Wendy’s $1 Frosty Key Tag Is Back!

Wendy’s $1 Frosty Key TagAs you know, Daffy was a part of the “Wendy’s Wonderful Kids” program. I fully support their mission and wanted to let you know about their latest promotion from Wendy’s! Through mid-April, you can buy a Frosty Key Tag for $1 while supplies last, which will get you a free Jr. Frosty every time you present the tag with your purchase through August.

All proceeds benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, an organization that helps children waiting in foster care find loving homes. Through Wendy’s support of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, more than 4,000 children in foster care have been adopted. Last year, Wendy’s raised $450,000 during the key tag promotion, and hopes to raise $1.3 million this year.

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The Perfect Parent, Part 2

You don’t have to be perfect, to be a perfect parent. There are thousands of kids in foster care that will take you just as you are. For more information on how you can adopt, visit http://adoptuskids.org/

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The PERFECT Parent

You don’t have to be perfect, to be a perfect parent. There are thousands of kids in foster care that will take you just as you are. For more information on how you can adopt, visit http://adoptuskids.org/

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Project Linus | How You Can Help Kids In Foster Care

Project LinusAre you familiar with Project Linus? I had the opportunity to see this organization’s effects directly last month. We got the call to care for Jack Jack on a Thursday morning and by that evening we were foster parenting an adorable little 10 month old boy for a week. Our state office was able to provide us with the essentials to care for him… a Pack N Play, a couple outfits, diapers, wipes and formula. Thanks to the awesome people who give their time to the efforts of Project Linus, Jack Jack also received this beautiful handmade quilt!

I had heard of Project Linus in the past, but honestly had never given it much thought. My passion is foster care and I don’t know how to sew so Project Linus didn’t seem to be a good match for my skills. After receiving this blanket, I contacted my local Project Linus chapter and have offered my non-sewing skills including my time and graphic design skills.

Did you know that there are several ways you can get involved?  The local chapters not only collect and distribute blankets but they also organize several blanket-making events throughout the year. Project Linus chapters depend on volunteers to help in every facet of their activities and are always welcome to a “helping hand.”

If you happen to be crafty,  all blanket styles are welcome, including quilts, tied comforters, fleece blankets, crocheted or knitted afghans, and receiving blankets in child-friendly colors. (Always remember that blankets must be homemade, washable, free of pins, and come from smoke-free environments due to allergy reasons.)

I know that not everyone is called to become a foster parent, but everyone can assist children in foster care. Project Linus is just one more way you can help children in care!

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Please Help Together We Rise With Your Vote!

Together We Rise

Dear Friends,

Your vote will give Together We Rise the opportunity to win $25,000 which will help them prevent kids from moving from home to home in a trash bag. Please take the time to vote for Sweet Cases at this link! You can cast up to 10 votes each day (all ten can be for the same cause) from April 4th through April 22nd. 

What is the mission of your cause?

To transform the way kids in our community experience foster care.

How would you use the $25,000 to address an unmet need in your community?

Our cause would focus on providing youth in foster care with duffel bags and suitcases in order to prevent them from traveling from home to home with only trash bags to carry their belongings. Every day, almost 1,600 kids enter the foster system in America, most with only two trash bags. In Los Angeles, there are roughly 30,000 foster kids which is one of the largest in the entire U.S. These kids deserve more than a trash bag, they deserve something to call their own. 100% of the funds will be used for goods that will directly benefit these kids and not for staffing or overhead. It is our desire to utilize these funds specifically to buy duffel bags, suitcases, teddy bears, hygiene kits, and other items. We want to provide over 1,000 kids in foster care with our suitcases.

Please share this with your friends and family because only the 40 causes with the most votes win!

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The CASA Update

CASAI am sad to report that I will likely not reach my personal goal of becoming a CASA volunteer this year. I had hoped that if I had my name removed from our foster care license, this would remove the conflict of interest. Unfortunately, our local office decided that since Mickey would still hold HIS license and we are married, that it would still be a conflict. I’m not willing to get divorced, lol, so my goal is on the back burner until we decide to officially close our license. (I think we will probably renew our license this summer so that we can continue to do respite.)

The person I emailed with earlier this month said there may be ways I can volunteer with the CASA organization without being an actual CASA Volunteer. She passed my name along but I have yet to hear anything. I will follow up with them soon, as I am eager to feel useful.

Have you ever considered becoming a CASA Volunteer? I would encourage you to visit their website and explore how you can make a difference in the life of a foster child.

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Check out The Adoption App

AdoptionApp-Checklist-e1350313275560.pngI recently had the chance to test The Adoption App, a new app for the iPhone/iPod/iPad. The Adoption App was created by Sharon Simons, an Adoptive Mom who, after successfully navigating the rigors and challenges of the adoption process, decided to craft an app to make the adoption process much easier for others.

If only this app had been available at the beginning our journey…. it’s packed full of great information that every pre-adoptive parent should be armed with …whether domestic infant adoption, adoption from foster care or international adoption! From a calendar to organize all of those important meeting dates to a checklist filled with valuable information about the many required documents. It even includes links to information by state! I was thrilled to see that the check list can be edited so it can be tailored to your specific case or agency requirements.

