The Family Moore

The Family Moore

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Home Study

I forgot to mention something important - last night we were assigned our case social worker. This is the person who will conduct our home studies, make recommendations and be our advocate in this process.

Our first visit is April 8.

Very exciting!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Crime & Punishment

Well it had to happen: Tonight we got "the talk" about what was appropriate in the area of disciplining children. The lesson looked at two basic areas: physical punishment and opportunity punishment.

We started the class with a discussion on what discipline was. Now, while most of us would think of spanking, that's not discipline. That's punishment. So what's discipline?

Well, according to the French, discipline is "to give a gift" and if you think about it, that really IS what it is. When we discipline our children, we give them the tools to help them achieve health, happiness and success. We set boundaries that, when crossed, have consequences. They know those boundaries. They know those consequences. And when they test them both they (hopefully) find that their parents are true to their word, are persons they can trust (very important) and can actually find safety, comfort and self-worth. I know that may sound like a non-sequitur but I guess you had to be there for the rest of the lesson.

What about punishment?

I like to tell people I was "brought up by hand," a reference to Pip in Great Expectations. Although Pip said it to mean he was beaten by his sister, I mean it to say that my brother and I were spanked when we got out-of-line. We were also "switched" and, at times, were sent to cut our own instrument of correction. One time I brought back a rotten tree branch. My dad laughed so hard I got out of the spanking.

What I learned tonight is that while physical punishment makes the parents feel better about their frustration, it rarely has the same effect on the kids unless handled VERY carefully.

I remember clearly that my dad never spanked us right when we earned it. And, more importantly, he never spanked us more than three strikes. And before he started, he had a conversation with us wherein we talked about why the pending events were about to occur.

That's the kind if spanking I agree with.

However, when you adopt kids, they have not had the opportunity to be raised in a home where everything was so clearly delineated. Most kids adopted through DHR out of foster care have been abused or, at the very least, neglected. They have issues that kids raised in a stable, loving, caring environment never develop.

Having said that, it became clear to me that spanking may not be the way to go.

We went over 15 different non-physical methods (opportunity punishments) that can help direct a child to a desired behavior. Sounds kinda technical and clinical, huh? At the end of the class I really felt like there were good alternatives to spanking that I had never been exposed to. And, yes, "timeout" is one of them.

This is a big deal for me. For us. Discipline and Punishment are major issues in raising kids. Issues that divide families and friends. Issues that are rooted in faith ("Spare the Rod...") and culture (Dr. Spock). I wish all parents could take this class. It really has been an eye-opener.

Please continue to pray for us and our journey.

(This is Kerri now) One of the other participants in the class mentioned that spanking makes the parents feel better and helps them get out anger. I popped my hand up and said that wasn't necessarily the case. I said that my parents never spanked us in anger - they always waited to spank us so that they would be calm. They explained to us (me and my sister) why they were spanking us - and it was never more than 3 times, I think. It was infrequent - and it was done in a corrective and loving way. The leaders were really impressed and said that I grew up in a home with a lot of love. So Mom and Dad, thanks.

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Gain and A Loss

We were SO excited about today! The bunk beds were coming!!! Along with the two dressers! They did come, but they came with some scratches and a broken staircase...sad times. So, we refused a few pieces (very helpful deliveryman) and have put in a call to Rooms To Go to get replacement parts/sections. The boys' room is cleared out, vacuumed, curtains cleaned and ready to go - with some pieces of furniture sitting there, waiting for the rest of the parts to be put together.

We're waiting for our boys to finish decorating the room. They'll get to choose their sheets and other things about the room so that they can feel like it's theirs. We've heard that some children coming from foster care may bring up to a UHaul full of stuff with them when they go from place to place. We'll find the room!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I know it's probably not a big deal to SOME in my family but we had our fingerprints taken today. It was really kinda cool.

In addition to our annual physicals which we had done today as well, we have reached the end of the paperwork trail. From here on we wait to be assigned a Social Worker to handle our case and move forward.

Our class has dwindled to 13 people - 6 couples and 1 single lady. We wonder about the thought process to begin this class and decide it's not for you. I pray that they feel good about their decisions.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Guided Imagery

Well, tonight's class was a good one. The primary focus this week was for us to gain empathy for the kids by doing an exercise where we would view things from point-of-view of the kids we will adopt.

We sat there with our eyes closed and for fifteen minutes or so the facilitator had us visualize the images she was describing and think about how it impacted us personally.

