be rewarded for doing good but it shouldn’t be placed as a bribe. If you do something then you get something. I can tell you that don’t do rewards for every single thing my kids do but I have realized that I have been sucked into this rewards thing more than I world like to admit. But from this day forward I will be more aware of this and I will not give in to this “must-get-something-for myself-to-do-the-right-thing” society! I will not be showing my kids what they can earn before anymore but yet rewarding after I see the behavior. We need to be teaching our kids better. This is our future!!!

END OF RANT!!!

If I can, you can…

19 Mar

This post is a little different than the ones in the past. This is about my weight loss and my journey to changing not only my life but my family. Yes I know that feeling “Well it’s great she was ready but I am not” so let me start my saying what I was before I tell you where I am. I promise to be candid, open, and honest (even about my weight). Maybe you will be the person who can relate to me and you’ll see yourself in me and have a “ah ha” moment. Or maybe you’ll be the person to judge me for allowing myself to get overweight and creating these bad habits to begin with but I’m fine with that. Quite frankly, I’m proud of myself and who I have become.

I was the carb lover, cookie eater, after the kids go to bed snacker because I didn’t want to share, blizzard addict, the eating for 2 (or 3) for no reason, the mom too busy, the mom too tired, the veggie hater (unless white potatoes and Green Giant Nibblets corn with butter counts), the overweight, asthmatic, pre-diabetic in denial even after multiple confirmed tests, it’s not my weight that is causing me problems 29 year old woman!

That description of me is pretty accurate. I found myself late December weighing 256.6 pounds at 5’ 9”. I realized I needed a change but I never could stick with anything long term. In the past I have tried Weight Watchers (2 times), South Beach, Adipex prescription diet pills, multiple over the counter pills, counting calories, and skipping meals. It didn’t work long term. I also have PCOS and like most women with PCOS I battle being overweight. I chose my foods based on what I wanted to “enjoy” that day. I was the woman so exhausted after eating a Texas toast egg with bacon sandwich every weekday morning and 20 oz. Dr. Pepper (630 calories). Then I would go to the café downstairs and buy Cheetos and drink the 12 oz. Dr. Pepper I brought from home (460 calories) so I would wake up, only to find that an hour later I was about to crash again. Then I’d barely stay awake till lunch. Then I’d eat two peanut butter sandwiches. That’s not bad right? WRONG…I know now that was nearly 1000 calories just for lunch. Then by 2 pm I was hunting for another snack to make it till the end of the day. I was physically wiped out after work and rested on the couch all afternoon at home. I had no clue how many calories were in the foods I was eating at the time. No wonder I was too tired to play with the kids after consuming so many calories. It was a vicious cycle I could not break. I loved those carbs (which is something I find us PCOS women have in common) like pasta and pizza too much, too often and with the lack of exercise the weight slipped on a little at a time, or at least it seemed that way.

I knew something had to change. I couldn’t continue being so tired but I just couldn’t change at that time. Every time I visited the Endocrinologist I was still the same 256 pound girl. Blood work always stated the same…still had hypothyroidism, still vitamin D deficient, and STILL a pre-diabetic. At my last visit before my “lifestyle change” in May 2012 I recorded the conversation with the doctor. At the time it was to allow my husband to hear all my medical conditions and health issues so he’d understand why I was so tired in the evenings. The doctor has always said it was all my conditions and weight rolled into one. But little did I know that God would use that conversation for my benefit rather than an “excuse” to give my husband on why he had to cook dinner every night because I didn’t have the energy. I let my husband listen to it but he didn’t seem to be affected by it lol. I was still unchanged so I cancelled my next endocrinology appointment that was scheduled for August 2012. I thought there was no point of going back! He will say the same thing. I have it recorded so why pay money to go hear the same thing. Take your pills; lose weight before you become a diabetic, buy real food and cook it at home, blah, and blah, blah. I even told the doctor in May that I didn’t think diabetes would happen to me. His response “Ah huh, well it’s already you. I’m telling you, your sugar was 104. It should be less than 100. So you are beginning to see the effect now. Obviously you can wait because the diabetes is at 126. So you still have 22 points to cross before you get there but you have started your journey. Ok less than 100 you are good.” To be honest I was still in denial.

