In Which There Was A Team Meeting.

In which people made me feel like all the curse words.

A normal team meeting I would say, of course, missing some of the key players. Me, caseworker, caseworkers supervisor, and GAL were all in attendance. Mom is still completely missing. No one can get a hold of her or find her. After about 20 minutes of the same old conversation, which was really more like 20 minutes of everyone watching him play and saying about every 10 seconds just how cute he is, I brought up that Mike and I do not plan to adopt.

The GAL ripped into me. And into the caseworker.

"Why don't you want to adopt him?"
"Why in the world did we place him in a home that isn't legal-risk?"

And on and on.

I don't feel like I need to give my personal reasons as to why I don't want to adopt him. So I simply said, "Because we don't want to". And I never said that I wasn't open to it in the beginning! But things change, circumstances change, and if it's not right, it's not happening. I'm not gonna force something that isn't there.

So to sum it up, Luther needs to be moved "as soon as possible" because we don't want him "bonding to a family that doesn't want him". Sure. Great. I agree on all fronts. So move him. But next time you should try actually being nice. Foster care is hard. Being a foster parent is hard. And then being attacked because it's not everything that you dreamed it was going to be just plain sucks.

So right now the caseworker is taking a look at all family members. Which by the way, when a family member says "we just can't right now but we really, really wish we could", we don't believe you. Because if you wanted to, you would. Luckily for this little guy, I know that even if no one in his family decides to take him, there will be a couple ready and waiting to scoop him up. This child is the kind that foster parents dream of. He's under 2, has no siblings, no disabilities, and no behaviors.

Yeah I know, I'm still trying to figure out what is wrong with me, but in the mean time, we prepare to send this little guy on his way.


Foster Care Has Caused An Early Midlife Crisis.

Therefore, I'm now a blonde in an effort to test out the theory "Blonde's have more fun"...
Plus, I've always wanted to try being blonde. So bucket list item, check!


A Newborn

I became an aunt again. And what a sweet baby he his. Welcome to the family, Baby Austin. We love you to pieces already.

And in a few days, Mike's sister-in-law will be having a baby boy too!

Two nephews in one month. A lucky aunt indeed.


Surprise AKA I Shouldn't Be Surprised

The night before he was supposed to be moved, the uncle called the caseworker and said he would no longer be taking him. Because he was going to be starting school and because his wife is bipolar and wasn't taking her meds.

Oh geez.

So Dear Uncle, A week ago when you said that you would take him, were the circumstances any different? No. You knew that you would be starting school. And I'm sure a week ago your wife wasn't taking her meds. So next time you think you might want to make a decision that affects more than just yourself, can you keep your mouth shut until you've decided for sure? You know, like the, Is That Your Final Answer, kind of stuff?

And the icing on the cake?

Two weeks ago we show up for a visitation with mom and she doesn't show. We find out later that she didn't make it because she "wasn't feeling up to it". Then last week as we were about to walk out the door for visitation with mom, I got a call from the caseworker telling me that the visitation is canceled because mom had "to go pick up medication". So if she actually shows up to visitation this week, it will have been three weeks since she has since her little boy. When the GAL already has all her cards against you and is trying to get rights terminated, the last thing you want to do is to not show up to visitation for two weeks in a row with those kinds of excuses. But I guess that's why your kid is in foster care.

We still have no idea how this case will turn out or how long. Just taking it day by day and spending a lot of evenings at my sweet friend's house. Working, or dancing, or singing or talking. Just enough to keep me sane. Love you Brit!


Well Truth Be Told, I'm Still Just Not Loving It.

How strange to think this beautiful little 16 month old boy continues to melt the hearts of everyone around him except for mine. I told my mother-in-law that I must have no heart. She tells me I'm being too hard on myself but I'm not so sure. Our last placement just burned me. Three school aged kids. Two boys that fought non-stop. And I just wasn't ready to be a mom of three. Flash forward, and this placement should be a breeze. An adorable 16 month old that can be whiny at times, but other than that is such a good little boy. Today I held him before laying him down for a nap, and I looked into his dark eyes and gave him a big kiss and apologized to him for not wanting to keep him forever. As I lay him in his crib, he gave me a smile. So tired and so happy to finally be in his bed. And I walked away and thought, there is seriously something wrong with me. How can I not love him? How can I not be wrapped around his little finger?

