Friday, July 20, 2012


Today as we talked about goals and how much a child wants to achieve these goals I kept hearing over and over that they wanted to be better than bios, that they wanted to achieve more ….. Finally I told them their focus was wrong.  They didn’t get it.  They could see what they didn’t want; a life of poverty, cps and general yuck.

God gave me a neat explanation.  I had one child stand in one room and another in another room.  Said child stood where she could see both siblings.   I ask her which one she “wanted”, which was her goal in life.   I told her to lock eyes with the other child (what she didn’t want out of life,) and walk to her goals.   She got part way to her goal still looking at the sibling she didn’t choose.  Then it came to where she could no longer keep moving toward her goals and hold on to the gaze of her other sibling.   This is what happens when you focus on your past, on what you don’t want instead of what you want.  Somewhere along the path you reach a place you are stuck, you can’t go fwd as long as you are focused on your past, or what you don’t want. 

I pray she got it, I pray they all three learned something about letting go of the past and focusing on the future, the goals they want!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekend recap and Monday around here!

A wonderful  friend shared his bounty of green chilies!  Two of the kids roasted them this morning and are now working on peeling them.

They make the house smell so good!
There were only two grocery sacks full so that made 2 pans full of roasted.

In other news we are starting to work on the bathroom that we (I) planned maybe 2 years ago. 

In doing this my dh unhooked the washer drain and also the upstairs shower drain.   It should be hooked up tonight.  I hope.  Until then no laundry.    I am excited.  As always my project grew into something larger than I started out with.  We will have a 1/2 bath and also a changing room for the family closet.

Today while kids roasted green chilies I worked on a birthday present for soon to be 5 year old grandson.  I had bought the material for his and his sisters back in the early spring when I realized I had not ever made them one.  So I planned on doing it.  Then didn't.  Perfect birthday present!   It turned out wonderful! 

 His favorite color is yellow so the back side plaid yellow will fit beautiful!   Then the cowboy hats, well that will just fit him to a T. 
OK off to see what else I can do today. 

No word from case workers on the letter I sent them.  

Adoption Related Prayes again! (long again!)

I have a couple of prayer request that are adoption related. 

The first is personal; I sent an email to the case works for the sibling group I love last night.   I decided to share it here.  I replied on the email I sent last month titled: "Question about submitted verses in review", that they couldn't answer.

I found the answer to my question about how long before a homestudy should be reviewed. See highlighted section of the CPS handbook.

6830 Selecting an Adoptive Family

CPS June 2012

CPS seeks to provide an appropriate adoptive family for every child in DFPS conservatorship whose permanency plan includes adoption, regardless of the child’s or the adoptive family’s location.

Time Frames for Selecting a Family

Each child’s caseworker must make a concentrated effort to find a prospective adoptive family for the child within 90 days after the court terminates the parental rights of the child’s parents.

When a child’s caseworker does not find a prospective adoptive family for the child within the first 60 days, the caseworker must register the child on the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE). See 6870 Texas Adoption Resource Exchange (TARE).

Providing a HSEGH Report

To begin the process of finding a prospective adoptive family for a child, the child’s caseworker provides DFPS adoption staff with a copy of the child’s Health, Social, Educational, and Genetic History (HSEGH) report.

Reviewing Home Studies

After reviewing the HSEGH report from the child’s caseworker, DFPS adoption staff:

identify one or more available adoptive families that appear capable of meeting the child’s needs; and

give the child’s caseworker a copy of the home studies conducted by DFPS on those families.

The child’s caseworker reviews each family’s home study within 30 days of receipt.

When this is not possible, the child’s caseworker and the adoption services unit:

discuss the reasons for taking longer; and establish an alternative deadline for completing the review.

For example, if the child’s caseworker receives home studies at varying times in a month, the child’s caseworker and the adoption services unit may review all of the studies during a single staffing รข€“ even some reviews would not be completed within the required 30 days.

Providing Home Studies to a CASA

If a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) is appointed to a child’s case, the child’s caseworker provides the advocate and the CASA supervisor with the home studies of the families under consideration for adoption.

The advocate and CASA supervisor read the home studies in the DFPS office.