So I just went along with my life as usual, stayed in the same cycle (I was tired so I ate, then perked up, then tired, and ate again). Then, one day in January at work I listened to that recorded conversation again. And for the first time (after 10 times of listening to it) I finally heard what the doctor was saying. I realized my doctor might actually know what he is talking about. I guess that his degree in a gold frame on his wall and all the accomplishments he has had in his career could have told me that but when you are that food lover and so exhausted it is hard to hear what doctors say to you through your own voices reminding you how much love and NEED that sugar fix. Not to mention all the negative chatter in your head telling you “YOU CAN’T DO IT”. What that moment life changing? No, it wasn’t a life changing moment but it did get me seeking God for help. I mean if he saved my life as an infant from an enlarged heart, healed me from bipolar and other miracles throughout my life, why wouldn’t God care about my weight and how I feel. I don’t think any Christian hesitates to ask God for healing with the major medical issues like surgeries, cancer, etc. And when the bible says “cast all your cares on him for he cares for you” there no clause that says he don’t care for self-induced health problems. And as a child I was taught to go to God. So I did.

I began this lifestyle change journey in mid-January. That’s approximately 9 weeks now. I told my husband I would try to eat healthy and if I didn’t feel any better (health wise) then I could always go back to eating the old foods I enjoyed. I had to at least try it, I had nothing to lose but weight (pun intended). I knew I wanted to lose it for good though if I was going to do this. I somehow decided to count calories and exercise. I use my FitBit One (my step counter/calories burn tracker device) and MyFitnessPal app daily. I measure my food with measuring cups and a food scale. I count every bite and always read the serving size. I didn’t want to go through this just to gain it back like I had in the past on “diets and diet pills”. I needed something I could do for life. From counting calories that led me to note how I feel after I ate certain foods, like my carbohydrate loaded dinners I was used to. And from there I discovered processed foods and things high in carbs, even if they fit into my daily calorie intake were not good for me because I often felt stuffed and sluggish after eating those foods. Well I hated vegetables so what was I going to do? Well this 29 year old decided she was going to “teach” herself to like vegetables. I always heard you can retrain your taste buds so I was going to try. I decided to start with the mild ones. The first thing I tried was low calorie breaded eggplant sticks. 12 eggplant sticks with marinara just 87 calories. I liked it. So I asked people around me that like vegetables about which vegetables were the mildest and I started there. Was it easy? Nope! But if you asked me if it was worth it, I give you a big YES! I even tolerate salad (no dressing). Also a disclaimer: if you don’t like a vegetable the way you prepared it, be willing to try it prepared at least 4 different ways (including raw) before deciding you don’t like it. I used the word tolerate because I don’t always enjoy them and my body/taste buds/stomach is still adjusting to this new food. But my theory is this….food was made to give us nutrition that our body needs, it wasn’t for enjoyment. God created us that way and he created the healthy foods. God gave us people to have fun and enjoyment and fellowship with not food. I used food incorrectly. God didn’t create processed foods, man did that. So enjoy the beautiful colors and flavors that God created for us. And if it doesn’t hit my gag reflex it’s a vegetable I keep in my diet. So far cooked carrots…still hits my gag reflex lol. But I will list a few mild vegetables at the end that I have tried and liked. If you are a “veggie-hater” too it might be worth giving them a try.

God has truly helped me through this journey and I could not continue without his strength. I have to say that now on approximately week 9 this has become habit. It’s easy to skip on pizza at family gatherings, easy to say no to bread at restaurants, and so forth. I will say this didn’t happen on week 1, week 2, or even week 3 but by the time week 6 and 7 hit this truly had become a way of life. And I am teaching my kids the same way. And same rule applies to them that I use for myself: if it doesn’t hit their gag reflex I expect them to eat the vegetables. They are enjoying all the healthy desserts they get. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be bland, boring, and dessert-less lol. I can make a mean low calorie banana pudding…yummy! I make awesome banana nut pancakes….delicious and low calorie. I have truly learned so far that it’s not about skipping meals, eating less, diet pills, crash diets, or quick fixes. This is about eating real food and cooking it in a healthy way. This is about a new way of living. I feel like God took blinders off my eyes and is truly allowing me to live the life he always intended on me living. I have no idea what my future holds but I do know that God knows and I am taking this one step at a time. And through all of this I am finding a much happier me. As of last Saturday (3-16-2013) I am down 27.2 pounds. I now weigh 229.4. I also have the energy to cook every meal for my family during the weekdays and weekends. I take pride in serving them healthy foods.

