Monday, December 31, 2012

RLW's 2012 ~ What A Year...

A year ago today I fully intended to stay up until midnight to give 2011 a final, "Good Riddance!"  I did just that... even dropped a few swear-bombs when the clock struck the New Year for good measure.  It was, hands down, the hardest year I ever endured.  I didn't do a lighthearted "Year In Review" post on Full Circle and wanted none of it.  I swore, so help me God, 2012 was going to kick 2011's ass rear ..

And it did.  

From the adoption being finalized in April, to meeting the man (and his kiddos) I would fall in love with, my first official Mother's Day and the new friends we made, to the old friends that kept me from losing my mind.  We were surrounded by blessings and counted each one.  Our little tribe was on the go all summer (my man lives hundreds of miles away, naturally) but props to him, they were on the road way more than we were.  There were few dull moments (and loads of laughter and firsts), that is for sure. 

2012 was exciting and stressful... but most of all an amazing adventure.


The upcoming year is looking to present some big changes in our little life.  I'm bracing myself for the impending whirlwind but have faith all will be well.. especially since it's in His hands.

2013?  Bring it!

Happy New Year, Y'all!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

RLW Holiday Highlights...

On Christmas Eve we had time to kill before church, so we did a mall crawl to see if Santa was still around.  As we suspected, he had already left for work...


Christmas morning was a blur of colorful paper and happy kiddos...


NO COAL (Not even in Sweet Pea's stocking..  trust me, we were all shocked)


We went out for a bit to give some of the toys a whirl...


Then Round Two of presents from the fam.  This is Auntie MooMoo showing Little Buddy his new calendar.  The most excellent part?  He's Mr. February.


We enjoyed a lovely afternoon and evening with family, including a fantastic meal.  The house was filled with laughter and love...

Since then, the house has pretty much looked just like this:

And I wouldn't have it any other way...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Home For The Holidays ~ Airs TONIGHT on CBS!



TONIGHT at 8PM ET on CBS our friends from the Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption are airing the 14th Annual Home for the Holidays!

From their website:  2012 talent includes Rascal Flats, Phillip Phillips, Matchbox Twenty, Rachel Crow and Melissa Ethridge. Presenters are Wayne Brady, Kevin Frazier and Jillian Michaels.
You can give the gift of family. Text the word HOME to 50555 to make a $10 donation to DTFA. Standard text and data rates may apply.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

23andMe ~ The Future In DNA Analysis Is HERE!




So, a month before I turned 30 (a year after Mama passed away), I discovered quite randomly that I was adopted.  It's a long-winded tale, but if you wish to read the back story, CLICK HERE.  Since then I have conducted searches trying to locate my bio mother.  I got my info out there on ALL the "connection" websites and befriended many Search Angels (wonderful people that hunt for free) that helped out as best they could.

Months passed.  Years passed.

After what seemed like forever (thanks to snail mail), I was able to get my mitts on my "Non Identifying Information" from the county of my birth.  An experience in and of itself, let me tell ya.  From that report I was able to glean that my bio mom and her family were not originally from my birth state.  She was a waitress, started dating a customer, got pregnant, he bailed and she never saw him again.  Although in her mid 20's she knew she couldn't afford to care for me properly and relinquished me at birth.  She's 5'5", has a round face and curly hair.

Hmm.  Sounds familiar.

Sneaky me was able to finagle the confirmation of my birth name out of the social worker assigned to my Non Id Info file.  Unfortunately, it's beyond common and has gotten us nowhere.

So much for being a sleuth.

In 2010 I bit the bullet and hired a paid private investigator.  The company also works for a guy named Troy that has a Locating show on TV.  Yeah, him.  Lovely Patty was assigned to my case, contracted for 6 months.  Period.  We hit wall after wall and bless her heart, she is still working it for me.

Welcome to the end of 2012 and we still have nothing.  Auntie M (who has been helping from the get go) suggested a few weeks back that I give one of these newfangled DNA testing companies a whirl.  Why not?  Within a few days, my package from 23andMe had arrived.

Make that my "Spit Kit"..  *giggle*

Matches are starting to trickle in.  No close relatives yet but 3rd to more distant cousins.  It may sound random to you, but for this 40something that has never laid eyes on a blood relation, it's supreme coolness.

