Thursday, September 30, 2010


My brain must work differently from other people's or something...  Because when I heard the following announcement on our overhead intercom system at work the other day, I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

"May I have your attention please?  To the owner of a white BMW 335i Sedan, license plate number ABC-123, your driver's side door is open."

You're kidding me, right?  "IS open???"  Someone seriously took the time to make note of the color, make, and model of the vehicle, write down the license plate number, walk to the out-of-the-way receptionist's desk, relay the information to her, and have her make an announcement to have the owner of the vehicle stop what they are doing, walk the 1/2 mile hike to the parking lot, and shut their own door?!?!? 

Call me crazy, but if I saw someone's car door wide open and no one was around...  I'd shut the door for them!  If I was feeling nice, I'd relay the information to the receptionist so she could let them know that their door was open and that they might want to check the contents of their vehicle and make sure their battery wasn't dead, but I would at least shut the door for them.  Seriously!  Why would you go to all of that trouble and just leave the door wide open?!?

F'real!!!  What is wrong with people?!?  They are trippin'!!!  Trippin', I say.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Motivational" Posters

My BFF works in a department that most people are afraid to go anywhere near.  Not so much because of the nature of the work that they perform...  but more because of the volatile atmosphere.  We're talking screaming matches, theft, vandalism of personal property, fist fights, etc.  AT WORK!  There is one woman in particular who is the common denominator in every single battle, and in Katie's words "that b1tch be crazy!" 

In an effort to alleviate some of the animosity in the department, a couple of the group's employees have taken it upon themselves to display varying motivational posters and email daily inspirational quotes to the entire department.  So naive...  So optimistic...  So completely delusional...  Katie of course sends them my way...  Not to inspire me, but to allow me the opportunity to laugh and mock others right along with her.  Because, seriously...  I think fist fights and vandalism are way beyond the point of "thinking happy thoughts" to make it all go away.  Personally, I think someone needs to be fired.  Namely, "Crazy B1tch."  But we're not big on change around here, so I think unless the actual police get involved (as opposed to our rent-a-cops on campus), Crazy B1tch's job seems to be safe.

Being the super-awesome BFF that I am, I have taken it upon myself to help Katie locate some amazing motivational posters of her own that she can share with her department.  Personally, I think that I would be much more inspired to shape up my behavior and attitude if I was sent one of these as opposed to a sweet little poster telling me to "Rise Above."

The mere thought of having to ask, "You want fries with that?" on a daily basis should be enough to send any grown person into a panic.  I think if my boss sent me this poster, I'd shape up fast!

I think this would work well too.  Short.  Sweet. Concise.  Effective.

What exactly are you trying to say?!?  I don't want to be the stupid person!

This is one of those reverse psychology things.  "Wait a minute!  The smart people left?  I guess I need to quit so I can say I'm a smart person!"

A not-so-subtle way of telling everyone to "embrace change."

Okay...  So this one would probably provoke another screaming match or fist fight, but I think it's pretty funny.  :-)

And these, I just think are funny and wanted to share...

While my approach to group motivation and team building might be a little unconventional, I think it could work.  Katie, tell your boss if he's not going to outright fire Crazy B1tch, he should at least consider sending out my motivational posters.  You never know...  It could work!  (Although in Crazy B1tch's case, I think a little jail time is the only solution.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Boy...

Dear Booger Bear,

Today is your 2nd birthday, and I wish more than anything that I was there to celebrate it with you.  It's hard to believe that the sweet little baby who completely stole my heart from the moment I opened my door and he flashed that two-toothed smile at me is now an official "big boy."  :-)  As much as I wish you were still mine, I know that you're just as happy and as loved with your daddy as you were when you were with me.  I pray every day that you continue to feel safe and loved and that your life is full of happiness. 

I learned so much from you, Booger Bear!  Probably just as much from you as you learned from me...  In the year that you were with me, I learned what it really means to be a mom.  Because of you, I learned that I can share my whole heart and my love with other little ones who need me, and even though I'll hurt desperately when they leave, because of what you've taught me, I'll open my heart again and again. 

I love you and I miss you every day, and I hope that you know that no matter where you are in the world...  And no matter how much time passes...  You will always be my little boy.  Happy Birthday, Booger Bear!