In the beginning I said I was the carb lover, cookie eater, after the kids go to bed snacker because I didn’t want to share, blizzard addict, the eating for 2 (or 3) and not pregnant, the mom too busy, the mom too tired, the veggie hater (unless white potatoes and Green Giant Nibblets corn with butter counts), the overweight, asthmatic, pre-diabetic in denial even after multiple confirmed test, it’s not my weight that is causing me problems 29 year old woman. Let me tell you what I am today….

I am the learning to eat lean, measuring cup freak, obsessed with the food scale not the bathroom scale, learning to love veggies, the mom not too busy, the mom not as tired, the woman struggling to exercise consistently but not giving up, fruit snacking, oatmeal lovin’, shop the outer perimeter of the grocery store, power walking, focused, happier 29 (almost 30) year old woman. And life is great!

Just know that no matter where you are in your journey to well-being that you are not alone. If I can encourage you in any way please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I know I am blessed with family to encourage me and I check in with daily, like my mom. But I also know when you are truly trying to do it for life and everyone around you likes “quick fixes” it is difficult to be the odd ball and do it slowly and try to do it in a healthy way. We women need to support one another. I wish you well in your journey 🙂

As promised here are the vegetables I can “tolerate”

Easy Herbed Sugar Snap peas – http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/2012/03/23/easy-herbed-sugar-snap-peas-recipe/
Baked Eggplant sticks – http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/09/baked-eggplant-sticks.html
The salad I “tolerate” – http://www.taylorfarms.com/index.php/Products/product_detail/southwest-chopped-salad
Spinach soup – http://www.indobase.com/recipes/details/low-calorie-spinach-soup.php
Spaghetti Squash – http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Baked-spaghetti-squash-with-garlic-and-butter-315049
Zucchini and Squash, just slice it and sautéed till it’s the texture you like with lots and lots of garlic

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The story of a watermelon seed, hand in the crack, paper in the ear, and school nurses…

28 Feb

You may not know this but a watermelon seed, hand in a crack, and paper inside the ear really does have something in common. They all have been part of the “adventure” that my 6 year old has been on. You see she really does love adventure. She is so light hearted and I learn so much from her but not as much as I need to. I wish I could see the world through her eyes. I wish I could laugh instead of flip out. I wish that I could smile through tears the way that she does. People are always telling me that Olivia is blessed to have us but the truth is WE are the ones blessed by Olivia. I had said in the last post that Olivia said “she was on adventure” but what I haven’t said is once we got her that “adventure” has never truly ended. So let me tell you how a watermelon seed, hand in a crack, and paper inside the ear really do have something in common…

My husband and I were first time foster parents. We were on pins and needles every time Olivia got a bump or scratch, and trust me she is a rough child so they were lots of bruises and scratches, most unexplainable lol. She is clumsy so that could have been the reason. About one month after she moved in my husband had to take her to the doctor. The doctor did all the routine things by weighing her, checking her breathing, and then checked her ears. Much to my husband’s surprise (and later mine) the doctor discovered Olivia had a watermelon seed inside her ear. He had to use tiny tools and dig it out. Olivia never remembered putting that inside her ear lol. But it is a funny memory now. At the time we panicked thinking that the department of children services was going to think that it happened at our home and that we were not supervising her. I made sure I let them know (1) it is March, way before watermelon season and (2) we don’t eat watermelon. To this day we still haven’t a clue how long that seed had been in her ear.

