Friday, January 6, 2012


My first blog award!! I'm very thrilled to get this from someone I really admire. Last Mom is someone you should be reading. She adopted an older child from foster care. Her blog is great for anyone who has adopted, or is considering adopting a child with a history of trauma. Her advice and techniques have already proved invaluable, even with my biological daughter who didn't have a history of trauma before her little brother died. I am so grateful there is someone like her out there to lead the way. I'd be much more nervous about our adoption if it weren't for her.

With this award I'm supposed to tell 7 things about myself that you (my readers) probably don't know. I'm also supposed to tag 5 other blogs. I have a long reader list filled with many wonderful women so that part will take me some time and thinking. I'll start on the seven things and then talk about all the silly things I'm worried about with the big move coming up.

1. I hate roller coasters. HATE THEM. I took my 5 year old on the flying hippogriffs at the Harry Potter park. I almost bit a hole in my lip. If they don't give me a raging headache from the jerking around, they scare the pee out of me. I can brave angry venomous snakes but can't handle a kid's ride.

2. I love to sing. I sing all the time. I often start singing and don't even realize I'm doing it. I think I have a decent voice but I'm too shy to sing in front of people unless I know them really well. I like to sing at karaoke bars but only after several drinks. My tastes in music are very diverse, there isn't much I don't like. This is serving me well with adding a teenager to the family. She really likes the pop station, which I'm not crazy about, but we enjoy enough of the same songs that we enjoy singing together.

3. When I was 4 I cut off the tip of my ear when I fell while jumping on the bed. Let that be a lesson to your children - you really will break your head. My dad worked in the hospital then and that's one of the few nice memories I have of him. They were worried that I had a concussion so while the plastic surgeon sewed my ear back together he kept lifting the drape and asking if I was awake. I remember giggling, thinking he was playing peek-a-boo.

4. I've moved so many times I can't keep track anymore. I stopped counting around 24 moves after I moved out of my parents house. That's an average of more than 1 a year. I like to see new places and I'm quick to move on when things aren't going well, but I am ready to settle down. The problem is I don't want to do it here. I'm going to have to accept that there will be more moves in my future.

5. I'm a biologist that hates to kill things. I worked on an endangered species during grad school so I didn't have to kill anything. When I collect aquatic invertebrates for my job I always get the fish and salamanders out of the sample before I add the preservative, but I feel really guilty about the bugs that get pickled. I never understood when I was young how much killing there is in science. Sometimes I think I'd be better off as a writer, but I lack the self discipline to make a living from it.

6. I love me a man in a poet shirt. Those long, billowing sleeves and ruffles at the cuff. Mmm mmm. Especially if he forgets the pants.

7. I bite the inside of my lip all the time. I guess it's a nervous habit. I don't remember when I started doing it but I never seem to notice until I have a big sore. I'm sure it's disgusting to watch and I worry that it will cause mouth cancer, but I can't seem to stop doing it.

That's my seven things! I'm weird, I know. Now on to the adoption thingie.

M is moving in next Friday. A week from today!! I'm excited, and nervous. I know she will be very scared and I'm worried I won't react the way she will need me to when that fear manifests as anger or "bad" behavior. I worry that I haven't treated her enough like a daughter to make her feel wanted. I kiss and cuddle my five year old all the time, but I've never kissed M. It's not that I don't want to, I'm just unsure if she would be okay with it. It's weird going from 5 to 14, especially when the 14 year old is bigger than me and looks 18 or 20. I can't exactly pull her into my lap and rock. We do horse around a lot, tickling and wrestling and having pillow fights. Is that enough? Should I ask her if she wants me to kiss her (maybe on the cheek)? Should I offer to let her lay her head in my lap when she is falling asleep on the couch? Her history is so vague that I just have no idea how she will react to things like that. I worry she won't want to be adopted and our little one will be devastated. I even worry I'll accidentally get pregnant (ha ha ha) and M will see that as a betrayal or think we won't want her anymore because we got what we really wanted (that's not true but I think she might see it that way). I'm not on the pill right now because it was doing crazy things. Other methods are not fool proof. I don't want to get something more long term but I really don't want to hurt the child we are promising to protect who has already been hurt so much. I'm very torn. We do still want another child and I was thinking maybe a year from now, but I do want to ask M how she feels about it first. Is that a good idea? I just don't know.

I suppose I'll do what I've always done and muddle along and see what happens. In the meantime, thanks for listening.


  1. good luck with the move in. I am hoping everything goes smoothly for you guys

  2. Maybe just try asking her how much physical contact she's comfortable with and go from there. Princess was nine when she came to us and enjoyed being held and cuddled like a much younger child. I even carried her a lot. Now she is way too big to carry! We do still cuddle a lot at home and hold hands when we're out. Sometimes she can't handle physical affection and has become good about saying, "Don't touch me please, I need space." (That was a lot of work to getting her to that place instead of her just screaming bloody murder!) You'll figure it out together. Same thing about the baby. Just mention the future possibility to her and give her some time to process it.

  3. Hi! New Here. I haven't read much about your story or M but something about your questions struck a chord with me and my heart said "reach out". I am the foster Mom of 4.y oldest is 11. While this is still younger than 14 she LOVES to do things that one might think are "too young" because she never was able to do them. She loves to be sung to at night and tucked in. She likes to play with dolls and toys below her level. I worried encouraging these things would make her stick out with her peers but she is very aware that other people won't understand and only does them at home. So my advise when M moves in - tell her you want to be able to cuddle since you missed those years with her and see where she takes it. She may not take you up on it at first but down the road she might. And while it might seem strange to have a 14 year old sitting on your lap reading stories - it might be the most important thing you can do for her. Best of luck.

  4. I had a 5 year old with an unproved history of sexual abuse. I read her a book each night and then told her, "I'm going to give you a good night kiss. Would you like it on your forehead or cheek?" It gave her the power to say "no" or to direct me to plant the kiss on her cheek.

    I agree with pp, all of my kids loved doing things considered "younger" for them. Maybe playing ball and whoever catches it has to say something nice about the other person. Maybe going to get your nails done together. Shopping of course works with a 14 year old.

    Good luck, although I don't think you'll need it.