Monthly Archives:March 2010

Happy Spring Break

Your #1 Fan post on March 28th, 2010
Posted in Novalie, Personal

Head still above water!

Your #1 Fan post on March 25th, 2010
Posted in Personal

I am writing this with the sole purpose of hopefully helping someone else from making the same mistake.

My friend told me about an ad she saw in a local advertising paper where a girl was looking for someone to adopt her baby.  My response to my friend was something along the lines of…”that sounds fishy, who puts an ad in the paper to find a home for their child.”  I should have never strayed from those first “fishy” feelings.  But, I got sucked in fast and hard.  Here is how it happened.

I went home and read the ad.  After seeing it, I thought to myself that baby or no baby, this girl definitely needed help.  I felt sad for her and wanted to do anything I could to help her.  So, I responded to her and asked for more information.   “Jennifer” was her name.  Her baby was “Ashlee” and 9 months old.  She told me that it had taken her a good six months to come to this decision.  That she had attended adoption classes and been to counseling to help her with her decision.  She told me that the father was not supportive and had not helped her at all during the pregnancy and first 9 months.  Her parents were mad at her and wanted her to give the baby up for adoption as well.  She said she didn’t make her decision lightly but it was 100% what she wanted.  She said she just turned down a family because they had lied about their knowledge of adoption.  Let me just say she said a lot of things, all very very convincing.  She wanted to know about us.  So, after the first e-mail from her, I wrote all about us and also a “letter to birth mother” type letter (for those of you that know what that is).  At this point, I was still hesitant but I started to make up a story in my mind about this girl.  She obviously was uneducated by her spelling/grammar.  I started telling myself that drugs had to be a factor.  Trying to validate to myself why someone would put an ad in the paper for their baby.  Because of those reasons it made sense to me.

I didn’t talk too much about it.  I told Kevin about it (obviously).  We talked about it several times.  But, I didn’t let him know or see how very much invested I was in it.  The past few months we have tried other situations to add to our family and they have been unsuccessful, so I thought to myself, this is why.  Here is our miracle.  After much suffering and heartbreak the last 3 months (reasons much too personal to share here), this was it.  This was why we went through it all.  Oh how foolish was my thinking.

For 5 days, “Jennifer” and I exchanged e-mails.  I didn’t go anywhere.  I didn’t do anything except stare at my in-box.  She sent me “Ashlee’s” daily schedule, she shared personal stories and then….the pictures.  Oh my goodness, those pictures!  An adorable perfect chubby little blond hair blue eyed baby.  She told me “Ashlee” loved being in water and I knew she would fit in perfectly with our family.  She wanted us to take custody of her right away.  I had a lawyer chosen who specialized in guardianships and adoptions.  I knew we would have to get immediate temporary guardianship while the adoption process took place.  There was much much too much in our e-mails to share, but everything I wanted to hear, she told me.  I mean everything.  It was perfect (uh…big red flag).  Let me tell you, when your biggest desire in life is to add to your family, all judgements are clouded.  She told me she chose our family to adopt her baby.

I thought we were going to have a baby in a day or two.  I totally played it down to Kevin because I didn’t want to jinx it.  Then I returned from la-la land and realized I kept asking some important questions over and over again and had gotten no answers.  Important questions that the lawyer has to know.  We have been through this before, we know what we are doing.  I kept asking her to meet me at a neutral location in town (believing this whole entire time that she lived a town over from mine).  Then came the kick in the gut (more like a trampling from a horse).  She told me 4 months ago she had to move to ready….West Africa for a job.  Like it was no big deal.  She went on and on about the climate and how “Ashlee” has had a hard time adjusting to it.  It took me a few hours to accept what was happening and after Kevin told me he did some digging around with her e-mail address and found the exact same ad and contact information in an Australian paper.  Then I started researching adoption scams on-line and sure enough, where do the majority of scams take place….people saying they are from Africa.  And they are good.  REALLY, REALLY good.  I mean, I believed I was getting my second miracle baby with all my heart.  I let myself go there…..and I was devastated.  Puking, heart-physically-hurting devastation.

And then I laughed and laughed.  Seriously?!?  I mean seriously after everything else I have been through lately, what else could I do besides laugh.

I was thankful that we found out so soon (not soon enough for me to not be emotionally invested) and did not get financially invested.  I read a lot of adoption scam stories and families had lost everything.  Investing every single penny they had, taking 2nd mortgages out on their homes, only to lose their homes.  Sad, sad stories.  You have to understand that when you can not have children and you want more than anything to have children, you are surprised at the things you will do.  These evil people (I tell Novalie all the time that people aren’t evil, it is their choices that are evil….but these people, preying on childless couples….evil) know what they are doing.  They steal pictures from the internet – heck from blogs – and use them as the baby they are trying to find a home for.  They tell you everything you want to hear.  They are good at what they do.