We got word that he may be leaving us this week. There is an uncle that has come forward that wants him. I'm ashamed to say that I cheered a bit when I found out. Not that my opinion matters when it comes to kinship, but he's better off there. I've done a bit of my own investigating on Facebook and he seems like a great option for this little boy. If he can't be with his mom right now, then his uncle is the next best thing.

But of course, communication is always so terrible when it comes to the GAL and DCFS and the foster parents, so I'm not quite sure when and how things will actually come to an end.

But Mike and I have officially decided that this is it for us and foster care. Our license is up in February and we plan to let it expire. It's hard knowing that something that you were so excited for and did so much work for is now coming to an end. And I truly wish it was a happier ending for us. But I guess it just wasn't part of the plan.

But on a much more adorable note, I'll leave you with a photo of our little Charlie Brown.


Mostly I Feel Like People Don't Understand Me

But mostly it is because I act a lot different on the outside than how I actually feel on the inside. I feel like Mike gets me. And when I say "gets me", I mostly think that he gets me but he doesn't actually understand why I do the things that I do. But mostly I don't expect anything different. He is a man, after all. And I am a woman, after all.

And I have a lot of people in my life that mostly get me. And I love them for trying so hard.

But mostly it's this world. We live in this world of expectations. We live in this world of censorship. We live in this world of political correctness.

And mostly, I just like to keep the peace. I hate offending people. Mostly to the point of censoring myself. Mostly to the point of keeping up appearances. Mostly, just so I don't disappoint the people around me.

And these days, I'm feeling more lost than ever. And mostly, I wish that people would drop the expectations. Because at this point, I'm just winging it.


Part Deux

We had never actually changed our minds about being on hold. Our most recent placement left in March and we were really enjoying being "empty nested". I had started doing some very flexible very part time work for my neighbor that owns a small business. My workouts were getting better, I was keeping up with laundry, I still hardly got around to making dinner (some things will never change, poor husband). We were happy.

We had started getting emails from our resource family consultant (RFC) about children that had come into care that needed a home. She was sending these emails to all empty, licensed, foster homes, whether they were on hold or not. DCFS is in desperate need of homes right now. Each email that we had gotten was overwhelming. Young sibling groups with behavioral problems. Our last placement really taught me my own personal limits as a foster parent, so accepting sibling groups was definitely not something I was open to. But because of the desperate need that we knew that DCFS was in, we had told our RFC that if they were absolutely desperate and couldn't find a home, they could let us know if a child that fits our profile came into the system and then we could have a discussion. But technically, we'd like to remain on hold.

Well because of their dire need, a phone call came not shortly after. At 5:30 pm on Mike's birthday, September 25, we were just leaving The Museum of Ancient Life when Mike received a phone call. They told us a 15 month old child was being pulled from another foster home and that they needed a home for him that night. Happy Birthday Mike! She told us all the information that she knew about the child. Our understanding was that he cries all the time unless he's being held or has a bottle in his mouth. He hates cribs. He hates baths. Mom is working on reunification. Dad is basically a loser being shipped out of state. There is some family in the valley but they haven't returned phone calls. The child has been in the system since mid-September and is being pulled from the other foster home because the constant crying has become an issue with their other child. So with this mild yet terrifying description, on the spot we decided to take him in. We rushed home from the museum to put the car seat in the car. And then found out we wouldn't be getting him until 7:30 pm so we ran out for a quick happy birthday dinner for Mike. But we were both so nervous and terrified that we probably should have just opted for takeout.

At 7:15 pm the caseworker knocked on the door with the sweetest little boy in her arms. These poor kids, I can't imagine what goes through their heads as they get passed around from person to person. And she was right, when she passed him over to me, oh how he screamed. After a few minutes he calmed down and then I passed him to Mike and the screaming started all over again. It seems so surreal when the caseworker leaves. 10 minutes ago I was enjoying my non-parenting life. And just like that, the caseworker comes and leaves and drops off  a child in the process. BAM. Full time parent.

After we all calmed down a bit, and ran to the store to pick up some of the necessities, we decided to tackle the bedtime routine. Which we were told he hated. Well that kid loves the bath! And we put him in the crib where he cried for maybe 3 minutes and then slept straight for 11 hours! We found out later that the last foster home was a bit chaotic and they didn't speak English. So no wonder he cried all the time.