I must state that I get a lot of calls from the school health assistant. It’s never because of my kids are running a fever or sick. It’s always something totally off the wall. This particular day I received a call because Olivia and her fascination with doing silly or “adventurous” things. You know most of us would see a crack in the wall, in between the door and hinges, and other places and we never think a thing about them. Well not my Livy. This day Olivia saw a small crack in between the door and hinges in the bathroom at school. She decided it would be a good idea to see if her hand fit. Why? Who knows, it is Olivia. The school had to Vaseline her hand to get it out because once she got it in there it wouldn’t come out. Her principal called and was really nervous that I was going to accuse the school of not watching her. I quickly explained I didn’t blame them. It sounded just like something Olivia would do. I just decided this was one of those imperfect moments and I was just going to choose to laugh it off. The principal explained that she could move her fingers but that her hand was likely to bruise. The principal stated “Mrs. Campbell, we do appreciate Olivia’s curiosity but if you could encourage her to do it in a less dangerous manner we would appreciate that”. It took a couple of administrative staff to get her hand out. Luckily her hand didn’t bruise after all. Later that day when I picked Olivia up from daycare we had a long talk about curiosity and not doing silly stuff.

Well every so often we have these kinds of moments. Today is another one of these moments. This time the school health assistant called to let me know Livy had a piece of paper stuck back inside her ear. Olivia was sitting in class, tore off a piece of paper, and just stuck it in her ear. The health assistant explained she could see if but was unable to remove it due to state laws. I am assuming because of liability should something happen. To me that is crazy that society is so lawsuit happy that schools have so many rules preventing them from disciplining and treating minor medical emergencies these days but that is a rant for another day lol! But she advised me I would have to come down and get it out. So of course I was upset because I had to leave work to go pull a piece of paper out of her ear. I found no humor in this. I got there and was barely able to see it. I am glad it wasn’t any further. I used tweezers and pulled the piece of paper out. She was fine and I was lecturing her on how much trouble she was going to be in because I had to leave work for such a crazy stunt she pulled. Then I looked at her sad face. I got down to her eye level. I gave her a big hug and told her how much I loved her, even when she did silly stuff. I did however still intend on taking about the iPad, TV, etc. away for a week. But on my drive back to work I was able to relax and laugh. Really is it such a big deal? Does she really need punished? Or is the embarrassment (which she probably doesn’t have) punishment enough?

I realized when I stop to think about these things they have one thing in common…Olivia’s personality. It’s just who she is. She is silly, goofy, curious, loveable, laughable, just plain silly. She doesn’t mean harm by doing these things. Maybe I am still learning through her. But she is teaching me to R-E-L-A-X, just laugh, blog, and go on with life until the next silly thing….

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

― Dr. Seuss

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In the beginning….

21 Feb

As I had written in my blog on January 3rd our journey to parenthood was not easy and not OUR perfect plan.  I’m so glad that my perfect plan did not work out.  I could not imagine being any happier as a parent than I am right now.  I could not imagine that I could ever give birth to better children.  I could not even imagine loving a child more than I love my two daughters.  As it turns out that my plan wasn’t so perfect after all.  I didn’t see the big picture.  However, I started seeing God’s perfect plan when we became foster parents.  It was not an easy journey and we had some unneeded drama in the beginning stages from people that we never expected to have drama from.  But in the end God’s will was done.  It’s so funny that even when God starts showing you his plan and opening doors we as humans we feel the need to still try to step in and help, as if he needs our help.  We try to set limits on God.  After God planting seeds in our life leading us to foster care, after God bringing up through the drama, Jon and I decided just one child at first instead of asking God what his will was.  We had our perfect plan of one child at a time. 

