Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I have two cats. Neither of them so I consider to be a "good" cat. Neither one will sit in your lap, or let you hold them. And only one will let Cookie touch her. Both will swat at or nip at the girls if they touch them or touch them too long or in the "wrong way". So neither is a very good pet.

To top it off, our LitterMaid (electronic litter box) went kaput this week. While they cost close to $200, the motors burn out on them and they don't last longer than 2 years - tops. And you have to buy cartridges for them. So, we bought a new electronic litter box that uses dehydrating crystals. It's called "Scoop Free". Since bringing it home a week ago, the counter reads that the cats have only gone in 10 times. I have cleaned poop off the floor daily and recently discovered the pile of laundry that the cats had been peeing on. I trashed it rather than attempt to clean it. I am disgusted. I even tried putting their old type litter in it, but to no avail. Also, the Scoop Free uses $15 cartridges that you completely throw away and for a 2-cat household that will last you about 2 weeks. So, $30 a month in cartridges for a $2oo machine. Brilliant. But I refuse to scoop a litter box, and both cats are declawed and completely indoors.

While I like the cats, and care about them, I wouldn't say I "love" them. I've had cats I "loved". My Honey Cat that I got my first year away at college lived 14 years, and I agonized over putting her down when she had heart failure and fluid in her lungs.

I got Callie (current cat #1) when one of my two cats got out of the house and never was found. Honey Cat was lonely, so I went to the Humane Society and found Callie. She was a year old, and very skittish. She had been abused. She is now around 7 or 8 years old, and will not be held even for a milisecond. She's beautiful and soft and likes to be petted and will lay near you, but that's about it.

I got Macy Gray (current cat #2) when Honey Cat died - making her about 4 years old now. Callie mourned the loss of her companion cat and moped around "crying". We got Macy Gray at the Humane Society as well as a brand new kitten. She's also spayed and declawed. She never became a "lap cat", and in the two and a half years Cookie has been with us and the year Bit-Bit's been in the picture, she's NEVER allowed a child to touch her. So much for being a "family pet".

So, my two cats are pretty much house decoration. And now they have peed and pooped all over the upstairs hallway surrounding their litter box. I hate to just give up on them, but even if I could find just the right litter and box, they still aren't nice to the girls.

My kids are my priority. If Cookie wants a cat, I'll get her one that is HER cat - that allows her to hold and pet her and gives something back to the family as opposed to just shedding, peeing, and pooping.

On top of it all, my husband does not like cats. He's always humored me and my love of cats, though. He even was upset when Honey Cat had to be put to sleep. Coincidently, we both dislike dogs immensely. I grew up with neighbors who raised pit bull dogs for sport (aka a certain former Atlanta Falcon) and threw live small animals into the cages to watch them being torn to bits. Its no surprise I don't like dogs. I can pet a nice dog - even kinda like my brother's Beagle, but I would never willingly own a dog.

So, tonight I told Michael he could crate the cats and take them to the Humane Society and surrender them. I don't know what else to do. I feel like a horrid pet owner, but I've given them the best life I knew how to. And now they aren't good around my kids. I can't have a house of cat pee and poop around the kids, and they aren't anywhere near what I would consider a "pet". I don't know any other good option.

We are going on a 2-week vacation to FL soon, and would have left them here with a semi-sitter who would check in on them and play with them and feed them. But I can't leave them and have them peeing and pooping unattended for 2 weeks. I'm at a real loss. I feel awful about this.

I like the cats, but my gut tells me they've got to go.

What would you do?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My "Little" Cookie

...isn't so little anymore. Here's just a snapshot of her yesterday morning:

She's 36.5" tall, and weighs 32 pounds now - and is a little over 2 1/2 years old now. My Bit-Bit will turn 1 at the end of the month. What beautiful girls they are turning into. I am honored to have been chosen to be their mom.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Me: "Hey Cookie, how did you get to be so smart?"
Cookie: (without missing a beat and looking at me with that "duh mommy" look) "God!"

Her favorite shoes to wear are what she calls "Foot Lops" (flip-flops).

She has discovered how addicting Pop-Ice are.

She has her own patch of flowers she helped plant, and she loves watering them daily with her little pink watering can.

Her favorite activity is water color painting, and she must own about 30 different brushes in all shapes and sizes. When she paints, she carefully selects which one to use, but will eventually use each one. She is a very careful and studious (and serious) painter. It's cool to watch.

She recently turned an official 2 AND A HALF (she now loves to add the "and a half" part when you ask how old she is)

We are doing swimming lessons this summer, and Cookie loves it - except she fusses a lot if I make her go under the water. In fact, she detests it.

We are trying potty training again full-force. She is doing well as recently got rewarded with "good fairy panties" (toddler panties with Tinkerbell on them). She is in love with them. I hope it is enough motivation. She knows when she has to go - it's all about choice and convenience for her. In sum, she's too darn busy to bother to stop and use the potty.

She still sleeps in our bed.

She loves her little sister, and is very good to her. She plays so much better with her than we ever expected her to at this age. She can't stand to hear her sister crying, and prods us to go get her out of the crib if we aren't acting fast enough for her taste.

She is still a huge cuddle bug who can't get enough holding and cuddle time. I'm going to love it while she still wants it.

We are slowly easing away from the sippy cup. It's kinda of her last big vice. No paci for her - only sippy cups.

