Cast of Characters

Cherub Mamma (me): Sleep deprived, work-at-home mom trying to juggle the needs of all the members of the house while also trying to not eat too much chocolate.

Mr. Amazing is the wonderful man that I've been married to for 22 years. He's a terrific husband and an amazing father to all of our children. Our marriage is something I am thankful for every day of my life.

Cherub 1 (AKA Herman): 20 year old boy. Amazing son of mine that is slowly becoming a mature adult (key word = slowly)! One moment he's mature, responsible and a contributing member of society. Then, in the next moment, I'm scared to death for his future and I feel like a failure of a parent. Herman is a kind and compassionate kid who is a wonderful big brother. Herman has ADHD and depression that is relatively well managed. He lives at home and is attending trade school to become an automotive mechanic.

Cherub 2 (AKA TT): 14 year old boy. TT is incredibly insightful for his age. He looks at life differently than most. He is active and rambunctious. He's also my favorite cuddle bug. TT was our first foster placement ever when we fostered in Iowa. He was adopted at birth. TT struggles significantly with anxiety and is diagnosed with dyslexia.

Cherub 3 (AKA Bart): 12 year old boy. Talks more than anyone you'll ever meet. Is the happiest child I've ever known...except when he's ticked off. Bart is very positive and has an outlook on life that many in the world would benefit from if they could be a little like him. (According to my mother we should all #LiveLifeLikeBart.) Bart seems to find joy in the smallest of things. He also has significant ADHD (heavy on the "H") and keeps me on my toes!!

Foster Placements:

(January 18, 2017 - present) 
Whiz: toddler who will be turning two years old on July 2. He's super smart...my Whiz Kid! He's spent most of his life in foster care. Whiz was placed at or near birth with his first foster family. He was reunified with both his parents in November 2016. Unfortunately, circumstances changed and Whiz had to enter Care again. I was told that his first foster family couldn't take him back - though I wasn't given much of a reason why.
Rex: sibling to Whiz and almost exactly 11 months younger than him. Both boys keep me hopping! This is Rex's first go-round in foster care. When he was born, despite the fact that his older brother was in Care, Rex went home with his parents.
This particular case started out with a goal of reunification. The goal in this case is relative adoption. We're waiting on ICPC to go through so the two boys can move to an aunt and uncle's house in California.
Adding to the mix of fun, these boys show many, many signs of being affected by FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder). Both boys are developmentally delayed - especially in the area of language and communication. Even though I said "yes" to two, healthy, "basic"-leveled boys with no special needs...I'm definitely parenting two toddlers with significant special needs!

(April 6, 2015 - August 1, 2016) Russell and Star got their permanency with Russell's paternal grandmother and her family. This relative placement did not pass their home study the first time around. And sadly, many of the concerns that CPS had were not "really" addressed at all. The children were moved after a court hearing. We were given about four hours to pack their belongings and to say goodbye. The grandparents severed all ties with me immediately. I'm Facebook friends with their mother though, so I do see occasional pictures as she still has limited contact with the children.
 Russell: This bundle of baby was 20 months old when he arrived. Sadly, he has seen a lot of abuse (15 fractures) and neglect in his short little life. Russell has Down syndrome and also came with the diagnosis of Failure to Thrive (he weighed less than 10 pounds as of February 2015). Russell is an incredibly happy baby and is super easy to care for!! He's making terrific progress in The Crazy House. He's growing tall, gaining weight, and learning to do all the things babies should be able to do.
Russell has two sisters as well. His big sister, Violet, is three years old. She is in a kinship placement for the time being. His little sister, Star, lives with us.
(June 18, 2015 - August 1, 2016)
Star: Infant girl, born April 15, 2015. Half-sister to Russell. To the best of my knowledge, Star was never physically harmed before coming to live with us....though someone did call the Hotline to report abuse. She lived with an aunt for one week after removal from Mom. That placement fizzled out and she came to live with us. She is beautiful and developing just as a perfect infant should.

(January 26, 2015 - March 2, 2015)
The Neverland Kids stayed such a short time because respite homes couldn't be found when my father suddenly passed away. I needed to make an urgent trip across the country and CPS insisted that I disrupt vs. respite care and return to me. It was not my choice to disrupt but I had to be there for my forever family!
Captain:
5 year old boy. Oldest of a large sibling group (not all placed with us) including Pirate and Tinkerbell. He suffered a horrific trauma and we're all just getting to know each other.
Pirate: 3 year old boy. Speaks a mix of English, Spanish and gibberish. Definitely needs speech therapy. He's very active and so far needs a lot of redirection.
Tinkerbell: 13 month old little girl. Perfect baby in every way if you don't factor in the horrific trauma she was a part of. She has seen things that if I saw would make me a shell of a human being for a long, long time.