 

Well you see God had other plans.  But I will start in the beginning.  Olivia came first in Feb 2010.  She was this little girl so small at age 3 ½ , full of life, loved to sing, smiled all the time, sweet 24/7 (in the beginning), said she told us she was “on an adventure” the day we met her.  She loved us and embraced us from the moments we first picked her up at her foster parent’s home.  It was our first time being parents.  We fell in love and bonded with Olivia from the first week we had her.  She knows no strangers and is happy wherever she plants her feet.  Trust me, as her mother this scares me.  Ok, who am I kidding?  This TERRIFIES me!!  Someday she will by my traveler, she will be the one to leave me and go off far away from home to college, why do I think this?  I think this because she is always looking for an “adventure”.  As a side note I’m crying now.  I don’t want either of my daughters to be more than a short drive from me.  Ok back to my story.  We just spent the next couple of months enjoying being foster parents.  It was so wonderful hearing the words “mom” and “dad” and Olivia chose to call us that, we never asked for those titles but were so blessed she gave them to us.  We had no idea where her case was going in the beginning whether she’d be reunified with her family or whether she’d be eligible for adoption.  We spend our weeks having fun and doing all the things we had once hoped to do with our own children.  She of course had visits, court hearing, etc. but life was great. 

 

I was sitting at work one day and decided to write the licensing specialist at department of child services to see if she ever got us SNAP approved.  Jon and I wanted to be approved through the SNAP (special needs adoption program) because that would allow us to view children that have entered the termination progress but not fully eligible for adoption until the progress is completed.  They consider it “legal-risk” since you are risking the termination being denied and the child returning to their biological family.  I’ll save the boring details but that was our PLAN.  We thought that was the way we wanted to go to avoid the drawn out process of a child just newly entering care, and waiting 2 years for termination to begin and so forth.  Then one day while I was at work I received an email back from the Department of Child Services.  I just knew this was the email I had been waiting on, right what else could it be?  But nope my perfect plan was not what this email was containing but it was just the opposite, it was about us considering a 2nd child. 

 

The email is below (I’ve kept nearly every email regarding my kids):

Give me a call and I will explain the adoption process to you.  Some of this information listed in your email is accurate and some it not.  I have not been able to get your home approved yet because I am going to have to redo your home study.  I have searched high and low on my computer for your file and have not been able to locate it!  I have never lost a home study on my computer before so this is a first.  I have a child who is at the beginning of the termination process and we are looking for a foster home for her who might be willing to adopt when termination is granted.  She should be available for adoption soon if the termination goes through.  Her grandmother is interested but I do not think the case worker is in agreement with that recommendation.  I will insert her child summary for you all to read and consider.  She is an awesome little girl but she needs more one on one than the current foster home can give her. 

 

Thanks,

XXXXXX (omitted the workers name)

 

My first thought is WHY?!  The first time this happens it would happen to us lol.  It wasn’t as if this journey had not been trying enough.  Seriously all those months of paper work, three days of interviews and all that was just gone!  It just disappeared from her computer.  I am sure we can all value hindsight.  Well I see why now because my perfect plan was actually imperfect.  God’s was interrupting my plan.  But back then on April 29, 2010 then I just thought Satan was causing all these problems lol just like he did when we signed up for the classes and he stirred up drama in the family.  I had to blame someone and I definitely wasn’t going to blame God.   Anyway, I was bummed and after gathering my thoughts I decided to read the summary.  This email had a profile attached of a little girl named Kanda.  She was 5 ½ years old.  Her current foster placement was looking to stop fostering from what we were told.  Kanda’s case had been in the termination stage for about 8 months and she had already been in foster care for 2 years.  So here I was just living my perfect plan of fostering one child and becoming SNAP approved, just like we planned and all of a sudden I’m faced with a huge decision.  Kanda had been moved quite a bit in her life.  We didn’t want to say yes and then this not work out.  And we had told them we only wanted one child.   I read the profile of Kanda and I forwarded it to my husband’s email.  Later when I had time to pray my conversation with God was something like this “Oh no God.  You know that we are still adjusting to one child. You know God we said ONE!  Lord, you know that we both work full time, how can I take care of two children; take them to therapy, and different visits.  Then my tone turned to what if God we are the family you have for her and this little girl that is the forever child you have for us?  What if this is the only opportunity for this little girl to have a family?”  I was so busy ranting the reasons why this wasn’t MY perfect plan and what if’s that I didn’t even listen for God to answer any of my questions.  I was so shocked at the thought of TWO kids.  I mean on one hand I always wanted a big family, I wanted daughters so badly, I wanted to change a life, I wanted to give a child a normal life, and give them a loving family.  Was she the one?  I wondered if she would be our “forever” child.