We've learned a lot about this little boy in the few days he's been with us. Like he is a rock star sleeper, naps and bedtime. He doesn't cry all the time. He is super stubborn. He loves to eat. He also loves to whine. And overall, he's pretty cute.

I'm still learning about myself. Like even though we have a small, mild-mannered child, I'm still not all that quite sure that I'd like to be a parent. Still a lot of self-discovery that needs to be had.


Another Birthday, Another Decade

To my sweet husband on his birthday....that was last Friday....

Thanks for being the coolest. And for marrying me.

30 looks real good on you.

We spent the day playing all over the place, including: The Hogle Zoo, the ropes course up at the Olympic Park in Park City (pictured above), the Snowbird tram, and Thanksgiving Point Museum of Ancient Life. Oh and getting another foster child. But that's a different story for a different day.



From the moment you get married and create yourself that little, newlywed family, you suddenly have all desire to make your family your own. You incorporate all the little quirks that you've learned growing up, while your spouse does the same, and eventually you figure out your own little place. This place where your family fits together like the pieces of freshly cut puzzle. I'm still not quite sure what picture our puzzle pieces have created, but I do know that in one little corner, we have ourselves a couple of pieces dedicated to traditions.

See, we're a little different when it comes to traditions. We've got those that we always do, but more so because of holiday extended family celebrations and though they are great, they were traditions that were inherited, instead of created by us. But then we've got the traditions that are us, through and through. Thought of and carried out by our little family. A tradition around these parts is something that we enjoy doing together, that we have done more than once, and that we plan to continue. There really is no timetable or obligation. We have traditions because they are enjoyable. Not because they are required.

One of our traditions is going to Yellowstone. The lengthy explanation was needed because this tradition has only been carried out three times over the course of an eight year marriage. As we all know, life gets in the way, and I could list a bunch of excuses why we have missed five of the eight summers, but I don't need to. See explanation of our traditions above.

And guys, Yellowstone has the greatest camping in all the land. Groomed campsites, flush toilets, showers, gas stations, convenience stores. That's my style of camping. Minus the grizzly that wanders through the campgrounds every couple of weeks. I could do without that.

Now, pictures!

My camping crack aka Muddy Buddies

We were hiking and had to jump off the trail to let this guy pass. 

Fairy Falls

Took 300 steps down to see the Lower Falls up close and personal. And then we had to hike back up....

Dinner over the fire.

My favorite man in one of my favorite places, the Grand Tetons!


The Chickens and the Eggs

In an effort to become a healthier person (let's not talk about the fact that for dinner tonight I made jumbo chocolate chip cookies) about a year and a half ago, I totally revamped my diet and exercise routine. I was tired of the non-stop cardio and 1200 calorie diet. So I started doing some research. I started weight lifting as my primary source of exercise and I started eating much differently. One of those differences was a huge upswing in my protein intake. One of my favorite sources of protein quickly became eggs. Which I guess is lucky because I guess people really get burnt out on eggs as a main source of protein? I don't know, I don't get it. Anyway, I started eating about 12-14 eggs a day, mostly in egg white form. As you can imagine, the amount of eggs I had to buy each week was huge.

Then one day, Mike had a conversation with his cousin. His chicken-owning cousin. And a week later we were building a chicken coop. In February, we purchased 10 baby chicks. We kept them in a small pen in our basement for a few months until they were big enough to be moved outside. Unfortunately, the move outside resulted in one casualty when a dog got a hold of one of our pretty white ones. (Don't even ask, I'm still traumatized.) So now we sit at 9 chickens. We finally started getting eggs in July, and we currently get about 8 eggs a day. My habit of eating eggs has dropped, so I don't eat quite has many as I used to, but I still manage to keep up with the daily layings of my chickens.

I am not really much of an animal person at all. Pets are pretty much disgusting and I like the zoo because animals are in cages. (Oh, I can hear the uproar of my opinions already...) But I can tell you, I freaking love my chickens. And not just because they give me yummy treats each day in the form of eggs. It's like having 9 little babies that I get to keep out in a cage in the backyard, and not even my backyard, my in-laws backyard (city code and all that....) and I get to go feed them and hold them when I please but other than that, very few demands! Aw, the best kind of pet!

And here are some pictures of my 9 feathered babies.