Mimi loves you!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Living in Limbo

Living in Foster/Adopt Land is like living in a constant state of limbo.  The only thing that is consistent is the inconsistency!  As foster parents, we are completely at the mercy of others...  Other people's schedules...  Other people's motivation (or lack thereof)...  Other people's opinions (which in Foster/Adopt Land, are always considered more relevant and important than our own)...  Limbo is not a good place to be when you're impatient, a "planner" by nature, and a bit of a control freak!  :-)

I'm the type of person at restaurants who usually ends up saying, "Good grief!  What did they have to do?  Plant, grow, and harvest the potatoes?!?"  When I'm stuck waiting in a line at the bank or supermarket, I tend to offer to the cashier, "Do you want me to help you with that?" just to speed things along.  I'm of the mind that "you have to do it yourself if you want it done right."  Fortunately, I'm not quite as bad as I used to be (I take medication for the bipolar, OCD craziness now :-), but there's no total cure for a Type A personality, so I'm rather surprised that I've taken on Foster/Adopt Land at all when it's bound to send me running straight to the Loony Bin at some point.  Hooray for respite care!!!  :-)

So far, so good with my new agency...  Although for the most part, all I've done with them is take all of my annual training classes...  My mom took them with me because she needs them for respite care.  I have to say I am very thankful that she didn't attempt bodily injury to the CPR/First Aid guy (not affiliated with my agency), although I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see a Cajun bayou voodoo doll in his likeness laying around her house with stickpins in the eyeballs.  :-)  He was a condesending, obnoxious old man who kept calling her "grandma" and telling everyone in the class not to listen to anything she said because "grandmas are always wrong when it comes to first aid."  She was not amused.

The director came out to do my homestudy update on the 10th, but her laptop fried half-way through (gotta love non-profits), and then she was out of the office all last week, so we still haven't finished.  So, once again, I am living in limbo waiting on someone else to get their stuff together so I can get on with my life...  I'm still hopeful everything will be cleared this week, and I'll be on the vacancy list and ready for "the call" by this weekend.  I'm just hoping to move out of "licensing limbo" into "foster pregnancy limbo" and quickly into "what the heck is going on with my kid's case limbo" fairly soon.

Monday, September 13, 2010

You Want to Know WHAT?!?

Conversations with 5-year-olds are not as simple as they used to be at 2. Over the past year, I've had a few conversations that I wasn't totally prepared to have with a couple of pre-schooler/kindergarteners... Around Christmas, I got to answer the whole, "Aunt Tammy, you don't have a fireplace! How is Santa going to get in to give the Booger Bear his present?!?" I told them that I planned on leaving a window unlocked, which proved to be a huge mistake. Their eyes got huge, and Buddy said, "I really don't think that's a good idea, Aunt Tammy." Ka-Diva looked at me stearnly and said, "That is not safe." I compromised with them and promised to sleep on the couch so I could just let Santa in when he knocked, rather than risk our safety by leaving a window open. :-)

I've also discovered that five-year-old ears hear everything, and the questions start flowing and just don't stop! I learned that the hard way earlier this year when I was wheelchair bound and my mom was dropping me off at work one day. I saw someone walking out of the building and mentioned to my mom that I thought it was the person who had just undergone gender reassignment surgery, but I wasn't sure because I had met "him" when "he" was a "she." I totally didn't think about the fact that the twins have super-sonic hearing and might actually be able to hear my whisper from the backseat, until Ka-Diva shouted, "WHAT?!? He was a girl?!?" (Oh, holy crapfire... Why did I have to open my mouth?) The ensuing conversation went something like this:

Me: "I'm not sure if that was him or not. He used to work here, but I met him when he was a girl. But yeah, he used to be a girl, but he really, really wanted to be a boy."

Ka-Diva: "WHY?!?"

Me: "I really don't know. He just really did."
Buddy: "How did he turn from a girl to a boy?"

Me: "Well, he went to the doctor and asked him to help, and the doctor gave him some medicine and an operation and helped him be a boy."

Buddy (groaning and rolling his eyes): "That's weird."

Ka-Diva (cracking up): "I think it's hilarious!"

They went home and immediately told my sister about Aunt Tammy's "friend" who was a girl but the doctor turned into a boy before I had a chance to warn her about the conversation. I'm sure she loved that! :-) Every day for the next week the twins would point to people exiting my office, and ask loudly, "Aunt Tammy!!! Is that your friend who was a girl but is a boy now?!?" (Note to self - No more talk of gender reassignment surgery around the 5-year-olds, even when I think they can't hear me.)

My doing foster care has also opened a whole new door of questions that I know none of us were prepared to answer this soon. After Angel moved to her new foster home, but the Booger was still with me, Ka-Diva asked me who his mommy was. "Aunt Tammy, are you Booger's mommy, or is Angel Booger's mommy?" She was confused because she knew that the Booger came out of Angel's tummy, but I was the one who took care of him and acted like a mommy acts. Fortunately, she was satisfied with the answer that Booger was lucky because he had two mommies.  Angel was his mommy because he was in her tummy, and I was his mommy because I took care of him and did all of the things that a mommy is supposed to do.

Most of the questions subsided until recently when the twins found out that Angel is pregnant again.  They also started helping me decorate the nursery for my next foster baby, and then the kids found out that their Mommy is pregnant too! The twins called me as soon as they found out that they were going to be a big brother and big sister, and I could see where my conversation with Buddy was heading, so I quickly steered it in another direction.

