Busy Baileys.

This entry was posted by KK on Friday, 10 December, 2010 at

We have been so busy here. It’s been a good busy, the kind that makes you feel good and that warms your heart. I love that kind of busy. We’ve not been shopping for Christmas one time and it’s already the 10th but I don’t care. I am so ready for things to slow down but when I say ‘slow down’ I mean fill our days with family fun like baking cookies, painting our nativity set I bought at the craft store for my boys to paint for me and finishing the decorating. We have our tree up but that’s about it. I am not complaining at all, really. I’m just sayin’.

So what have we been up to? Well, a couple of weeks ago our JJ started having visits with his birth mother. JJ has been in our custody for eight months and had not seen his birth mom in six full months to the day when DCS decided she could begin her visitations again. When JJ came to live with us he was a terrified, incoherent little baby who had been living his 15 months of  life in a drug induced, secluded run down hotel environment where he spent most of his days either sleeping all day or laying in his crib with a bottle. We learned this as we began realizing that at nearly a year and a half of age he had never experience a bath before (because he screamed uncontrollably every time we bathed him because it terrified him so badly), he had never eaten solid foods before (because he gagged every time I offered him a banana or cheerios) so I introduced him to baby food at 15 months of age and then began transitioning to solids, and because sunlight and loud noises were too much for him and he couldn’t take a lot of it. He wasn’t speaking one word. Despite the mound of age appropriate toys within his reach in his bedroom, he wouldn’t play with anything. For more than a month, I carried him everywhere I went. Fast forward eight months and you wouldn’t ever know he was that little boy. He has speech therapy twice a week where he now recites parts of his favorite books with his teacher, where he repeats almost any word on command and is now using words to try and communicate with us (such as ‘stop’ when we are tickling him and ‘wah-wah’ when he wants his cup of water). He will be two years old this month and has yet to use more than two words at a time and only uses a handful of words appropriately. He loves baths and calls them ‘tub tub’ instead of bath tub. He loves the outdoors and the sunshine. He is no longer afraid of loud noises but still has a lot of fear of abandonment and will not let me out of his sight for too long. He eats everything. I mean everything. And he eats so fast that he nearly chokes at every meal because he wants it in his tummy so fast he forgets to chew his food. He eats the same thing we eat at every meal. Along with speech therapy twice a week he attends a ‘Birth to Three’ program taught by Little Tennessee Valley Education Coop at Lenoir City Elementary School on Mondays and loves his teachers. He no longer cries when I drop him off but instead runs toward the mound of activities they have waiting for him. The child we have now is nothing like the child we received in April.

So take a child who was awakened to the world around him with a loving, caring family and who had not seen his birth mother in six months and try handing him over to her who he sees as nothing more than a complete stranger and this is what he and us have been subjected to the last two weeks. The first week, he screamed. He didn’t recognize any of the people trying to take him from me, who he knows as his mommy, and wasn’t in any way shape or form going to be left with them. I had no choice but to hand him to someone, tell him I loved him and would be back shortly, and walk out while he screamed with his arms outstretched towards me and crying ‘mommy’. Talk about heartbreaking. That day, when I returned to pick him up, he was overjoyed to see me and nearly jumped out of his birth mother’s arms and shouted very loudly “MOMMY!!” to me. What an odd position I was in but glowing on the inside. The second week it wasn’t much different although he didn’t cry much. As we entered the DCS office and he saw his birth mom and the visitation supervisor he quickly whipped around and laid his head on my shoulder gripping his fingers into my back very intensely.  His birth mom kept trying to take him from me and he wouldn’t have it. I was finally able to set him down on the floor and he walked toward the playroom when he recognized a DCS employee who had visited him several times in our home. Again, when I returned to pick him up, he was overjoyed to see me and jumped in my arms. To him, it is no different than dropping him off in the nursery at church. He doesn’t like it but knows he doesn’t have a choice and also knows I will return shortly and he is reassured by that. I hate this for him and I will admit that I hate it for myself, too. The system is broken. We know that. But this is the first time we have witnessed the system begin to fail a child and I have already made everyone at DCS aware that if they fail this child we are done. In the last year we have had seven children come through our home and six have returned. Successfully. The system worked for those children. This time it is different. I can’t be a part of it knowing there are children out there in other less fortunate countries who do not have government systems in place to protect them, clothe them and feed them and who possibly need us more than the children in our country who at all times are being taken care of by someone. So that’s that. We’ll see what the future holds. “Be STILL and know that I am God.” I chant it all day every day. It’s all I can do.

So aside from this addition to our already very busy schedule, I have with a friend been planning a Christmas party for CAPA, our foster parent association for Loudon and Monroe Counties. We have approximately thirty homes in these two counties and in each home is anywhere from 1 to 5 foster children at all times. We had about 70 folks RSVP. With money raised through our two fundraisers, we had a total of $868. How were we going to pull this off AND buy each child a gift that wasn’t just a piece of crap!?!? That’s when God stepped in. The vice principal at a local elementary school learned we were looking for a location and being an adoptive parent herself said she would let us use their gymnasium for FREE. which included basketball goals, a giant area for a bunch of wild kiddos to run for two hours, tables, trash cans…absolutely everything we needed! Also, the supervisor at our local DCS office attends a large church here in town who owned their very own bounce house and he arranged for us to borrow it for FREE. We received a $100 gift card donation from Wal-Mart to use toward the purchase of gifts and were able to spend $20 on each child….all 41 of them!! My friend Charity’s youngest adopted son, Mason, just had his first birthday party about a week ago and received way more gifts than he needed and two of some things so she provided gifts for about six of the very young children on our list by donating things he received at his party. This saved us so much money! Papa John’s gave us a great deal on 20 pizzas. Food City donated two dozen cupcakes leaving us to only have to pay for six out of the eight dozen I ordered. All the paper products and wrapping paper needed we purchased from Dollar Tree and saved a ton. Lastly, Charity’s father came wearing a borrowed santa suit and personally gave each child his/her gift. I stood beside santa for a little while and heard the children telling him things they wanted. One little boy said, “Do you remember seeing me at my school the other day?” It was precious. All in all, we fed and entertained about 70 people for little to nothing. We are in fact broke with only maybe $20 left in our account but we made a lot of kids really happy. To beat it all, because they are technically still in state custody although living with their grandmother for the last nine months, our three boys we had last winter (A, T & J) were able to come with their grandmother so our boys were so happy they got to play with them again. These boys all love each other so much. They’ll be brothers forever. I am attaching as many photos as I can without showing too many faces (I am not legally allowed to show faces). The faces you see are of those already adopted like my friend Charity’s blonde headed angel, Mason. I didn’t get one photo of her Kaden. For those of you who loved on our three boys last winter, you’ll enjoy seeing them almost a year later….perfect, happy and well cared for by their grandma. They’re amazing, smart, healthy & SO well behaved! Thank you to all who helped us sell tickets to our pancake breakfast and who helped in any other way make this a very successful and joyous event for so many children in distress.

Merry Christmas!

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