And for those wondering, we did name a few of them. We've got Sharon (the white one), Fiero (the orange one, also the one in the picture Mike is holding above....she's the friendliest of the 9), we have Ariel (a black chicken with red feathers on her head). The black and white chickens are our racists. They kinda stick to themselves and their kind and are the least friendly of the bunch. The rest look too much alike so they don't get names. 


Today I Just Don't Want To Do.

Today I have to say goodbye.
Because tomorrow is the day that my family has dreaded for the past 4 months. But truly, probably for the past 18 years.
For the next 2 years, my family is becoming a little incomplete, in hopes that my brother has an experience that will help him feel a little bit more complete.
Tomorrow he leaves to serve a church mission in Armenia.
For 2 very long years. Skyping only on Mother's Day and Christmas Day.
I'm so proud of him. So glad he has made this choice to serve.
Baby of the family. First and last missionary of the family. We've never done this before.
I'm not one to wish the days away, but in this instance, if I could completely skip the next two years, I would.
If it meant that he would be home.
And who knew how absolutely difficult this experience would be.
However, after all the tears are shed and the swollen eyes are covered in layers of makeup, how exciting for him to be able to spend the next 2 years having an experience that will help shape the rest of his life.
I can't wait to hear about the people and food and sights of Armenia.
I can't wait to hear about his first baptism or about the incredible members.
But mostly, I just can't wait for July 2017, when he comes home.
Love you and miss you, Bridge.


Friends Come and Go.

And I'm so grateful when they come.
And to be honest, there have been times in my life when I've been glad to see them go.
But these two.
We were so lucky to have met them pretty quickly after moving to Oklahoma.
He was preparing to attend dental school at OU and Mike had just started law school at OU.
He is from Oklahoma, and it just so happens that she was originally from California but her parents had just moved to Utah.
Years later, we've settled in Utah, minutes from where her parents live.
He's just graduated from dental school and they are moving their way across the country to settle in Nevada.
Lucky for us, they are spending a few weeks here in Utah.
We love when they come to visit and can't wait to be able to come visit them in Nevada.
Todd and Karen, we just love you guys.
So proud of all you have accomplished.
Thanks for partying with us around the fire in the snow-capped mountains last night.
Lets do it again soon, eh?



It's incredible, this thing called marriage.
Day in, day out with you, best friend.
The thick. The thin.
The downright dirty.
All while containing the greatest of life's beauty.
I can truly say that in these incredible 8 years together, I have never been happier.
And much of that joy is thanks to you.
Heaven sent me one of the great ones.
There has never been a luckier girl.
Happy anniversary. I love you.


The Best Way to Travel

In March, Mike had to go on a business trip and he invited me to tag along.
What a nice guy, am I right?
We spent 2 days in Napa Valley and then made our way down to San Francisco and spent a few days. It was my first time to both Napa and San Fran,
so we made sure to be the ultimate tourists and see the sites.
What we learned quickly is that Napa, in March, doesn't have any sites.
The vineyards are in their early spring phase, which means ugly, and we don't drink wine, which is really the only reason people travel to Napa Valley.
Lucky for me, the resort was spectacular with an adults only pool (puuuurrrreee heaven) and the nicest hotel gym I've ever seen.
I spent my days exercising, laying by the pool and shopping while Mike spent his time in a conference.
And that was the moment that I learned that traveling alone, or via my spouse's work trip is the very best way to travel.
Especially when it's a sunny 70 degrees with not a single breeze.

San Francisco was a really quick two days, but we were able to cram everything in that we wanted to do.
One of the days, we rented bikes and biked across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito.
Mike hates all things bikes and bikers, so he pretty much spent the day as Debbie Downer, while listening to me say, "Isn't this so fun?" every few minutes.
Oh the things you do for love.
Of course we made sure to hit up Ghirardelli Square, the Painted Ladies, Pier 39, and Lombard Street.
Our second day we spent wandering around Alcatraz, which besides laying by the pool in Napa, was the highlight of our trip.


Super good job at focusing the camera, Mike. But I guess Lombard Street is the point.....

Even though it was a quick trip, we were glad to come home.
The more we visit big cities, the more realize we don't much like big cities.
Particularly San Francisco.
Glad we went.
Glad to have done all the tourist-y things so that we don't ever have to go back.
And glad that his firm paid for most of it.