I'll keep y'all posted on the happenings (and hopefully some breakthroughs) in this little journey.  Thus far, I have been very happy with my 23andMe experience and would like to mention the kits are originally $299.. now $99!!!  Not only is this a wonderful tool for the ones of us in search of family (with little to no information to begin with) but also for discovering ancestry, accessing online health and trait reports and for helping with genetic research.

Fingers crossed.  Stay Tuned...

**This is not a paid review.. just my personal, humble little O**

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's National Adoption Day, Baby!

When my foster to adopt journey started in 2007, I had no idea my little family would end up the way it is today. On the first Family Share night we attended, 3 words were given by a seasoned fost/adopt Mommy:

"Expect The Unexpected"

Indeed.

Happy National Adoption Day to all the families that are trying to navigate their way through the system, to the kiddos that wait and a BIG CONGRATULATIONS to all who had their adoptions finalized today. I am so thankful for my two beautiful children, they keep me laughing and on my toes.  I could not imagine my life without them.


November is National Adoption Awareness Month. There are 400,000 children in the foster care system currently here in the US. 100,000 are waiting for homes. Visit our friends at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption or The Adoption Exchange for more information about how you help make a difference.

As always, feel free to contact me as well if you have any questions about my personal adoption journey: TheWanderingMel@gmail.com

Friday, November 16, 2012

We Partied...

Today the county we were certified with celebrated families that adopted in 2012. We had a lovely lunch, professional family portraits taken and mingled with social workers and friends we had not seen in what feels like forever.  It was wall to wall smiles and tears.  The Magistrate that presided over our adoption spoke (and, come to find out, was a C.A.S.A., G.A.L. and Mommy via adoption). Three families were made official today, six more are adoptions are being finalized tomorrow (the official National Adoption Day).

 A big, "Thank You!" to all that volunteered and donated their time and efforts. Also to Celestial Seasonings for the darling bears.

I might share them.  ;)


November is National Adoption Awareness Month. There are 400,000 children in the foster care system currently here in the US. 100,000 are waiting for homes. Visit our friends at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption or The Adoption Exchange for more information about how you help make a difference.

As always, feel free to contact me as well if you have any questions about my personal adoption journey: TheWanderingMel@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

This Fella Was Adopted...

And went on to do some pretty cool things..


Did I mention I posted this from my iPhone?

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. There are 400,000 children in the foster care system currently here in the US. 100,000 are waiting for homes. Visit our friends at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption or The Adoption Exchange for more information about how you help make a difference.

As always, feel free to contact me as well if you have any questions about my personal adoption journey: TheWanderingMel@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I'm Just A Kid...

Not a stigma, not an offender ... just a kid.



November is National Adoption Awareness Month. There are 400,000 children in the foster care system currently here in the US. 100,000 are waiting for homes. Visit our friends at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption or The Adoption Exchange for more information about how you help make a difference.

As always, feel free to contact me as well if you have any questions about my personal adoption journey: TheWanderingMel@gmail.com

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Truth.. And Nothing But The Truth..


MYTHS & REALITIES

Nearly 81.5 million Americans have considered adopting a child. If just one in 500 of these adults adopted, every waiting child in foster care would have a permanent family.
But foster care adoption is often misunderstood, preventing children from finding forever families. Discover some of the most common misconceptions, and read about the reality behind each.
Myth
Foster care adoption may cost less than private infant or international adoption, but it’s still expensive.
Reality
Foster care adoption normally costs little or nothing. Click here for more information on how much it costs to adopt.
Wandering Mel
I literally had no out of pocket expenses.  

Myth
A biological parent can come to take an adopted child back.
Reality
This is a fear for two-thirds of the people considering adoption. However, biological parents have no way to gain back custody of the child or children once their parental rights are terminated.
Wandering Mel 
The termination process is VERY thorough.. they absolutely left no stone unturned and take it very seriously.

Myth
Children enter foster care because they committed a crime.
Reality
This belief is held by 45 percent of Americans, but actually, children enter U.S. foster care through no fault of their own. Usually, they are victims of neglect, abandonment, or abuse.
Wandering Mel  
They are NOT the offenders, just innocent victims.

Myth
A single parent can’t provide a healthy environment for an adopted child.
Reality
A single parent can provide a loving, stable home. In fact, as the number of two-parent families declines, an increasing number of children live in single-parent homes. In 2006, this number was 28 percent.¹
Wandering Mel  
Although my journey started as a two-parent home, my husband passed away unexpectedly before the adoption.  By the grace of God, I am the proud single Mommy of my two beautiful children.  