This being said I also found how the dashboard is to be updated here:

6877.3 Responding to Inquiries for Children on TARE

CPS June 2012

The TARE coordinator must respond to child-specific inquiries within three business days of receipt.

Families That Inquire Outside of the TARE System

Occasionally, an interested family may submit a general or child-specific inquiry to DFPS without using the TARE automated Interest Form on the website. If that occurs, the TARE coordinator must still respond to the inquiry within three business days of receipt and determine whether the family has a current, approved home screening.

Approved Families With a Home Screening

If an interested family is already approved to adopt, The TARE coordinator must determine whether they have created a login account and profile through TARE. If the family has created an account, the TARE coordinator must address the family’s questions and encourage them to submit an online TARE Interest Form for the specific child or sibling group that they are interested in.

If the family is approved to adopt but has not created an account, the TARE coordinator must address the family’s questions and encourage them to create a login account and profile in TARE. However, a family is not required to have an account in the TARE database in order to adopt.

Prospective Families Not Approved to Adopt

If an interested family is not approved to adopt, the TARE coordinator must determine whether the family has already created a login account and profile through TARE. If the family has created an account and profile, the TARE coordinator should encourage the family to submit an online TARE Interest Form for a specific child or sibling group and refer the family to the regional recruiter for assistance in becoming an approved family.

Prospective Families Not Registered

If the family has not previously created a login account and profile, the TARE coordinator should encourage them to create a login account and profile so that they can submit an online TARE Interest Form online for a specific child or sibling group. The TARE coordinator should also refer the family to the regional recruiter for assistance in becoming an approved family.

Families That Inquire Through the TARE System

Each time a family submits a TARE Interest Form on a specific child or sibling group, the TARE system automatically compares the family’s profile with the child’s profile. The TARE system determines the number of family preferences that match with the child’s characteristics and assigns a percent value to the match. Families see the percent value assigned by TARE. Both the family and the TARE coordinator receive a notification of the status of their inquiry.

TARE coordinators then review the family’s profile and home screening status. The appropriate response is selected from the options in the system and sent to the family and the family’s caseworker (unless the inquiry is from a prospective family who is not yet approved).

The TARE coordinator updates the inquiry status using the approved options in the system. Approved inquiry status designations are:

Not Selected – System is a status designation used when a family is not going to be considered for placement with a particular child or sibling group because the match percentage generated by the TARE system shows that they are not a strong match.

Not Selected – TC is a status designation used when a family is not going to be considered for placement of a particular child or sibling group because after reviewing their home screening and family profile the TARE coordinator believes the family is not a strong match. This status is also used when a family is not going to be included in a Selection Staffing or when the family was included in the Selection Staffing, but was not selected as the adoptive family.

Selected is a status designation used when a family has been chosen as the adoptive family for the child or sibling group.

Selection Staffing Pending is a status designation used to indicate the families that will be considered during a Selection Staffing.

In Review is a status designation used to indicate when the TARE coordinator or the child’s caseworker is in the process of reviewing the family’s home screening, but the caseworker has not yet determined whether they will be considered at a Selection Staffing.

Family Withdrew is a status designation used when a family no longer wishes to be considered.

Pending is a status designation used to indicate that a family’s home screening is not on file with TARE. The family may not have a completed home screening, or the home screening has been requested but not received.

For families that already have a home screening on file with TARE, the TARE coordinator begins review of the screening. If a home screening is not currently on file, the TARE coordinator must select the appropriate response from the options in the system and request the home screening from the family’s caseworker. A courtesy copy of the response is sent to the family.

Once the home screening is received the family is notified and the TARE coordinator reviews the home screening. Families who are still in the verification or approval process with an agency must remain under Pending status until they have completed the process and a home screening is on file with TARE.

As the selection process moves forward, the TARE coordinator exchanges additional information with the family’s caseworker and child’s CPS caseworker. The CPS caseworker is responsible for ensuring that a Selection Staffing is scheduled. Upon receipt of Selection Staffing results, the TARE coordinator:

• updates the family’s inquiry status;

• selects the appropriate response option; and

• sends the response to the family’s caseworker, who notifies the family as to whether they were selected as the adoptive family.

The TARE coordinator must update the family’s inquiry status as needed and send the appropriate status update to the family.

