Sunday, November 11, 2012

Those Children in Our Photos

Emma and Rylie are 6 and 4, brother and sister, the grandchildren of close family friends.  They have an older half-brother, who was removed from his mom's care and placed with the grandparents, who eventually adopted him.  Both of their parents have had problems with substance abuse and the law.

The state removed Emma and Rylie from their home in 2010, and placed them with their grandparents.  Then their grandmother had a heart attack, so they were placed back with their mom (with a restraining order to keep their dad away).  Then their grandfather had heart surgery, too.  

By March 2012, the state had received several reports that the children were not being cared for.  Emma had missed 33 days of kindergarten and been tardy 60 times.  When the state finally removed them from their home for the second time, the grandparents couldn't take them.  They were going to be put in foster care, so Jodie and I volunteered to help care for them to keep them out of the foster system.     

We started taking them every weekend, while they spent the weekdays with their grandparents.  At the end of May, Jodie took a two-month leave of absence from her job and they moved in with us full-time.  We went to court and were given temporary custody in mid-June.  By the end of August, the children had started calling us "Mommy" and "Daddy," on their own.  We answered as if it were perfectly normal, although it was unexpected and strange.  In late September, a final order gave us custody that is - barring some exceptional and unexpected turn-around by the parents - permanent.  However, because both the kids and we worry that something could happen to take them away, we are now fighting to adopt them.

Sweet morning moments, back when he still used his "bo-bo" 
Silly sticker boy.

Seaweed salad.

They've become good friends with my nephews, and see them usually twice a week or more.

Girl can hold a pint glass (of root beer).

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies and The Sound of Music.

Ready for school.


Watching Mary Poppins

Cute kids, cleared for take-off....  Before we sold the airplane.


All 3 goofing off before school/work

Recent family trip for a beach weekend in Hilton Head, SC

Poster child for the wonders of a Montessori education.

Emma was in kindergarten last year, but missed so many days of school that they were going to keep her back and not let her go to first grade.  With her grandparents' help, she just made it into first grade.  I took her to reading classes last summer, and she has caught up with her peers.  We have them both enrolled in a Montessori school near our house.  I take them to school every day before going to my office, sometimes by car, sometimes by bicycle.

Helping with the flower beds and garden

My family

Helping in the garden, and "building a worm farm."

Rylie just started cello lessons, and has "a knack" for it, according to his teacher.

Emma loves to help host dinner parties, and is very good at it.

Family weekend at Fall Creek Falls State Park.

They're growing up so fast - in just a year we've seen a huge change.

Recent trip to Disney - a dream come true for the kids, an endurance test for me.


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