Myth
No person over 55 can provide a healthy and loving environment for an adopted child.
Reality
This belief is held, erroneously, by 63% of Americans. In truth, almost one in four adopted children lives happily with an adoptive parent 55 years or older.
Wandering Mel  
One of the most amazing foster to adopt families I had the pleasure of meeting was a couple in their 60's.  They took in the "tough cases". Newborn babies with casts on their arms AND legs.  Babies that were considered failure to thrive and born addicted to drugs.  In spite of the hard days and even longer nights the love they poured over these little angels was incredible.  The difference they made is indescribable.  Of course, you can always ask country singer Jimmy Wayne his thoughts on this particular subject.  
Unless stated otherwise, all statistics are from the National Foster Care Adoption Attitudes Survey, commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and conducted by Harris Interactive, November 2007. Read the study here.
Taken From The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

~~~~
November is National Adoption Awareness Month.  There are 400,000 children in the foster care system currently here in the US.  100,000 are waiting for homes.  Visit our friends at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption or The Adoption Exchange for more information about how you can help make a difference.  As always, please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about my personal adoption journey:  The WanderingMel@gmail.com

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Like All Children...



What happened in our past was not our fault.  Like all children, we deserved a safe and loving home.  A mommy to tuck us in and kiss us goodnight, tend to our owies and comfort us when we're scared.  A forever family to teach us about boundaries and consequences, to dance with abandon, laugh until our tummies hurt and grow our self esteem.  Yes, we have our rough times and no, we're not perfect..

But what kids are?

November is National Adoption Awareness Month.  There are 400,000 children in the foster care system here in the US.  100,000 are just like us and waiting for a home.  Visit our friends at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption or The Adoption Exchange for more information on how you can make a difference.

If you want to chat, feel free to email our Mommy at TheWanderingMel@gmail.com .. she loves to talk about us.

A lot.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Say Yes...

"... and see what your love can grow.."
 

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. There are 400,000 children in the foster care system currently here in the US. 100,000 are waiting for homes. Visit our friends at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption or The Adoption Exchange for more information about how you help make a difference.

 As always, feel free to contact me as well if you have any questions about my personal adoption journey: TheWanderingMel@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What The Best Day Ever Looks Like...

April, 2012 - A year and a half after my kiddos arrived that cold November night, we walked into court and made it official.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. There are 400,000 children in the foster care system currently here in the US. 100,000 are waiting for homes. Visit our friends at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption or The Adoption Exchange for more information about how you help make a difference.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's That Time Of Year Again!!!



November = National Adoption Awareness Month!

As many know,  I was a foster parent from 2009-2012, specifically in the fost/adopt (foster to adopt) program.  I blogged about it over on Full Circle.  During that time, seven beautiful children graced our home.  It was the most heart wrenching, physically and mentally grueling, humbling, joyous, enlightening and amazing experience of my life.  It was a journey that brought my son and daughter to me and I will forever be grateful for every sleepless night and tear shed.

I just cannot shelve the book on that time of my life.  There are more SweetPeas and LittleBuddys out there waiting, so my role as an advocate shall remain intact indefinitely.

Or at least until every child finds his or her family.

I'm not going to feed you a line.. it's not all bubbles and warm fuzzies.  I was am the bad cop, the hard ass, the rule maker, the one that doles out and follows through with the consequences.  My home is the first place they all learned structure and yes, it was a battle.  Daily, as a matter of fact.  But with consistency, therapy, love and lots of prayer also comes peace.  Sweet sweet peace.  I am the recipient of kisses, drawings of a happy family, giggles and witness to tremendous breakthroughs.  I am very proud of my children and love them deeply.

All kids deserve that, don't they?

For more information, check out our friends at The Adoption Exchange & Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption

Monday, October 8, 2012

I Lost A Bet Yesterday...

.. To my pal Todd from Life Goes On & On & On...

 I've posted it on Facebook, Tweeted it.. Last but not least.. Blogged.

I took makeup tips from Brady. Hope it's pretty enough to post...  :-P