A Baby Brother and a Mission Call

On March 12th, my baby brother, the only brother I have, the youngest of six children, the only one of us to choose to go on a mission.....received his mission call.
Because these days, boys are now receiving their mission calls while still in high school, the opening of mission calls has turned into quite the party.
Amongst all the family members, my brother invited 30 or so of his closest friends and neighbors.
An hour before, my mom and I raided the shelves at Costco and returned with all kinds of treats for everyone to snack on while they socialized.
My sister took the party to the next level by bringing her large maps of the United States and the World and had everyone put a post-it on the location they think he would be serving.
The winner would receive a gift card!

I guessed he would go to Holland. Mike guessed Ghana.

In fact, out of the many people that were there, not a single person guessed correctly.

Bridger was called to the Armenia Yerevan Mission. Armenian speaking.

I was assigned the task of skyping with my younger sister who lives in Arizona.
The beauty of technology so we can all feel together without actually all being together.
And of course, a picture of the baby, because babies are the cutest.

We are so excited that Bridger has made the decision to serve a mission.
I start tearing up every time I talk about it out loud.
I am so excited for him to go.
But I am way more excited for him to come home.
Two years can't go by quick enough.


What's a Foster Family?

Even though I don't have children of my own,
many people who choose to do foster care, do have children and face the dynamic of bringing another child into the home.
While the parents may feel that this is necessary for their family for whatever reason,
some children may not understand what foster care even is.

Anne Garboczi Evans is the author of the children's book, What's a Foster Family?
When Anne and her husband decided to become licensed as foster parents,
they worried how they would teach their then 2 year old son about it.
She looked for books that would assist her but she found that there were no picture books about foster families.
So why not just write one herself?
The book, What's a Foster Family? takes you through the story of a family that decides to do foster care.
It shows the emotions behind the coming and going of children in their home.
It also gives explanations as to why there are children that come to live with us for only a short time.

I really like this book!
Even though I don't have kids myself, I know that explaining the concept of foster care to young children can be difficult.
This book is great for young children giving them just the information that they need to understand what foster care is.
And it's not just for families that are bringing foster children into their homes, but for everyone.
This book will help nieces, nephews, and any child that may be friends with a foster child, like their classmates or those who live in your neighborhood.
I know that when my kids left a few weeks ago,
the friends that they had made, particularly the 5 year olds friends, struggled with the concept of why they had to leave.
To a 5 year old on the outside, I was the mom, and it didn't make sense to them as to why they would need to leave and go be with a different mom.

With the colorful illustrations and the concepts easily explained, this book is a must have for foster families everywhere.
This book can be purchased on Amazon which I will link right here.

And a big thank you to Anne Garboczi Evans for creating this beautiful story.


It's Now Been A Week...

...since the kids have been gone.
At this point it almost feels like they were never here. I knew that would happen.

Saturday was weird.
The new foster family did not come pick them up until 3:00 that afternoon.
The night before, the boys slept over at a friends.
We spent the morning packing up.
And then some lunch at McDonald's.
And some goodbye's to some of our family members.

3:00 came and the new foster family pulled up.
We loaded up the cars with all their stuff.
It was so surreal.
The kids hopped in the cars before we got the chance to say a proper goodbye.

So here's the thing.
I may sound insensitive when I talk about not being attached to the kids.
But those kids, they were not at all attached to us either.
I had to get them out of the cars to even give them a hug.
I did notice perhaps that the 5 year old got a bit emotional once she realized what was actually happening.
But she's not a crier.
And there wasn't a tear shed. By any of us.
When they pulled away, and Mike and I walked into our empty house, my first words were,
"I'm so confused."

You see, even though I knew and expected everything that happened, I didn't know how to feel.
I did feel like I was holding back some tears.
Yet, I felt completely relieved.

Every day, at the end of the day, I do a self-evaluation.
I guess you could call it getting in touch with my feelings.
Do I miss kids?
Not just those kids, but do I miss having kids?
So far, I'm 7 out of 7 days of no.
I don't miss kids.

So our foster care license is active.
But we are on hold.
We have no idea how long we'll keep ourselves on hold. Or if we'll ever go off.
But for now, we are happy. And we are free.


The Answer

Then heavens opened, and our prayers were answered.
And angels were definitely singing the Hallelujah Chorus.