Can you tell me when the staffing will be held for these children since our dashboard as of July 15, 2012 looks like this:


As you can see our inquiry was 3-13-2012.

 End of Letter to my CPS worker and the CPS worker listed for the kids.

I ask that this be lifted up in prayer.  That we not get black balled for pointing out to the workers what their own handbook says.

Prayer Request 2: One of my friends on my Texas Rubies Yahoo group posted this:
On Monday, I am going to Austin to attend the House Committee hearings in regards to foster care reform. They are supposed to have a public forum portion....Heaven help them if I make it to the mic!!

One of the things they are planning to do in regards to meds and upping a kiddos level of care is to actually give incentives ($$) to foster parents who are able to reduce a child's level of care and wean them off some/all of their meds. Will be interesting to see if the pendulum swings radically to the other direction and we have kiddos who needs meds but are going without.

Thanks for praying!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Adoption Thoughts on a Broke System (LONG)

This morning I put our adoption case worker on the hot seat.  I shared thoughts that are going round and round in my head.  Thoughts that I know I am not alone in feelings I expressed to her.   I decided to share them on here and ask first that if you feel led pray for the kids in foster care, but also for those families that so want to adopt.  Not just cute little babies, but older kids, kids with issues, kids that the world says no one wants.  I wanted to share in part what I wrote.  I also found some more information I will share. 

Here is the just of the email I sent her:
I find it sad that in the past year we have inquired on over 30 kids through the TARE site, over 30 kids on the AdoptUS site and several broadcast or state sites yet we are still looking. On most of the 70 plus kids I have inquired on I never even received a response of we weren’t selected because..... Just nothing. Some are removed from the TARE site, some on our dashboard say no longer available and the link is removed, many are still listed, still needing homes. Of those some that we inquired on as far back as 8 months ago show to have never been looked at or our status moved from Submitted into Review, others show In Review, for months.

I know of several other families both on a local, state and even national level that wanted to adopt, but either gave up or went overseas because they couldn’t get anywhere. These are families with approved home studies. What can we do as individuals or as groups to change this so kids really do get to grow up in forever homes instead of waiting and waiting, just as families are waiting and waiting and ALL lose hope? There are so many families that want to adopt, many with home studies yet, they can't get the time of day. At the same time the state is spend how much money stressing the need for adoptive families.

I am by no means losing hope; I am just looking at how to be a more effective advocate not only for us but for other adoptive families. I see the kids, at least the kids in NM where they have lots of matching parties, (any family with an approved homestudy on file can attend,) help make the kids real. I fall in love. I see the kids on the TARE site that stay and stay. I am glad to see that the TARE pictures are updated more often, but often pictures are updated and information doesn’t change.

How do you feel is the best way to get this process streamlined? What as adoptive parents can we do that will get kids out of the system faster? What approach will work best to have parents and children matched and out of the system faster in your region, in your office?

I am looking fwd to your answers to my questions.

Some more facts I found as I looked around today.  Some of this is national some state.  Different years data also: 
There are over 6,000 children legally free in the State of Texas and in need of committed forever families. Many families willing to commit and already home studied and approved to adopt children....NOT just babies but OLDER children, children from basic to specialized

More than 650,000 abused and neglected children spend time in U.S. foster care each year.

Each year, an estimated 20,000 young people "age out" of the U.S. foster care system. Many are only 18 years old and still need support and services. Several foster care alumni studies show that without a lifelong connection to a caring adult, these older youth are often left vulnerable to a host of adverse situations:

127,000 (25%) are waiting to be adopted
Average time foster care children have been waiting to be adopted: 39.4 months, or 3.4 years.
Today there are an estimated 423,773 children in foster care in the United States, and 114,556 of these children are legally and permanently separated from their birth family and waiting to be adopted.

Of the 114,556 children waiting for adoption, 30 percent are Black Non-Hispanic, 38 percent are White Non-Hispanic, 22 percent are Hispanic, 2 percent are American Indian/Alaskan Native, 6 percent two or more Races Non-Hispanic and 2 percent unable to determine. 53% are male and 47% female.

Although children waiting to be adopted from foster care range in age from birth to 18 years old, the average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is 8.