She started by saying that the family police were coming and taking us from our family. We had 30 minutes to say goodbye and pack one small suitcase. That our new "family" was waiting for us and was so excited that we were coming.

From there, we were taken to our new "home" in a nicer neighborhood with nicer homes and bigger yards. We went to the front door and rang the bell. And waited. The door opened and there they were, our new family, complete kids and the dog.

This goes on for, as I said, 15 minutes or so.

Oh, and she forgot to tell us that we could have no contact with our "former" family.

Imagine if you went through this? I don't have the time or memory to tell you all of the situations she described but at the end she asked us to write down in only one or two words what we thought and then she went around the room and asked us to read our note. Mine said "This Sucks!!" But I also told her that for the first time I got a very clear understanding of what the kids will go through as they move through the system.

I never knew this was going to be so much work. At least it will be easy going AFTER we get the kids, right? RIGHT?? :o)

We know it won't be so no snarky comments. Just keep praying for us.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gains & Losses

It's interesting what you lose and gain at every major step in life.

Think about it. What do you lose when you're born? When you learn to crawl? Walk? Talk? Ride a bike? It's easy to think about what you gain (life, freedom, greater mobility, explicitly expressing your feelings, independence) but what about what you lose?

How about a quiet, warm comfortable environment where every need is met continuously. Someone to carry you everywhere you go. The same but to a greater degree. The simplicity of communication through smiles, gurgles and coos. The innocence that comes with a lack of responsibility.

The exercise we went through was to show us that each major step in life has a gain or loss associated with it and kids (and adults) can choose to focus on either the gain or loss. Some are easy to see and others are not but to try and see both sides helps you determine the benefit of what just happened. Or gives you the drive to do something about it.

It sounds weird to do an exercise like this but it really was an eye-opener.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Life Story

Well, we just finished what was, for me, probably the hardest part so far in our journey. We spent about two hours yesterday (Saturday) and another 4+ hours today sitting and writing our autobiographies. When we were done, mine was a five and a half page, Times New Roman 12-point essay. I haven't worked or thought that hard since college. In the end, I think Kerri and I were a bit burned out.

I must confess that the process made me go back through some thoughts and issues I haven't dealt with in years. Most of them were issues I could have gone the rest of my life and not lost anything by continuing to ignore them.

Many of the questions they ask to guide you through the writing process are simple enough but when you start to explain, you realize you can't really explain that until you explain this. And you can't just start by explaining this until you give some background on why it was that way. And you can't just start off by giving some background on why it was that way until you talk about some other important piece of information. Get the idea? You keep scratching away until you get to a point where you can really begin and then you've forgotten where you were going with the whole thing!!

And then you have to weigh your impressions as a child against them as an adult and you find yourself wondering if you should even mention something because, as an adult, you think differently. You KNOW differently. You act differently.

The more you write, the more you have to write. The more you have to write, the more you feel you have to explain.

By the time it was all over I don't think I had anything left TO write. I certainly didn't WANT to write anything else.

When we finished, feeling rather proud of our accomplishment, I announced to Kerri that we had just finished the last "large" project for the class. She quickly reminded me about the floor plans, the pictures, the scrapbook and the letter to the kids we have to write.

Oh well, there's no end to the paperwork or our commitment to the plans God has for us. I know He will provide the strength and fortitude just as I know He has already called our kids by name. He has counted every hair on their head and knows the color of their eyes. He knows how many freckles each of them has. In all of this knowledge there is great comfort, peace and excitement that carries us through this process.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Kerri's First Message

Greetings! Mike's been doing a great job, but I thought I should weigh in on what's going on. We are so excited! I love the furniture and we're planning on clearing out the room for the new bunk beds over my Spring Break (Mike has taken off with me the last few years).

I bought some books this weekend - James Dobson's Bringing Up Boys and Dare to Discipline and a book called Wild Things. I'm halfway through Bringing Up Boys. It's great and helpful and overwhelming and making me scared and excited all at the same time! It's helping me think about how to teach my all boys class at school better - but also how to gear myself up for raising boys...and how so much of it will be up to Mike as the father. I got to get a new soccer ball for us at home and a ball glove for Mike and a football...

My biggest fear is that these kids won't want to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I know that we will take them to church, model a Christian life and pray for them (we already are). That's all we can do~God's got a plan, and we're just following it. God is good!