Buddy: "Hi Aunt Tammy! Mommy has a baby in her tummy, and I have a cold and can't breathe through my nose." (Buddy is excited about becoming a big brother, but not nearly as excited as Ka-Diva."

After talking about what a good big brother he will be (and his cold), he blurts out, "Aunt Tammy, are you married?"

Me (taken completely off guard): "Uh... No, I'm not married."

Buddy: "Why not?"

Me: "Well, I just haven't fallen in love with the right man, and you have to be very, very in love to get married."

Buddy: "Mommy's married to Daddy, and she's having a baby. You're having a baby. Why aren't you married?"

(Oh boy...) Me: "Well, I'm having a foster baby. Remember? I'm going to take care of a baby whose Mommy and Daddy can't take care of him or her. I don't have a baby in my tummy like Mommy does."

I quickly steered the subject to how exciting it is that he gets to help both me and Mommy decorate two nurseries, etc. I could see the next question that was bound to come up if I hadn't...  Most likely along the same line of questioning that Ka-Diva hit Christy up with the other week.  “How old is Angel? So she isn’t a grown-up? Is she married? No??? Then how did she get a baby in her tummy? Who put the baby there? I thought God put the baby there. Why would God put a baby in her tummy if she's just a kid and isn’t married?!?  He's not going to put a baby in my tummy, is He?!?" And so on and so forth…  All excellent questions!  They are also questions that I really want to avoid if at all possible. I had a hard enough time trying to explain the Booger Bear's situation.  I don't think I'm ready to have the "babies having babies" conversation just yet.  Especially not with a couple of 5-year-olds!

I'm just really hoping that the twins forget that Angel has another baby in her tummy and we don't have to answer any more questions about babies having babies. I'm also glad that I wasn't the one who had to answer all of Ka-Diva's questions the other night!  I can see where all of these questions are heading with the twins, and I really don't want to attempt to answer them...  Especially because there is no good answer, and the whole "God puts the baby there" thing just doesn't make sense!  "Well, Angel had the Booger Bear in her tummy and now she has another baby in her tummy, and she's not married. She's just a kid! Why does Angel keep getting babies in her tummy, Aunt Tammy?"  I'd like to know the same thing, kiddos.  I really would.  I also really want to avoid that conversation if at all possible.

Now that there seem to be babies popping out all over the place, the twins are just full of questions.  Buddy asked the typical, "Mommy, how do babies get in mommies' tummies?" I think she just told him that when a Mommy and Daddy want a baby, God helps them and puts it there. That answer was clearly not good enough because Buddy asked, "I know that, but how does it get there?" Christy said that it was a grown-up thing and that she'd tell him when he was older. A while later, Buddy went back to her and exclaimed, "I know why you won't tell me... It's icky, isn't it?" :-)

I will definitely only be fostering infants for a while. At least until the kids are old enough to know all about sex, birth control, and abstinence!!! And I definitely won't be having whispered conversations with anyone when they are anywhere in the vicinity because their super-sonic super-power hearing is way too advanced. From now on, the most questionable thing I will discuss in their presence is whether or not it a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. This is my solemn vow...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

As Quickly as it Began, the Pity Party is Over... :-)

See?  I told you they didn't last long.  :-)  It always helps me to write, and what started out as a "woe is me" pity party, turned into me trying to explain (to myself mostly) why it's so hard for everyone to be just as excited for me during my "foster pregnancies" as they are for everyone else during their traditional pregnancies or adoptions.  It's hard for people to be excited for me when what they see is the inevitable hurt, and I completely understand that.  (Sidenote - If you are one of the people who aren't excited for me, and it's only because you really just don't give a crap, please don't tell me.  Just go with my excuse and no one will get hurt ;-).

Having to have a hysterectomy at 30 years old was hard, but in a strange way, it was also one the best things that has ever happened to me.  If I hadn't had it, I would still be in pain.  I would still be holding on to the slim chance that I might be able to get pregnant through IVF.  I would always wonder, "what if..."  Quite honestly, it's not the whole "being pregnant" thing that I'm sad about missing out on.  I know I'd make a lousy pregnant person!  I do not like to be uncomfortable.  I do not like to be sick.  I do not like having to pee every five minutes.  I do like Diet Coke!  I do like to sleep on my stomach.  And I most definitely do not want to go through the whole squeezing a baby out of my girlie parts thing!  I just get a little sad about missing out on the excitement that comes with pregnancy.  In the end though, all that really matters is that I get to be "mommy" to more little ones than anyone I know. 