On average, these children have been in foster care more than three years, and wait another 14 months after parental rights are terminated to be adopted.

Last year, 69,947 children in foster care were legally freed for adoption; 57,466 were adopted.

Last year, 29,471 children turned age 18 and left the foster care system without an adoptive family.

Of all youth aging out of the foster care system, national statistics indicate:
56% are unemployed and face poverty within two to four years
They represent 70% of all homeless youth,
They constitute 88% of incarcerated youth and young adults,
40% receive welfare within two to four years,
40% do not graduate from high school, and
60% of teenage girls will have a baby within two years.
-Adopt America Network

So sad, and something that effects all of us is that these children that never have a forever home or wait years for that home are more likely to end up in prison, or on the streets, as women/girls the % that become unwed mothers is huge. Then there is the generational abuse that happens. These children grow up to abuse and their children become wards of the state, or at least abused and neglected and the cycle continues. All of this affects the pocket book of everyone that pays taxes.

What’s the answer?  I wish I knew!   In Texas and I think nationwide there is a huge push on to adopt, but when case workers don’t return phone calls or emails, when you can’t get information on kids, what is the answer?   The publicity and the facts don’t match!   The need is there, yet families walk away from trying because they give up. 

I question the new way of processing kids out to different agencies.  If these agencies get paid by the number of kids and the level of care for said kids then where is the incentive to help adopt them out?  There is no monetary reward for getting kids adopted that I know of.  Since our society seems to be a monetary driven society without a carrot nothing more than token work will be done.   Many do just enough to look busy.  Not all, there are some very hard working dedicated workers out there that are swimming upstream in a broke system.   How do we help them?  How do we encourage those that care and want to see kids adopted, when the whole flawed system is against them?

While we are also on the topic of level of care, our children are hurt.  They come into the system more hurt from being longer in abusive situations, being sent back into that situation man times, but also from the wide range of cheap and easy to get drugs that they have been given, many since conception.   The easy of making your own drugs is just a few key clicks away.  The damage done is hard to reverse.   Many of our kids are on many meds while in the system.   Some of these kids need meds, or some meds or meds for a while.  Some foster parents want to receive more money so they have doctors that will prescribe the right combo to take a child with issues and make those issues look more intense because of the drugs they are given.  If you think of a sliding scale that the higher the classification the more money the foster parents receive you see how it works.    Sad to say you can’t easily figure out who is doping a kid and what kids really have that serious an issue.   Many kids do have issues that most people would never believe were possible in a child.  These same kids have experienced things that most people would never believe.   Even though there are reasons for these issues it makes it tough to adopt them or even find foster homes that are therapeutic and will really help them heal. 

So here I sit, if you read through this long post you know my heart is hurting for the children.   My frustration level at the system is high.  I so want to adopt again. I am so tired of looking at kids and wondering if they are the ones.  I inquire on them I pray for them, and that is the end of it.  I never hear anything.   I don’t usually even know if our homestudy was received.  Sometimes I do get a “thank you for inquiring” form email back.   I have started being very pro-active.  The three I posted the link to I have done everything I can to be noticed.  I’m not sure I have been, at least by the right people.   I don’t know what line is the right to take to be taken seriously.  I don’t know when squeaking becomes to much and they block your emails or have a special trash file for them.  I just know that I have to cry out.   I struggle with is this God putting up road blocks or CPS.  If I was alone in not having emails returned, not having workers call me back then I would see it as God, but the truth is that everyone I talk to has the same problem.  People in Texas, people in New Mexico, people in other states.  

The average wait, AVERAGE is over 3 years to be adopted.   The older the child the harder to place, and the more serious a lot of the issues are.  These same children that can’t be placed will at 18 be left to sink or swim.  I guess my question is what are you and your family doing to find a home for these children?   I do know that not everyone can adopt, not everyone is called to adopt, but everyone has a voice and if enough voices cry out, if enough people help those that are trying then your voice will change the life of a child or a nation, one child at a time.  

Over the years I have done lots of Bible searching for how God sees our children that no one wants, that are hurting and ugly and unlovable.   I challenge you to do your own searching on adoption and on taking care of orphans.  I don’t want to tell anyone what to believe, or think or do, but I do ask that you think, that you believe and as the Lord leads act!  