I would highly recommend this app to any family looking into adoption! To have this kind of organization available at your fingertips is worth far more than $4.99!

For more information about this awesome new app, visit www.theadoptionapp.com.
Note: I did receive a test version of this app to facilitate my review. The opinions here are my own and are not influenced by any other person. 

Beautiful Blogger Award

Finding my name listed among such fabulous adoption and foster care bloggers for the Beautiful Blogger Award from Living Loving and Letting Go was a real treat! I started this blog to chronicle our personal journey, but along the way have met so many amazing people and have realized that I have a story worth sharing, a story with value, and at moments like this, when I am recognized by a virtual stranger, I realize the far reaching impact that my words can have. I do not take this responsibility lightly.

As a part of accepting this award, I have to list seven interesting facts about me, and list seven of  the blogs I follow in order to nominate them for the Beautiful Blogger Award, so here goes!

Seven Interesting Facts

  1. I was *almost* a reality star!
    I was contacted in 1998 by Lifetime TV about doing a reality series that would follow the reunion between myself and my birth father. Unfortunately the pilot episode never got picked up, so the series never happened. It would have been amazing to have documented such an incredibly intense part of my life, but it was not meant to be. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone but I was also contacted in 1996 or so by the Geraldo producers to be on a show about people who don’t get along with their mothers-in-law. I definitely fit that category, lol, but she refused to go on the show because she had no interest in resolving things so that never happened either!
  2. I am an avid photographer.
    My love of photography started when I was 14 years old and I am very rarely without a camera in my hand capturing the magic of the world around me. My favorite thing to photograph is people, especially people interacting. I believe that human interaction and connection is the single most important reason we are here on earth and I love capturing that with my lens.
  3. I delivered 3 of my 4 biological children without any pain meds, not even so much as a Tylenol.
    Yes, I do think this makes me Super Woman! (kidding, of course)
  4. I think my dream job would have been being a Meteorologist.
    I mean, don’t you think Sam Champion has the best job on GMA? Anyway, I am obsessed with the weather! I watch coverage of snow storms coming in for hours straight. I am mesmerized by tornadoes and hurricanes. Weather is just plain awesome!
  5. I love to read!
    I haved loved to read for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t get enough books as a child and thankfully during my early middle school years we moved to the street the library was on. I would walk there every day. I own a nook now and do read many books on there but nothing compares to the smell of walking into Barnes & Noble with all those fresh new books! Yummy!
  6. I have been a vegetarian for more than 15 years.
    I have NEVER eaten anything from the ocean (without being sick anyway) and never liked meat, even as a kid. Its not because I am an animal activist (although I do hate when I see shows on tv about the cruel ways that animals are treated prior to slaughter) and it’s not for health reasons. I simply don’t prefer meat. All of my children and my husband eat meat, but thanks to my chef husband, Mickey, he often prepares me special non-meat meals.
  7. I was married on Leap Year Day.
    Mickey had been married before. I wanted things to be completely different when we married. The date we chose was just the beginning of how different our wedding turned out to be, but the full story is probably a post for another day! (Gotta keep you coming back for more, right? lol)

Seven Favorite Bloggers 

  1. Mission Addition
    Ahhhhh, one of my favorite foster adoption bloggers, even though she is currently “paused” in the process. Her writing style is incredible and I look forward to being inspired by her when she accepts placement of her forever children (likely a sibling group)!
  2. My Busy Intersection
    Another of my favorite bloggers from Twitter. A crazy story from the start, but seeing Patience’s persistence is what is most inspiring!
  3. Foster Parenting Adventures
    I love her perspective as a a foster mother and clinical psychologist. She was one of the first people on Twitter to validate how difficult it is to parent a foster child with RAD and PTSD, something I will be forever grateful for. I also am enjoying watching her own foster daughter’s adoption unfolding, albeit challenging through a legal system filled with obstacles.
  4. Love is Not a Pie
    This is my favorite adoptee/adoptive mom blogger. Although I sometimes disagree with her stance on adoption issues from the adoptee perspective, I find she is always very well spoken and kind to those with differing views which is a rare but awesome quality to possess.
  5. I Am Not Alone
    Ali has been there done that, owned the tshirt and is back for more. She is hanging on for the ride of her life much later in the adoption process than I am and I find her an inspiration for what forever commitment should look like.
  6. Adoptive Legacy
    This young couple inspires me every day with the commitment to not only their own adopted children but also their advocacy of adoption and foster care issues in general. Lots of great advice at this blog!
  7. Rage Against The Minivan
    Just plain awesome with lots of guest writers covering a myriad of adoption and parenting related topics!

Honestly, I could post many more blogs as I have been inspired by so many people, but the above are some of my very favorites. Thanks again to Living Loving and Letting Go for the “nomination” and the chance to share some things about myself and the blogs I follow!