If I had been able to get pregnant on my own, I'd probably feel like that was cheating and doing it the "easy" way...  And goodness know, I certainly don't do things the "easy" way!  Where's the fun in that?!?  I say, "Go big, or go home!" :-)  Sure, that might be Bipolar Girl talking, but Bipolar Girl ROCKS when she's on a high!  ;-)

***  Another sidenote - Okay...  I have discovered the real reason that people might be a little less than enthusiastic about my impending motherhood...  I've had several offers to help me after my last post, and I realized that what I really need help with is someone to clean my bathrooms before tomorrow's homestudy.  Heck!  I'm less than enthusiastic about that!  No wonder everyone seems to be avoiding me!  ;-)

I love you guys!!!  :-)

Mourning the Loss of a "Normal" Pregnancy

There's a baby boom going on around me right now... and I'm "expecting" too, in my own way... But lately I've been having one of those spells where I wonder why God chose to make it so hard for me to have what most women take for granted. A "normal" pregnancy experience... Motherhood to children who won't be taken away from me... I don't have these spells very often. And for the most part, I've accepted that I'm never going to have a "normal" road to becoming a mom, but every once in a little bit of sadness comes up to the surface and have myself a little pity party and move on. I guess that's what I'm doing today.

Part of me thinks that I should have gotten knocked up right after high school before the endometriosis messed everything up so bad. At least I would have been able to have a "normal" pregnancy where all of my friends and family were just as excited about the baby as I was. I'd get the excited emails and phone calls from everyone asking me about symptoms and ultrasounds and due dates and baby showers. It would probably even be similar if I was definitely adopting. There would be what most people consider a definite "happy ending," and everyone would be celebrating with me from the very beginning. It seems to be different with foster care.

I think it's hard for other people to be excited for me doing foster care because of the inevitable loss. I rarely hear the phrase, "OMG! That's awesome! I'm so excited for you! I can't wait to meet your new baby!" I almost always hear the phrase, "I couldn't do it" from strangers, friends, and family over and over and over again. Or, just as often, I get nothing. No one asking me anything about timelines or where I am in the process... No questions about how things are going or what I'm doing to get ready for a new little one... No one asking if I want help with decorating the nursery or a shopping buddy for the day... And I can understand that. Foster care is a scary thing, especially when it's not something that you're very familiar with... When all you know about it is that there will most likely be pain and loss within a year... And I can definitely understand that my friends and family don't want to see me get hurt over and over again, so I can see how it could be hard for them to be excited for me when I'm waiting for a new little one to come into my life, knowing that we'll mostly likely all be hurting in the end.

But I also think that what most people don't understand is that for me, it's not the ending or the loss that I'm focusing on. Even before those children come through my door, they are mine. Just as much "mine" as if I had given birth to them myself. I might not know when they are coming, who they will be, or how long they will be physically in my arms, but I experience the same "pregnancy" excitement and anticipation that every pregnant woman feels every time I'm waiting for a new arrival. There's never a guarantee of a "happy ending," so I don't see any reason why foster parents should feel like they have to go into it with less excitement than biological or adoptive parents. I'm looking forward to cuddles and hugs, bedtime stories and lullabies, bathtime splashing, watching as my little ones learn new things, and even changing poopy diapers!

So I think that one of the only times my sadness over not being able to have children the "normal" way comes to the surface is during the time between little ones... When I want to be able to enjoy "foster pregnancy" like any "traditional" mommy-to-be. When I'm giddy with excitement and filled with anticipation of the possibilities, and I want other people to feel it too. I want to run out and register for all of the new and exciting things in baby paraphernalia. I do the whole "nesting" thing and try to make everything new and different for my newest little one. I restock and re-decorate the nursery so each baby has his or her own special place. I am insanely excited, but my excitement always seems to be dampened by the less than enthusiastic reactions that I tend to get from most everyone else. So I take a step back and try to enjoy my "pregnancy" on my own. I make my own lists and put together the nursery and go shopping by myself to get special things for my kiddos. And I pray that when they actually get here, people will see them as mine and not shy away from them or keep their distance because they are afraid of getting too close. These are my kids, and they deserve the very best from the very beginning.

I might not have the opportunity to be a "traditional" mom, but I am a mom. I'll be all "Mama Duggar" by the time I'm through with twenty or more kiddos that I've helped raise in one way or another. And every one of them I will consider mine no matter how long they are in my home and in my arms. One day I will be blessed to be able to adopt one or more of these little ones and they will be legally mine forever, and I want to be able to assure them that they were eagerly-awaited and loved by everyone from before the time they were with me. So I pray that as time goes on, and as I continue to foster little ones who need me, everyone will see that foster care is not all inevitable loss and sorrow. These kids are as much as part of me as if I'd given birth to them myself...  They might not come from my belly, but they do come from my heart... and that is absolutely worth some excitement and eager anticipation!  :-)
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