One thing I was reminded of, is how much I absolutely love adoption and know that it is the right thing for my family.  You get to provide a child with a forever loving family and a happy, full life when otherwise, you know what happens to those children.  I have the love and heart for adoption.  Kevin does too.  And sweet little Novalie with her enormous heart does too.  It almost makes me brave enough to take on the messed up foster care system.  I love adoption.  I love that Novalie was adopted.  I love that I can embrace it with all my heart and know what a miraculous thing adoption is.

I also love that as soon as all this happened and the reality set in, I was able to say, “Heavenly Father, I need you to take away this pain and sadness right now.  This second, I need for it to be gone and left in the past.”  And He didn’t let me down.  I scooped up Novalie and kept living my life.  Like I said, I only share this for others to be informed because I didn’t know such evils went on every single day.   And I don’t want anyone else to have to experience it.  The journey to becoming parent is painful enough without things like this happening.

Math Update

Your #1 Fan post on March 22nd, 2010
Posted in Novalie

After our little fiasco on Saturday night with math homework, I decided to give Novalie the exact same math test that her teacher gave last week (she got 1 out of 24 correct) to see if she learned anything.  She got 100%.  I couldn’t believe it.  Sometimes, I just don’t understand kids! 

After talking with Novalie more about it, I learned that she really does understand math.  What she doesn’t like is the time pressure.  Her teacher times the tests and Novalie said she gets so nervous that she won’t finish the test in time, that she just starts writing numbers down.  Learning what the real issue was, I helped her with some ways to not worry about the time pressure.  I can’t wait to hear how her test went today.   

I was reminded that if Novalie is really that upset about something, there is usually a whole different issue behind the one you think it is.  I just have to remember to stay in tune and ask what is really bothering her.  Another lesson learned in the job of parenthood.

Math Meltdown

Your #1 Fan post on March 20th, 2010
Posted in Novalie

We were having a great Saturday.  Novalie went to a friend’s birthday party for a couple of hours this morning.  Which she walked to and from all by herself.  Any independence on Novalie’s part is praised highly by me because she is very dependent on me.  Novalie and I went on a 2 hour bike ride.  Novalie had a friend over for a couple of hours and I heard a lot of little girlie giggling.  Then we got Dairy Queen treats.  It was a fun day. 

Then it was time for math flashcards.  Poor Novalie.  Math just has not clicked in her little 6 year old brain yet.  I hope math is not a life long struggle for her.  I always excelled at math and struggled with reading.  Novalie is the opposite (so far).  Anyway, a couple times a week, her teacher gives the class timed addition and subtraction tests.  The first test Novalie got 100%.  Adding doubles which we used to practice every morning on our drive to school.  She memorized those fast with no problem.  But, concepts like if 6 + 6 =12, then 6 + 7 has to be 13, forget about it.  No matter how many times we go over the rule and even look at it from different angles (I have tried everything here), she just doesn’t understand it.  And when Novalie doesn’t know something right away, so looses focus and will do anything else but listen or concentrate on the problem.  Then, when I make her focus, a crying meltdown happens.  Then, she starts saying things like, “everyone else in my class gets 100%.”  That one I know is not true because I have helped other kids specifically with math while working in her classroom.  “Everyone will make fun of me because I won’t finish in time.”  “It is too hard for me.”  “I will never finish in time.”  “I won’t do good and my teacher will get mad at me.”  “I will be the last one in my class to pass this test.”  Ect. ect….you get the point.  I tell her she can learn anything she wants to if she puts in the time to practice.  I also tell her that she needs to only worry about herself.  What other kids in her class are doing is not her concern.  Heck, she can read circles around them.  Novalie can memorize anything.  So, maybe I just need to make her memorize the answers and the concept and understanding will come later.  But, everything builds from basic addition and subtraction.  Her teacher won’t let them use their fingers.  Novalie can do it if she uses that visual.  Sometimes when I need to add something quick, I have to think of my fingers in my head (hey, I am out of practice and getting old).  I will have to talk to her teacher to get an explanation on that one.  I get frustrated trying to think of a new way to help her understand, she gets frustrated because she isn’t catching on and it just turns into a meltdown on all accounts.  Grrr…Math! 

So, that is the way we ended our day.  However, it did end positive right before she closed her eyes.  I asked her, “do you belive in yourself?”  Her answer, “I believe in myself and Jesus believes in me, so tomorrow I will do better.”  That 100% she is eventually going to get will be such a sweet victory.  Tomorrow we (me included) will do better!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Your #1 Fan post on March 17th, 2010
Posted in Novalie

We got a visit from the leprechaun again this year!  He left gold (chocolate coins) all over the house for Novalie to find.  She was so excited when she got home from school to go on her gold hunt. 

For dinner we had the traditional green mashed potatoes.

Novalie asked me why we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.  I am sure I knew at one point, but I honestly don’t remember.  I told her I would look it up on-line and tell her in the morning.  For now she was satisfied with the reason of not getting pinched.  I mean that is the most important reason to wear green, right?!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!