7 Practical Ways To Foster Attachment in Adopted Children

I am not an expert and I don’t pretend to be. I have, however, learned a few things about attachment since we started this journey last fall. Here are my top 7 practical ways to foster attachment in older adopted children:

  1. Implement chat time.
    Each night before bed, Daffy and I head to her room for “chat time.” This allows her time to unwind and process her day. Initially we talked about simple things like “What was the best part of your day?” as we got to know each other, but as our relationship has progressed, we have talked about far more serious issues like the abuse she suffered while living with her biological family and her fears of her biological brother. This is a time that she and I both look forward to. She’s been telling me recently that she can’t sleep without having our chat time and I kid with her that I will have to come to her house when she is married so we can still have our nightly chats! (She assures me her husband will do it, LOL)
  2. Read books together.
    The books don’t always need to be about foster care or adoption, but if you are looking for adoption or foster care related books, here are a few I highly recommend. Reading these books has been incredibly helpful to Daffy. I can see her connect through the stories, gaining a sense that she is not alone in her experiences and learning to trust that we will finally be her forever family.
  3. Cook together.
    Give them the chance to succeed. Daffy and the family support specialist baked muffins together during one visit and for the next week that followed, Daffy wanted to bake every single day. She was so proud of her new found ability! Spending time together in the kitchen allows for low intensity conversations. These are the moments that, one at a time, build attachments.
  4. Touch!
    Touch adopted children as often and in as many ways as is appropriate based on their history- hugs, hand holding, foot massages, a pat on the back… just keep touching! Daffy & I have created our very own handshake-style good night kiss involving kisses, hugs, funny faces and handshakes! It’s something that she and I share that connects us exclusively to each other. She beams when other people see us do it, knowing that its unique just to her and me.
  5. Play!
    Get down to their level and interact. This was really uncomfortable for me at first, but I learned some amazing things about how Daffy’s mind was working when I joined her in playing with her Little Pet Shop and other toys. I could see her hopes, dreams, and even fears play out through the way she played.
  6. Enjoy family meals together.
    Our family never sat around the table together for meals before Daffy came to live with us. We were busy people with busy lives. We felt connected and this didn’t seem important to us. Once Daffy moved in, we saw this as a critical time together- a time when we weren’t meeting with a therapist or social worker, a time when there was no battle over homework and a time where the tv was OFF. This was (and is) time that we could spend all together sharing and getting to know each other.
  7. Have realistic expectations.
    Above all, know the battle you are facing. Read books on attachment. Surf the internet for blogs of people that have gone before you in similar situations. Accept that adopted children will have attachment issues (whether it’s full blown Reactive Attachment Disorder or somewhere else on the spectrum). Understand that your adopted child will not attach to you in the same way that you will attach to them. Give them space when they need it, but don’t be afraid to push sometimes, too. It’s hard to see the forest through the trees when it comes to attachment, but know that the work you are doing with your adopted child WILL pay off. You will see miraculous gains if you give it time.

This post is linked to: Blog Link Party with Rebecca Cooper, Mommy Brain Mixer and Thriving on Thursdays.

Telling A Story

I started this bog primarily to have a safe place to share our personal story. I wanted to document every step, every challenge and every success. While my goal for this blog remains the same since I began it in November 2011, it has also evolved into something much more. The stories I share I here allow me to connect with others in similar situations, some of whom leave me comments with amazing suggestions because they have been there, some simply to say they care and still others to thank me for sharing my experience so that they don’t have to feel alone in this crazy process of adopting through the US foster care system. My hope for the future is that I will be able to add valuable resources that will inspire others to take this incredible journey, one that will not only change a child’s life, but also their own!

I’ll be the first to admit I am not a great writer, but I have always enjoyed the process. Writing things out helps me to process my own thoughts and feelings. It helps me to keep things in perspective and helps to guide the choices I make after seeing the written words.

While adopting from foster care is one of the toughest challenges I have faced on a day to day basis, my life has always been filled with dramatic ups and downs. From the time I was in elementary school, people would often comment that I should “write a book!” Having heard this so many times throughout my life, I think it has become a part of who I am. I am not yet a “published” author (well, actually I am, if you count the scrapbooking craft book I wrote in 2005, but that’s really not the same), but I AM an author. I do have a story to tell…  a story that has value and a story that could impact others. I haven’t figured out that path just yet, but I have plenty of time to get there.

On that note, I would like to share with you an exciting new book project that I am considering submitting to called, “Undeniable Love: Heartfelt Adoption Stories“. This project sets out to share with the world the heart wrenching and undeniable love that affects all involved with adoption.  Their goal is to share all sides of the adoption spectrum with the world, as well as those that will soon be or have previously been blessed by adoption. This book will serve as an inspirational tool showcasing the real and raw emotions associated with each journey. It’s intended to reach the hearts of everyone impacted by adoption.

If  you have an incredible adoption story that you would like to share with the world, visit their  Submission Guidelines  for details. The final due date for all submissions is October 31, 2012. I hope to see many of my foster and adoption friends published!