Dreadfully long story short, Grandma and Grandpa broke the cardinal rule.
Therefore making it so that the kids can no longer go live with them.
We all kind of expected things to end up this way, so we're glad they did so quickly before the kids were moved.
Luckily, the back up plan was ready to jump into full swing.
And so it did.
Within days of finding out that the kids could no longer live with their grandparents, they were meeting their foster-to-adopt family.
At first it took some convincing of the kids.
But after that first overnight visit, the kids were sold on the new family.
And they are moving tomorrow.
I asked them yesterday if they like the new family more than they like Mike and I.
There response was so childlike. "Kind of".
But if you could have seen their faces when they said it, you would know they actually meant to say YES!
Which is totally okay.
Really, I'm glad they like the new family more than Mike and I because that's where they are headed.
The 5 year old has mentioned a few times that she is going to miss us.
But I think she'll make the transition easily.
And the boys? Oh, they'll be fine. They'll miss their friends more than Mike and I.
And they are so social, they'll have new friends within 2 weeks, I'm sure.

My reply to their "Kind of" response was "That's great. But we were okay right? We taught you some good things, right?"
"Tell me one thing that you learned from us."
And without missing a beat, the 11 year old replied back, "Priorities. Homework before friends."
It was music to my ears, you guys.
Then the 9 year old chimed in, "Oh and to be nice. And wash your hands for 20 seconds after you come home from school."
I think we won.
Because really, that's all I cared about.
We got each of the kids a gift to give to them tomorrow before they go.
We got them each a book.
Just a book to read. A novel for each of the boys.
A book with pictures of Christ for the 5 year old (to honor that recent obsession because might as well, right?)
Because reading is important. And books and school and trying. It's important.
And they learned that from me!


I Don't Want To Be Remembered.

They all say, "But they'll remember you".
But that isn't what matters to me.
You see yesterday, we were in for the biggest shock of this foster care experience.
After 9 months of these kids being in our home.
After all the kin saying that they just couldn't take them.
Suddenly, Grandma and Grandpa have decided that they want the kids.
Which is just a joke, if you knew these people.

I've spent the last 9 months teaching them that they actually do need to brush their teeth.
That wiping your bum when you go potty is important.
And that you put the toilet paper in the toilet, not in the garbage can. (It's that third world country mindset, because Grandma and Grandpa aren't American.)
And you wash your hands. Frequently. Including after you use the bathroom.
That you don't curse.
That you should be saving for college.
All things that they have had to learn since being here, because grandma and grandpa have taught them otherwise.

We took kids out of a hopeless situation.
We put them in a hopeful situation.
And now, we send them back to a hopeless situation.
Because apparently that's the kind of future that the state of Utah wants these kids to have.

So Grandma and Grandpa don't speak English.
And the five year old is learning to read.
Who is going to help them with their homework?

So Grandma and Grandpa don't have a car, and can't drive anyway.
I sure hope that the kids never, ever get sick, because no one will be able to take them to the doctor.
Relying on the bus system may be fine for your weekly grocery shopping, but sudden things happen when you have kids and you have to be able to take care of them.

Grandpa is in a walker. He can hardly function as it is.
That was one of the main reason's they wouldn't take the kids from the beginning.
Grandma and Grandpa are too old and Grandma has to take care of Grandpa.
Good luck taking care of three rambunctious children too.
Until they are all 18.
No skipping out early.

Government assistance. Enough said.

I just don't understand.

The only thing that is good about this is the children love their grandparents.
Emotionally, this will be great for them.
What these children don't understand is that because of this decision, they will be completely different people than they could have been.

I'm not the only one that is upset.
Everyone involved in the case that has actual contact with the children thinks this is ridiculous.
The caseworker, the CASA worker, the Guardian Ad Litem.
The committee that made this decision doesn't know these kids.
They don't know the grandparents.
They don't know all the sad and disgusting habits that were created by Grandma and Grandpa and that took months to break.
They don't seem to know that the 5 year old could only count to 4 when she came here.
That she didn't even know what the ABC's were.
How would she when the people around her don't speak English.
And the boys. Oh the boys. They were doing so poorly in school.
They have learned so much and their reading skills have improved tremendously.