There I have shared my heart!  Be gentle if you disagree with my thinking or my thoughts.  I would love to hear commits even if you don’t agree with my thoughts.   I would love ideas on how our system needs to be overhauled.  I don’t think pouring more money in is the answer there needs to be some basic design changes to make it work.  

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday! Full of blessings!!!

Church today was awesome.  We had an overflow crowd.  I think we counted just over 50 warm bodies ranging in age from 7 months up.  

 After church we had a tiny rain shower.  Left us thankful for each drop.  We are expecting more over this week.  Praying we get LOTS and it is over many days.  After that we checked out the garden.  Planting some sweet potato slips a friend gave me.  Pulling some weeds, and just enjoying a cool, but humid evening.  

Look at my birdhouse gourds!   They are over and under the netting to the garden.  I am trying to watch and make sure they stay totally that way.  The half and half ones get worked through.
 We are baby sitting this weekend.  Meet Squish!   She is about 20 months old.   She is a cuddle bug! 
 We are also keeping Squish's older brother and sister.   I put all of them to work.  See this nice pile of white dirt/rock?   It needs to be moved into the garden to rock the walk way and keep the weeds down.
 Yes, this is a BIG dog!  He is also a sweet dog!  Meet Grizzly!  Squish really likes him as you can tell!
 This is my favorite picture.  I wish my camera, on my phone, took better pictures.

Hope every one's day has been as blessed as ours.  The sun is about down, living room is filled with kids playing blocks, cars and other fun things.  Older kids are reading books are reading wish books, filled with books they want.  CBD wish books can be a bad thing in a house full of readers!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Interesting Blog on Sugar, Please share your thoughts...

A friend share this blog on fb.  I wanted to pull some of the things she talks about out and share here.   I really encourage everyone to go read the blog fully.   Here are some of her findings in her researching sugar that may surprise you.  Some of it did me some I already knew.  

sugar was three times more addictive than cocaine. 

Did that surprise you?  It did me.  I knew sugar was addictive but 3 times more than cocaine?  Wow!  

Surprising to me, however, was that indigenous women who converted to this “modernized” diet began giving birth to children who would have decreased bone mass (including in their skull) and reduced jaw/facial bone sizes. This change caused them to have inadequate space in their mouth for all of their teeth, causing crowding and painful eruption of their third molars (wisdom teeth).
Makes you wonder if this is why so many kids now have braces on their teeth.   I wonder if our soda filled world of mommies realize the price of those soda's in braces down the road.

The group that had consumed the largest amount of sugar had essentially no functioning white blood cells within an hour after consuming the sugar.
Does this explain so much illness?  Or maybe not explain, but could this be a contributing factor to why so many are ill, so many have issues that are long term and never seem to get better?  I do know personally that when I was battling chronic fatigue and a chronic yeast infection I ended up giving up all sugar and all yeast bread.  For several years anytime I over indulged I was again attached with a serious yeast infection and generally felt yucky for days. That was also when I gave up Dr. Pepper.  One big Dr. Pepper equaled days or weeks of raging yeast infection. It wasn't worth it! 

Refined sugar causes the liver to store up fat, resulting in reduced liver and kidney function. The mineral deficiencies caused by sugar include a major loss of magnesium which is responsible for keeping blood vessels open.
I find this super interesting in that I have just discovered that giving my 10 yo magnesium calms him.  It stopped the tantrums.  It changed his ADHD issues into ADD.  I have a friend that is dealing with kidney issues right now.  I know she does have a sweet tooth.  I wonder.....  Is liver fat what leads to fat in our blood?   The liver should be cleaning the blood, but if it is filled with fat, how can it clean right?   Again I am doing more thinking on here than anything else.

Long-term effects include depression, addiction, autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. In fact, it is commonly known that cancer cells need sugar in order to survive, so eating sugar just invites cancerous cells to grow and thrive.

WOW!!!  How many people do you know that are dealing with at least one of these?   I know some that are dealing with MOST of these.  