 

Well I did what every woman would do; I called my….mommy, of course!  Lol!   I go to God, my husband, and then my mother in that order and I always talk to my mommy before I make any decisions.  It is biblical?  Maybe not but it’s just how I roll!  Side note:  from on my mommy is my “mummy”.  That “u” is not an “o” on purpose.  I call her mummy, not sure why but always have.  So you will see her as mummy and it’s not a typo.  But I called my mummy and of course she asked about the profile and what it said.  I still have the profile, that profile changed my life and Kanda’s.  Here is part of the description on that summary:  Kanda enjoys books being read to her, coloring, and playing with her dolls.  Kanda enjoys playing the memory card game, she is somewhat competitive.  Kanda enjoys the outdoors and has a spunky personality.  Kanda can be defiant at times; however she is not physically or verbally aggressive.  Kanda often becomes withdrawn and quiet when she gets into trouble.  Kanda has a lot of energy and is often talkative in the classroom.  Kanda is social with the children in her class.    Kanda can be very stubborn (I’ve learned that is an understatement lol).  Kanda does not always follow directions.  Kanda has experienced temper tantrums.  Kanda also is able to be redirected and does well with structure and consistency.  Kanda has a difficult time sharing but this has improved somewhat.  Kanda is able to follow rules.  Kanda does require a very structured setting with clear rules/consequences and positive praise.  Kanda does like to please the adults in her life.  Kanda often requires a lot of attention and reassurance.  My mom encouraged me to really pray about and that she would pray about it.  Jon and I prayed about it together.  Later I talked to my mom and she said she felt great about it.  And I just kept thinking that this could really be our “forever” daughter.  We decided we would say yes and allow God to handle the rest.  I had no idea the things that would occur after this but I emailed DCS two days later:

 

Hi XXXXXX,

Jon and I read Kanda’s file a couple of times and we have prayed and prayed about it.  We are interested in Kanda from what we read.  I just want to make sure this will not cause Olivia to be moved to another foster home.  I know they felt Olivia would be better suited in a single child home but as long as she is in care we would love for her to remain with us.

Thanks,

Kandice Campbell

A day later (the worker) replied:

 

I am very glad to hear you all are interested in Kanda.  I would contact Angela and find out what is going on with Olivia’s case.  We would not move her into another home before she transitions home!!!  Let me know what you find out.  Kanda will need to start visiting soon and will be ready to move after June 3rd when school is out. 

 

I will talk to you soon.  Kanda’s FCM is (omitting name).  I will let her know what is going on and have her email or call you all about a visitation and transition plan for Kanda.

 

Thanks for all you do,

Carrie

 

You will see from my next email about a day or so later I finally began to get excited.

 

Well we are very excited.  The more I think about it the more excited I get.  I would love to visit her and meet her.  I can’t wait to hear from Yvonne.  Thanks so much for sending us her profile.  I really appreciate.

Thanks,

Kandice Campbell

 

I’m not sure what really changed.  I believe God just changed my heart toward it all.  (The workers) reply:

 

I am so excited for you all!  Her foster family cares about her very much but they have a large family and do not feel they can give her the attention she needs.  I think you all will do great with her and she is very sweet but needs a lot of love and consistency!  I think you all might be the ones for Kanda!!!  :0) This should begin as a foster placement and you should not talk about permanency with her until we know if she is a good match for you and until termination is granted.  I hope (case manager’s name omitted) and (foster parent name omitted) get back to you soon!  If they do not please let me know and I will bug them until they do!!!   :0)

 