We just spent about 6 hours total crafting our autobiographies. It really made me think about my life growing up. I was so blessed! Some might say I had a charmed life...parents who stayed together and loved us - they are committed Christians who lived their convictions. We have such a loving family - and we both plan to give our kiddos that - lots of love.

No one has commented yet...sad times.

Thanks for reading and for praying for us! Please also pray for our kids!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Furniture and a Fingerprint

Well, today we bought bunk beds for the boys. Now wait, I know you are thinking this is a bit premature but let me explain.

We were going to buy beds. Then we were going to wait. Then we didn't know what we were going to do. Then we talked about it. The way we see it is that if we get two boys that want to sleep together, we're ready. If we get two boys that don't want to sleep together, we're ready. If we get a brother and sister (that really SHOULDN'T sleep together), we're ready. get it?!?!

Click here for a picture that's pretty close to what we got. We think we did all right.

There's another reason we bit the bullet: God spoke.

As we have been saying throughout this process, we have seen the fingerprints and felt the presence of God with every decision we have had to make. That in itself is an answer to prayer. We have specifiaclly asked for his guidance in all that we do. Well, we had talked over the weekend last weekend (Feb 27) and had decided it probably made sense to go ahead and get the beds so that when we have our home study done, we actually had the room set up and the social worker could see our plans rather than just hear about them.

So, when I checked the mail last Monday, there was a flyer from Rooms To Go that was talking about their 19th anniversary with a sale this weekend. It had a coupon where we saved $250 on this bed set. To me, that's a fingerprint.

Please continue to pray for us and the boys. We need all we can get.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What is GPS?

By the way, it just occurred to me that you probably think that GPS stands for Global Positioning System and are wondering what that has to do with adoption. Well, just to clear things up, in THIS context it stands for Group Preparation and Selection and it aptly describes the purpose of this ten-week class: as a group, we prepare for the adoption and refine the criteria upon which we want to base the selection of our children.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Week 2: Memory and Shakespeare

Well, last night was our second of ten meetings in the GPS class. These meetings start at 6:00 pm and go until 9:00 pm. The participants sign up to bring food each week so at least there is something to eat, although it's usually not the healthiest. Oh well.

We start each class with a warm-up; a get-to-know-you exercise. It really helps to break the ice and get everyone working together. Last night we did a memory train. Fortunately we were near the beginning.

Each person chose an adjective with which to preface their name. For instance, the facilitator, Ann, chose Animated and so she said her name was Animated Ann. The next person in the line had to do the same but repeat the names of all the people that came before her on the train. So we ended up with:

Animated Ann (facilitator)
Kind Katy (social worker)
Weird Wanda (she picked it herself!) (social worker)
Active April
Jovial Josh
Kooky Kerri (yeah, I know...)
Magnificent Mike (what else...?!?!)
Adventurous Alena
Jumpin' Josh
Brilliant Bridgette
Restless Ray
Jokin' Jana
Quirky Queen
Sophisticated Sundeena (social worker)
Jack-of-All-Trades Judy (social worker)
Mellow Marcy
Colorful Chris
Stupendous Stacy
Lovely Lyndie
Multi-Tasking Mariah (I needed help to remember this one)
Malcontent Michael and
Memory Queen Maggie (facilitator)

Wow, I guess it worked pretty well considering I just did that from memory! As you can see, we were lucky we sat near the front of the room!!

The lesson last night was centered around role playing so we could get a feel for some of the issues involved when a child is placed into protective custody by DHR, the process that might eventually lead to that child being permanently removed from their birth-parents and placed for adoption by people like us! It really was eye-opening to see how a healthy, stable family could go from from a normal life to losing one of two children to DHR in 48 hours. It really helped you realize that not all parents who have their children taken from them by DHR are bad people. Most are just like us.

They took volunteers from the attendees to role-play specific roles and, you guessed it, Kerri was one of the first to shoot up her hand at the opportunity to perform the best non-Shakespeare-Shakespeare she could, wrought with tragedy and strife. Her performance was convincing and, at times, over the top - but what do you expect??? At the end of it all the facilitator asked the group how they did and one guy said "Well, it wasn't Shakespeare, but it was pretty good!"

We turned in our 70+ pages of paperwork that included our family profile and references. Several social workers were there to get to know us since they will be some of the people who taking our cases.

For next week we have to write our autobiography. Uggghh. Although they provide a pretty clear outline of how to proceed, it is is definitely something I am not looking forward to.

Keep praying for us.