The Church, for instance, would never allow cocaine or heroin to be distributed within its walls, but hands out sugar-laden products in common areas and the children’s classrooms.
This has been a pet peeve of mine for many years that gets louder as I learn more.   Not just the church, but any and every well meaning place that is going to do any thing with children think they need to feed them sugar.  Often they combine sugar and red food coloring then complain because the kids are climbing the walls.  The kids get blamed for misbehaving while the adults just gave them foods filled with stimulants and depressants and their bodies are out of control.

I read all this, I post it and my thoughts and really don't have an easy or even good answer.   Give up sugar?   Sound simple, but sugar and even worse corn syrup is hidden in so many things you wouldn't expect.  Cook from scratch?   That seems to be the answer.   That said as my kids make French toast and eat syrup for breakfast.   I do think it is a process.  I think I have back slid, in part because my husband isn't on board with no sugar.   Yes, he is highly addicted I think.   I know I am one that if I can totally avoid sweets I do better than just eating small amounts.  It does leave me wanting more.   I find eating at home is easy.  I really don't eat sugar often, and can easily stop.  It is when I go to friends homes, and am offered sweets or out to eat I fall off the wagon.  I don't get my sugar fix from drinks.  Coffee and tea are without sugar. My fix comes from chocolate chips, or cookies or cake or brownies.

I am going to work toward no sugar more.  I am going to work toward teaching my children ways to eat without sugar.  I ask others to come along side me and support me and I will support them and together we can improve not only our health, but the generations to come!  We do it not for us but for our children, our grandchildren, our great grand children.  When I think of it like that it seems very important to change our mindset.  To re-write what we eat.   To stop allowing the world to feed us, but instead learn to feed ourselves the way God intended. 

Please please share your thoughts on this.  Read the article.   Share your thoughts on it or sugar in general.  This is one of those topics I really want to sit down with a cup of coffee or ice tea, (without sugar of course) and visit and talk and discuss with my friends.   Since I have friends around the world, lets visit on here! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

All Four Finished!!!

Count them FOUR!  Finished Quilts!  I managed to do all of them in less than a week.  That's pretty good for me.  No they aren't fancy, and seasoned quilters would laugh but they were done with love and I am proud of them.

Here is 2 year old with hers.  I found some faded looking pink into white blanket binding to do hers with.   She is our pink girl.

 She is also our serious one.  Getting a smile is hard.  I think she likes it.  

 I know her sister does!  She came and invaded the pictures! 

 Not a totally clear shot, but I loved it!   If you could have heard the sounds of cooing that were going with it.
 Then on to the big boy of the group!  His favorite color is yellow so a yellow binding.  
 I gave the little one her quilt on the floor to keep her distracted.   She found a buddy for it.  Or the buddy found her quilt and like her liked the feel.

 This may be my favorite picture!  Yes, she loves the kitten and the kitten was not making any effort to get away. 
 More of the 4, almost 5 year old showing off his cape er I mean blanket.  He thought it would make a good super man cape.
 Babies are just the best subjects!   I had to get one more of her!  

Messy Chicken

Last night I made an old time favorite supper,  Messy Chicken.  I'm not sure how healthy it is but it sure is good. I thought I would share as it is super easy.  I think you could crock pot it easy also.

Remember I am making for the masses so I made a LOT.  Also remember nothing is carved in stone and measurements are estimates as I don't measure anything.

10 lbs chicken quarters
1 large box corn flakes, I use the cheapest I can find.
If I have mushrooms I slice some up.

I layer chicken, corn flakes and mushrooms in my pan.   Once that is done I blend about a quart and 1/2 of milk with maybe 2 rounded table spoons of corn starch, and a large spoon of better than bullion.  I usually toss some black pepper in the blender, blend and pour over the chicken.  Cover and cook until done.

Simple and fast to get on to cook and wonderfully  tasty when served! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Quilt Two Finished!

Today in my quiet house, with only two children it was very quiet.  I worked on the second quilt.  Grand son was here so I did his next.  I decided on the green binding for his.  I think he liked it!

I'm not sure why the colors didn't show up as well.  I think it must have been the light from outside that messed it up.  The colors of the top are the same as the other one.  

Two more to go.  I really have the hard part done.  I may have one back that I need to piece, but the other I have way more than enough material to do the "girly" one.  The brown for the boy one may have to have some streaching.