So it was a day to two later and we meet “Y” which I will use to refer to Kanda’s worker.  She was amazing.  The best worker I’ve ever met.  Her love for Kanda and the other kids on her case load showed.  She was bonded with each of them.  She wanted to see them be in the best situation possible.  She worked her tail off on all her cases but I watched her first hand on Kanda’s.  She had passion and determination.  The world needs more people like “Y”.  She will always have a special place in our hearts.  So I guess a day or two later I spoke with “T”, Kanda’s foster mother at the time to get some information about Kanda.  Then the next day we got to meet Kanda.  She was so shy and very quiet.  She didn’t say much to us.  Olivia was with us and Olivia was all up in her face trying to get her to be outgoing.  I have a picture of that day.  Olivia looked so sassy in that picture but Kanda she held her hands together in front of her and her big brown eyes looked so sad and empty.  I didn’t really know what to say to her.  She didn’t know why we were meeting her.  So after the visit we went home and talked.  Of course we agreed to more visits.  The next visit was at our house with her foster mom, then the visit following that one we took her out to eat and right back to her foster home.  And eventually on Memorial weekend we kept over for the weekend.  We gradually increased our time.  To be honest I was confused that it wasn’t an immediate connection like we had with Olivia.  Olivia was open, warm, and welcoming.  Kanda was reserved, had annoying habits of not listening or following directions, and was not letting anyone in.  Looking back I can see why.  She had been hurt and dealt with it differently than Olivia.  Well June 3rd rolled about and it was move in day for Kanda.  We went to the foster home and they had Kanda’s stuff packed.  We loaded it in our car and she seemed so scare and sad.  She had only known us a month and now she was moving, forever.  To this day she still has not seen the foster family that she left that day but she has fond memories of them.  They were very nice to her and gave her a photo album of her time there.  She had the most stuff I’d ever saw a foster child have too.  I could tell they cared for her well.  I had no idea what the future held from that point but there was one thing I knew for sure, God had PERFECT plan and it was not what I had planned at all….

 

I will continue on the next post about how I come to find out that Kanda and I were more alike than I realized.

 

“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly”

Sam Keen

Learning from imperfections

11 Jan

As I stated in the last post. I tend to be a perfectionist. Not a perfectionist with OCD but one who obsesses in her mind about something until it is done correctly. I stress about things as small as getting out the door on time up to big things like planning events for my team at work. As soon as one task is done I am on to the next. My mind is constantly racing. One task that occurs everyday is our morning routine. I try to keep us on a schedule. I have a routine that remains the same everyday but there is not one day that my Olivia can make it through the routine without some sort of event. Of course as much as I try to be perfect Olivia creates imperfect moments that throws off my routine. You see she is very smart but as smart as she is also scatterbrained. She is easily distracted and has a difficult time dressing herself. You would honestly think that after nearly three years I would be used to the imperfections. But being the one who seeks perfection I believe that I will get her dressing herself correctly. Yes I said dressing herself CORRECTLY. Yes she is 6. Yes she is book smart. Yes she has a quirt that drives me crazy most mornings. Here are a few examples of the quirt I am talking about. These are a few of the things Olivia has done while attempting to dress herself: She has put her head through the sleeve of her shirt instead of the hole for the head (more than once), she has put denim jeans on backwards and even buttoned and zipped them (only once thankfully), she puts dresses on upside down (a couple of times), she puts her clothes on inside out, she puts her shirts on backwards (too many times to count), and shoes are on the wrong feet 85% of the time. Now I know some of these things seem typical for a 6 ½ year old, right? Well that isn’t the most bazaar part. You will ask her “Olivia, can you guess what is wrong with the way you are dressed?”. Her reply after looking herself over “NO”. You think after taking 20 minutes to dress that everything would be on correctly but that isn’t the case for Olivia. Even after telling her what is wrong and you send her to fix it, she will come back at least once with it the same way she did it the first time. I often lose my patience because the perfectionist in me just takes over. I give the same lecture “Don’t you know how to dress yourself? You are smart Olivia Gabrielle! Do you know we are going to be LATE?!?!” She just stares at me blankly and then cracks up. Is that laughter I hear? What is funny I often wonder.. How can it be funny that we go through this everyday?! Well this morning was different. This morning she did something new. No, she didn’t get dressed correctly the first time lol. She wore a button up shirt and she put her head in between the first and fourth button And for the first time I decided to find humor in the situation. Most morning my thoughts go to how and why but not today. I found it so funny that I actually took a picture. You see since I have been trying to let go of perfection I am finding myself laughing so much more. I am finding that if I could just relax and allow these moments that Olivia dresses herself imperfectly become perfect moments to laugh at later then the stress would simply decrease in a lot of ways and I‘m learning that the girls sure have a lot more fun when their mother stops stressing over imperfections.