It was just funny.
In court yesterday, the Guardian Ad Litem presented this decision to the judge.
Grandma and Grandpa have to move because currently they live in a small 2 bedroom apartment in elderly housing.
Assistance will need to be setup because Grandma and Grandpa will not be able to help the children with their homework because they can't speak English.
They don't have a car, nor can they drive.
All these things the GAL said to the judge, and the judge didn't even blink an eye.
While I'm sitting on my bench screaming on the inside.

But to put the icing on the cake, the kids requested that Grandma and Grandpa be moved (because you know, state housing and all) so that they can attend the same school and keep their friends.
And the judge ordered that the caseworker at least try.
Hey, I'm a big believer in freedom and stuff, but over my dead body will you be moving to my side of the valley.
Let me remind you that these kids are 11, 9 and 5.
They know where I live. They know how to get to my house.
And you think I'm going to have Grandma and Grandpa and all the other loser relatives and parents knowing where I live too?
We'll move.
Won't even hesitate for a second.
But isn't it ridiculous that my life will have to be uprooted for this idiotic decision?
Our saving grace will be that Grandma and Grandpa will say no.
That will make them farther away from their family.
Which means farther away from their interpreter and their access to a vehicle.
Plus, welfare isn't as prominent on this side of the valley. Which is their livelihood.

So I'm fuming.
If you can't tell.
It doesn't change anything for Mike and I.
We still don't want the kids.
And we still expect them to be moved by March 7th.
But just because I don't want them, doesn't mean that I wanted them to fail.
It doesn't mean that I wanted them to regress.
I still hoped for their future. And now it's gone.

They all say, "But they'll remember you".
I don't want them to remember me.
I want them to remember to wash their hands.
To save for college.
To do their homework.


Today We Sent An Email.

The email that I thought I would never send. The email that makes me like a failure.
The email that also makes me happier than I've felt in a long time.
The email that says they have until March 7th to move the children.

Here's the thing. It's not just about us.
I could go on and on about how this match of us and the kids is just not working,
and how I'm exhausted being a mother of three kids that aren't mine,
or I could reference you back to all the blog posts from May 2014 until now.

But the kids. Oh the kids. They are starting to lose it.
The meltdowns have increased.
The tears wept seem to be soaking t-shirts and pillows all over the house.
My 11 year old tells me he just wants to be with family.
And I hugged him. And guys, he hugged me back.
Laid his head on my shoulder and hugged me back.
I know, buddy, but you just can't be with family right now. It was heartbreaking.

We have another court date in just over a week,
where the caseworker is supposed to show up with a plan.
A laid out plan, a timeline if you will,
for the kids to be placed in a permanent home.
But we all know, she's not going to have a plan.
So for the sake of the children, and our own sanity,
Mike and I will be forcing her into a plan. Which must be executed by March 7th.

Our hope is that she will jump into action and get these kids a home so that they won't have to be moved multiple times.
It is not our intention to have the kids move from foster home to foster home.
According to the information provided to Mike and I,
which may or may not be accurate,
she has several families that seem to want the children and it's just a matter of presenting them to committee so that a family can be chosen.
Then a few visits later, the kids should be making a permanent move.
We hope that we've lit a fire under them.
Because these kids need to be where they are going to be forever, as soon as possible.
They can't handle the uncertainty much longer.

I've been told several times that their behavior is "normal".
The meltdowns are all in reference to the fear that the children have about their future mixed with the anxiety of their past.
I understand that. I took classes on that.
What I want to know is why they aren't doing anything about it.
Just because it's normal behavior, does not mean that we should continue to let the children suffer. Let's fix it.
The caseworker may not be here each and every day to see the trauma that the kids are going through, but I am.
I get to hear that they hate being here.
I get to hear that they just want to be with mom and dad.
I get to deal with the fighting, and the screaming, and the crying.
So I guess it's only natural for me to want to force the caseworkers hand all in an effort to get her to see the enormity of the situation.


Ice Fishing

Of all the fishing trips we take, whether high up in the beautiful Utah mountains, or at the local fishing pond, we never catch a fish.
I think it's the curse of us all going fishing together, us and Mike's family.
But it won't stop us from going.

This time was particularly awesome because it was my first time ice fishing.
Which is truly, much better than regular fishing, assuming fantastic weather, in which we had.

And now pictures. Of people. Not fish. Because remember, we don't catch fish.