(GOOO BRONCOS!)   :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Baby, It's Cold Outside...

One of the perks of being a widow is when appliances and the such fail around the house, I'm completely hosed.  That's sarcasm, folks.  I'm not a handyman (er.. woman) by any stretch of the imagination nor do I pretend to be.  I do have an awesome fella in my life but unfortunately he's not local.  So when stuff stops working I'm typically at the mercy of professional repairman, their schedule and hourly rate.

*Grimace*

Cold weather made it's debut in Colorado this week and the past few days have been downright chilly.  Guess what decided to stop doing it's job last night?  Why the heater, of course.

Murphy and his dang Laws.

It wasn't too terribly uncomfortable downstairs but upstairs was a whole different story.  While Little Buddy's room was okay, SweetPea's was an ice box.  I mulled over what to do and then it hit me.. Bring her to bed with me!  Now that might not seem forehead-slap-worthy to most people but for me it's a huge deal.

Ginormous, really.

Being in the system for all those years, one of the (bajillion) things we could absolutely not do was bring our foster children to bed with us.  If any of my kiddos were sick, scared or needed soothed for whatever reason, I would comfort them from their bedside.  I spent many a night on the floor next to the toddler bed rubbing backs and sitting up next to them in bed while they slept.

This was the very first time my daughter and I snuggled all night in my bed.  Something so simple, so ordinary and commonplace to most families is a precious moment I will never forget.

I think she had a good time, too


Yay naughty furnace!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy MomaVersary..

TO ME!

6 months ago TODAY I became the official Mommy to the most darling children on the face of the earth.  Okay, that's biased but oh well.  Nearly two years ago they came into my life and I can't imagine a single day without them.


God is so so good.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Perfect Moment Monday

Where have we been all summer?  The question to ask is where HAVEN'T we been!

Off Wandering, as a matter of fact...  

All my Perfect Moments have boiled down to this:  Since the adoption last April, I no longer need to go through oodles of red tape to get permission to go on road trips with the kids.  Or to cross state lines.  Or to put nail polish on my daughter's fingers and toes.  Or to get the kids' hair cut (and how).  I also don't need to log every medication given and the reason for it.  Or document every bump and scrape, tantrum or other outburst.  
Why?

Because they're mine all mine..

Perfect.


Labor Day Weekend 2012 ~ Jackson Hole, WY


Thursday, July 19, 2012

"Me No Want No More Pokey Things.."

"... Only for brother and my boys from now on..."

When they came to me in 2010, SweetPea had only one immunization done and LittleBuddy just a couple.

Yesterday, that changed.

She got 6 shots (including both legs) and he 3.  She pitched a huge fit (the doctor was shocked at how strong she was) but my big boy totally manned up (much to our surprise and delight).  He's an infamous Drama King, trust me.  Get this.. not only did he not cry, he thought of something funny and laughed during 2 of the 3 shots.  Even the doctor was impressed.

I'm so proud of my little man!

Today LB is a wee bit achy but doing fine, however, Baby Girl is another story.  Super sore, hard knots where the shots were given, running a fever and throwing up.  It's a Motrin, snuggly jammie day for one Little Boo.

Her Conclusion:  "Pokey things hurt more than the mean bee..."

Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekend Wanderings...

Our little family hit the road again this past weekend. We were lucky enough to be invited to spend the night in a lovely little cabin in the woods of Wyoming..


Okay, that's not it but it was one of several cool old cabins we discovered on a walkabout Saturday afternoon ...

SweetPea survived her first-ever bee sting.  This was taken after being treated and I believe she's contemplating the trauma.  Or pouting for good measure.  I've got to admit she was super tough, shook it off and got on with her day.  Thank goodness it wasn't LittleBuddy that got stung.. we would've experienced a whole new level of drama a bit of a melt down had that happened..

After that naughty bee had it's way with my daughter, we hiked again.


Although short, it was a perfect weekend...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Vacation Recovery Mode...

It's true, we're still trying to come down from the high of our week of awesomeness.  Hey, I could have said, "Ep-ic" but I refuse to Sheenify any post.


The kidlets and I survived our first family road trip together over the 4th (5 1/2 hours each way in the car) and I'm ecstatic to report they did WAAY better than I had expected.  Seriously, how cool is that?  We had a blast and it was sooo good to let our hair down.  I think we all needed it.  No, I know we needed it.  I'm already trying to plan another.


To answer the burning question:  YES.. I packed everything but the kitchen sink all the essentials... 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friday Night Fun..

Um, no not really...