Poor kid - it must be hard being 2 and having big people control your every move and take away all the good stuff from you. :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cookie Scissorhands

One of Cookie's favorite things these days are scissors. We've carefully taught her how to hold and use her child's "safety" scissors, and drilled her on the dangers of scissors and what we can and cannot do with scissors.

Yesterday, we allowed her to sit at the kitchen table and cut up paper while we supervised her. Apparently, I became too apathetic in my supervision, and in the 5.3 seconds that I did not have my eyes on her, she silently slipped into the livingroom and...

cut up several pieces of mail
cut the nipple off Bit-Bit's pacifier !!??!!
cut several pages in the textbook I teach out of, AND
cut a hole in the front of the dress she was wearing

All that and she did NOT get spanked. Frankly, we had to turn away for fear she would see us laughing. It was he-larious. Poor Bit-Bit. At least we have spare pacifiers.

She did get a FIRM talking to, and the scissors got taken away. But we had to wait until we could do it without cracking up.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

That Being Said...

Well, I've calmed down a bit. But was worth writing. I suppose I should clarify how I feel about my daughter's birth-mother. I don't use the term birth-mother a lot. I simply cannot. And it has even more to do with the abuse she inflicted on her birth children that I have never met (and likely may never meet). They are now 9 and 6. They were beaten, neglected, and sexually abused by she and her husband in addiction to being born cocaine-addicted. They were adopted a year before Cookie was born (adopted by the loving couple who were their foster parents - praise God!) I pray for them a lot. My daughters do not know about them, and we will not tell them until they are at the very least teenagers, or maybe adults. It will be hard for them to digest.

And what shall we tell them about their birth parents? For now, we tell them nothing. Cookie knows she is "adopted", though she knows little about what adoption means in terms of who gave birth to whom and that she didn't grow in my tummy. She knows she was brought to us by a social worker, that we went to court, and that she became a forever member of our family. The fact that another human body served as an incubator is of little relevance to us or to her and her well-being. Certainly once we begin talks about the birds and bees, we'll weave in that another woman carried her and gave birth to her.

But the rest of the story is hard to tell. I can't say "she loved you", or "she cared about you". I don't lie, and I won't lie. Lying would simply teach my children that it's OK in some instances. I believe that it is NEVER OK to lie. Period. The truth is she may never have had much of chance in life, on the streets and meeting up with a criminal and drug addict in his 30s when she was just 12. No education, biological family but no support system. I suppose I could say she is "sick or ill", but that doesn't begin to explain it. I could say she is a drug addict. That's true, and we will tell them that at a fairly young age. Drug talks are a must even with your biological kids with no risk factors.

But I won't walk around bashing her, either. That's the difference between my blog and, I can be tough, but I'm more likely to be a doormat. I can talk tough here, but in real life I save my rants for private time with good friends who "get" me. I don't rant in front of my kids - not even when they are home and in another room. I just don't do it.

We don't talk about their birth parents at all. They aren't in a lifebook. I don't have family pictures. I have a mug-shot of Cookie's alleged birth father (birth mom's husband who is incarcerated as well). Ah, nah, no mug shots in a lifebook. Unh-uh. No way. That picture is in her presentation summary and will remain under lock and key.

See, there's no sweet little birth family story here. No birth mom who simply messed around in high school and gave up her child for adoption. No bitter-sweet overseas adoption story of poverty-stricken or deceased birth parents and a rescued child. No open adoption bliss. In fact, our adoption is ultra-closed for our personal safety. We never even met their birth mom because the cabinet feared for our safety. This was a potentially dangerous situation. We were even told where not to take the baby when we shopped because that was the neighborhood where a relative lived.

I can't make it good. Their adoption albums don't have any "birth family" pages. There's nothing I can put there. I have names and history and information, and that we will share when and if they are ready to hear it and capable of processing it. We may even choose to do it with some assistance of professionals and extended family.

But I won't make it some horror story they have to shoulder, either. We tell them they are miracles. EVERY NIGHT when we pray, the FIRST thing we say is "Thank you Jesus for Cookie. We are SO glad you sent her to be our little girl. And thank you Jesus for Bit-Bit. We are so glad you sent her to be our little girl, and that you are allowing us to adopt her just like we adopted Cookie."

So, I might talk smack on my blog, but the talk at home and with the girls is always positive. The negative will always be there, so there's no need to emphasize it. They'll know we aren't their biological parents. Um, it's rather obvious. :)

I still haven't completely worked through my anger toward their birth parents. I'm not sure it will ever go away completely. I pray it becomes more of compassionate/sadness for them. But I can't forget what they did.

We're closing our home as foster parents. We're also strongly considering seeking to leave Kentucky. It's been OK, but God's been talking to us a lot lately, and showing me many signs that our time here may be ending before too awful long. I'd like to be within driving distance of family. But I do know that leaving Kentucky means that when our daughters birthmom gets out of jail in two years, and gets pregnant yet again (because she's only 25 now and that's her pattern), that that child will go to another family. Strangely, we're OK with that. We didn't adopt her first two kids, and we can't adopt every child she might have before she's done. Maybe there's another couple desperately praying for a child as we were 3 years ago. It would be fine (I think).

The term birth-parent becomes a little problematic when "parent" connotes a certain level of care. I actually find myself at a loss for an appropriate term for the woman who gave birth to my daughters.

If anyone out there has birth-parent story issues because of the horrific nature of the situation, I'd love to hear from you. I'd love to know how you told your children about them, and when you told them, and how you dealt with questions. We're trying to get it right. Unfortunately, we're probably going to screw up a whole bunch.