What things does your child or someone in your life do that you stress over and react negatively tos? What humor could you find in the situation to bring a smile to your face and theirs? I know that this morning Olivia and I had a good laugh over her shirt, then I took the time to fix it, and then we were out the door. And I’m happy to report I was also 15 minutes early for work. Maybe I should just find humor, snap a picture, forego the lecture, and simply fix the error. Yes, yes I should and I do believe this will be my reaction for now on. So funny how much children can teach their parents!

“The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake – you can’t learn anything from being perfect.” ~ Adam Osborne

My Perfect Little Imperfect World

2 Jan

Well I know the title might seem a bit odd to some folks so let me explain.  I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing.  I’m not the best at spelling, grammar, being “politically” correct, or even saying things correctly the first time but I love to write, talk, and share my life with others.  (Good thing I am now finding imperfection comical because I’m sure I will make a lot of mistakes while blogging.)  I think we can learn from each other.  I love reading other blogs about parenting because I love that moment when I don’t feel like I’m the only mom going through something or the only one that has a child that doesn’t listen or whatever the story might be.  I love relating to others.  So here is how my title came about.  You see from a very early age I liked things perfect.  I like things that are neat, clean, and simply “perfect”.  Although I am not a perfect person, I never have been and I never will be perfect, that is however what I always strive for.  Before becoming a mother striving for perfection was a much simpler task.  I was able to get somewhere on time, my house was neat, I had energy, and I could plan an event and everything went perfectly.  However the road to motherhood was not a simple task but hindsight I see it was a perfect journey.   To make a long story short, I met my husband when I was 15 years old, he was 20.  2 ½ year later we walked down the aisle and said I do about a month before my 18th birthday.  Six months later I decided (and convinced him) we needed to start a family.  Was I young, of course but ever since I was a little girl I knew all I wanted was to be married to a man like my father and to be a good mother just like my mother was.  At age 12, I told my mom I was going to adopt my kids even if I could have my own.  But my husband and I were not ready to explore adoption yet.  I assumed we would have a child or two on our own and then prayerfully consider adoption.  Anyway, my husband and I had no success of conceiving on our own.  Then we went through a rough period of time financially, we had relocated away from our families for his job, and with me battling depression which was later diagnosed as Bipolar and other trials which I might share later on if I feel the Lord leads me to.  During this time I was diagnosed with PCOS around the age of 20.  All 5 months of fertility treatments failed in 2005, a year later a private adoption failed in 2006, and eventually we decided we just needed a break.  During this break we found out that the Pastor of the church I attended as a teenager with my family was a Pastor at a church nearby.  We went and visited that church and immediate felt that we were exactly where God wanted us to be, where we needed to be.  Since that time I have been healed completely from bipolar and our financial situation is great.  Then God used my mom and close friends of ours to plant seeds in us to become foster parents.  We wanted children and they needed parents, it seemed that it would be a great way to make a difference in the life of a child until God’s timing for us to be forever parents.  It was no easy journey to become a foster parent nor easy to be a foster parent, and God truly blessed us along the way (I will share stories along the way).  We are now parents to our daughters, Olivia who turned 6 in July and Kanda who turned 8 in July.  We were blessed to be able to adopt our two daughters in July this past year.  Kanda’s adoption was July 18th and Olivia’s was July 24th.  As I look back over my life all the moments that I thought were imperfect at the time were God’s PERFECT will and his PERFECT timing.  And deep inside of me is embedded a perfectionist.  However, I’m learning that all the moments I stress out about making PERFECT and girls’ moments that make it seem imperfect at the time and different from what I envisioned it, is actually making PERFECT memories.  I know as I get older these PERFECTLY IMPERFECT moments will be the source of my laughter.  I can’t wait to grow old with my husband, sit on our porch in our rocking chairs, with my gray hair blowing in the wind, and for us to just sit and laugh about how PERFECT these moments really were.