(December 2013 - October 2014)
Daisy:
Came to me at 7 months old and left the day before her 17 month old "birthday". Daisy is a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Caring for Daisy involved lots of work with specialists and therapists for PT, OT, ST and vision. When she left she functioned at about the developmental age of 8-12 months. (She was learning to walk but couldn't self-feed well at all and had almost no language.) Daisy went home to her mother, Kori. I pray daily that Kori is able to meet all of Daisy's needs and that she is able to protect Daisy from future abuse.
Daisy came back in to foster care February 24, 2015 along with her newborn sister, Dandelion. CPS was finally able to get enough evidence that Kori was allowing contact between Daisy and her abuser. Sadly, my home was full with the Neverland Kids and I couldn't welcome Daisy back. My agency also wouldn't let me disrupt the Neverland Kids to take Daisy (as my relationship with Daisy had been much longer and so few homes are capable of meeting Daisy's medical needs). The Flower Girls initially went to a shelter. I was given no information about their new foster home when they were finally placed several days later.
After being in foster care for some time, the case with the Flower Girls was closed. Daisy and Dandelion were placed permanently with a paternal aunt. I stopped communicating with Kori when this happened. It was a natural break in our relationship.
After CPS completely closed the case, the paternal aunt that had been granted custody gave the girls back to Mom & Dad (illegally).
Daisy is now back in foster care because Dandelion was murdered (shaken/beaten to death) on May 3, 2016. I have very little information on this case as it is in Central Texas - where Mom & Dad had moved. I'm over 5 hours away and wasn't considered for placement of Daisy.

(May 30, 2014 - June 20, 2014)
Wispy: 20 month old little boy (when he was with us) who is tall and thin and has beautiful, blond, wispy hair. He arrived on a Friday night because his current foster family was in need of emergency respite care. He was supposed to stay three nights. The situation changed though and his first foster family is no longer going to foster. After much prayer, Mr. Amazing and I decided to make our house his home so he wouldn't have to move again and find yet another mommy in his life. CPS thought differently though and in order to make their paperwork easier, they moved him away from us back to his home county.

(December 2013 - May 2014)
Ricky:
Came to me at age 16 and left six months later at age 17. He's a victim of The System and - seriously - did not need to be in formal foster care. But due to the courts and things that happened beyond anyone's (except the judge's) real control, he was with us instead of with his godmother. At the hearing in May 2014, the judge finally saw reason when CPS couldn't give a good reason for him to not be with his godmother. Ricky aged out of The System and continues to do fabulously with his godmother. He has a job, is on the dive team, and will be a senior 2015-2016 in high school. We still see Ricky frequently and he and Herman are good friends.

(June 2011 to Sept. 2013)

Much was written about these two wonderful children. Our hopes of intervening in their case and ultimately adopting them were dashed in September 2013. The children live with their grandmother in a situation that was never proven to be safe. -- as of October 2014, these cherubs are still in foster care with their grandmother. She has not been given full custody yet. I pray for them often. -- as of December 2015, the case has been closed. They still live with their grandmother. But she is ill (with cancer). I've heard that she wants to send the children back to foster care but to the best of my knowledge, that hasn't happened yet.
Dolly: Came to me at 3 1/2 and left the day before she turned 6. Sister to Dude. Gorgeous little girl that loves babies more than anything. Has a charming smile and a twinkle in her eye.
Dude: Came to me at 2 1/2 and left at age 5. Brother to Dolly. Adorable dimples make his smiles melt my heart.

(Jan. 2, 2011 to Sept. 2, 2011)
(Sept. 13, 2011 to Sept. 21, 2012)
Pumpkin Pie:
Came to me at 5 1/2 years old and was 7 when she left. Pumpkin was easy to care for but was very developmentally delayed. She functions around the age 18-24 months. Pumpkin completely opened my eyes to special needs parenting and the joys (cough cough) of special education. After much needless waiting and System screw ups, Pumpkin was finally placed with a very loving aunt and uncle.

(Sept. to Nov. 2010)
MissArguePants:
8 year old (at the time) foster daughter. Textbook case of PTSD, ODD, anxiety and attachment disorder. Made life very interesting!
TurtleTurtle: 9 year old (at the time) foster daughter. Diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, depression and more. Also made for an interesting parenting experience!
--- MissArguePants and TurtleTurtle left our home after boundaries were crossed that threatened the safety of our forever children.

Other Characters:

Mr. Wonky: not an actual person, but rather a state of dysregulation. Mr. Wonky "visits" our home regularly. He will visit all my kids from time to time. But he likes to complicate things for Cherub 2 the most.

Rainbow: currently the recruiter at our licensing agency. Prior to her current title though, Rainbow was our actual licensing worker. She has known our family for many years. She's the reason we're staying with our current agency as opposed licensing through a new one.

Bopper: the CPS case worker for Russell and Star. She's a young thing with a heart for Jesus. She's a timid little church mouse though. Sweet as anything but scared of everything. She is not what you would think of when "CPS social worker" is said.

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