So, we had a little excitement over on the homestead last night.  Nothing I'm going to get into (we're all safe and sound) but I did call the non emergency line at the sheriff's department and filed a complaint.  The issue was handled by the proper people and a deputy came by to let us know it had been resolved.

The good news?  Little Buddy got to meet one of the four K-9s in our county.  He learned what an important job police dogs have, got to pet and play with him but also understood that he is to never ever approach one (or any dog for that matter) unless he has permission.

He was fascinated.  I'm pretty sure if becoming a lawyer (because of his love of a good argument debating skills) or an actor (my drama queen) fall through, he may pursue a career as an K9 cop.  LB's conclusion?  "How cool would it be to work with your best friend EVERY day?"

This, of course, made me super proud... beings that I'm the crazy Dog Lady and all..  ;)

Alls Well That Ends Well..

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Holiday Travels... RLW Style...

One of the cool benes of adopting kiddos from foster care is they retain their Medicaid coverage until they turn 18.  Sweet, right?  The downside is the coverage is only accepted in CO.  Prior to adoption I was advised if we traveled out of state I should consider purchasing Travel Insurance and err on the side of caution.  As much as I enjoy a fun night at a casino, this Mama does not gamble when it comes to her kids.  Murphy and his dang Laws are always close behind us..

Always.

The week of the 4th we're traveling out of state, so I called my insurance agent to get guidance on how to purchase said policy.  He had no clue.  I emailed our post adoption worker, she gave me the number of an agent (a former adopter) that handled travel insurance.  He no longer worked at that office.  Humpf.  I emailed her back and she recommended AAA (you don't have to be a member).

Now we're getting somewhere.

I went online but was unsure which travel policy would work best for us.  We're road trippin'.. I don't care about baggage loss or trip cancellation.  What I need is if we end up at Urgent Care or in the hospital (God forbid) I won't be signing our house over.  I did something I haven't done in years...  I called AAA direct.

Oddly old school.

With the assistance of a wonderful agent (who had a coworker that was once a foster parent and knew exactly what I needed--yay!) the purchase was handled in minutes.  For all you foster or adoptive parents out there that may be interested, I purchased the TripAssist Family Care policy.  It's very inexpensive and definitely worth the peace of mind.

That's right.. The stage is being set for our FIRST EVER road trip.  Just me, my nearly 8 year old son, 3 1/2 year old daughter and the open road.  5 glorious hours of, "Are we there yet?".. "She's touching me!" .. and surely  "I gotta PEEEEE!" (when we're in the middle of nowhere).  Beef jerky, soda, McD's and all the other junk that's never allowed in the car.  Oh yeah!  Once there, we're looking forward to staying up late, letting our hair down, sleeping in (okay, that's Mama's pipe dream), shooting off fireworks (where we're going it's legal.. SQUEEE!!), making new friends, lots of laughter...

And margs.. lots of margs...  ;)

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Adjusting...

For the first time in four years it's June and I'm not scrambling to get my (foster parent) recertification completed.  Tis the season my infant/child CPR expires and I would be off to the local Red Cross for a loooong evening of back blows and chest compressions.  I had to have my gajillion hours of ongoing training documented and an annual home study worker was added to the list of other workers that infiltrated our lives for several weeks.  All this and working full time, trying to keep the house from falling down around our ears clean and somehow finding quality time with the kiddos.  Oh, and trying not to bite everyone's heads off to keep a good attitude about it all, of course.  You know that look.. the smile and nod but the eyes are completely glazed over?  Yeah, that was me.  Boy do I miss all that.

Not.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The New Journey Begins...

On June 21st, 2008 I started my bloggy adventure with Full Circle.  My husband and I had embarked on our fost/adopt journey and I thought it would be fun to share our trials and tribs.  Naturally I assumed we would adopt the first placements we were blessed with and soon be on to our Happily Ever After.

No such luck.

Four years and seven beautiful children later, we finally made it to adoption.  7 1/2 year old Little Buddy and 3 1/2 year old SweetPea were mine all mine!  My husband passed away unexpectedly several months before we stood before the judge and made it official, so on April 5, 2012 I became a widowed, single mommy of two of the greatest kids EV-ER.

Biased?  Heck ya!

What is this blog going to be about?  I'm not sure.  Alls I know is I missed you guys, so we'll travel wherever our little hearts desire.  For all you old timers, I am planning to do another round of Where's Wissa?! soon (for you newbies, all you need to know is you will have the opportunity to win cool Target gift cards.. so stay tuned!).

So happy you'll be joining us on our latest and greatest adventures.  Let's get our Wander On!