Yolie's World

Monday, October 31, 2005

Hallowed Be Thy Name Festival

Post party Syndrome
Joe & Alyssa and Me & CJ
Mama & CJ
Lena & CJ
Joe, Tameshia & Alyssa
Tameshia & Alyssa
Can I hane some, Alyssa?
Okay, Daddy!
Mi familia
Miriam & CJ
Lena & Tameshia
Chuck & CJ
Me & my turtle
Chuck & Alyssa
Isn't he a cutie pie?


CJ & Daddy

Big Mike, Little Mason, Chuck & CJ (By the way, Chuck is six feet tall and Mike makes him look like a shrimp! Mason and CJ are only four months apart)

Mason and CJ
Checking each other out

Mike and Chuck have been best friends since 1st grade. They couldn't be more different and yet so alike. Mike often walks around in a Confederate Flag t-shirt with a dead dear in the back of his truck. Chuck needless to say doesn't fly the Confederate flag and hates hunting. Both, though, have big hearts full of acceptance and love for each other. When they get together, they can spend hours just talking, laughing and usually cooking out. Their friendship if inspiring to me. I often just sit back and watch them, because I simply cannot imagine having someone in my life that I have known since 1st grade. I've often said that Chuck and I had opposite childhoods. He lived in the same home for nearly twenty years, I hopped from home to home and bed to bed until I was eleven. He knows all about stability while it took me years to accept that I was going to get to keep my new mother. I think that that's one of the hardest things for new adoptive parents to remember. While they are stable and set in their ways, kids coming into their homes from the foster care system simply have no concept of stability. That's why stealing food and being destructive is okay with the kids. In their head it's "you'd better go ahead and get this food because it probably won't be here in the morning." A child out of the foster care system expects to move again, regardless of all the reassurance the adoptive parents give. It takes trust to begin to believe that you may not lose it all again, and trust is hard to earn from a kid whose been lied to and abandoned over and over again. Ultimately, it takes giving them stability. Showing, through actions not words, that you are the real deal...saying what you mean and meaning what you say, not backing down when you've set rules and always being where you say you're going to be. Stability is the key. Kids who are in a new adoptive placement need structure and schedule. We've spent our whole lives up until then wondering what comes next. If the adoptive parent takes that wonder out then that's one less thing that child has to worry about. I can't say I've got a friend I've known since 1st grade, but I can say that I've had my best friend since I was eleven...my mama.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Babysitting Fun

Joey and CJ
Look at that big smile
Tabby and Nando
Paloma, Tabby & Lily (Pajama Party!)
CJ with his own Bubba troup to entertain him

Yesterday afternoon my mom called to see if I could babysit while she went to pick up Fabian from The Ranch. Her initial babysitting plans had fallen through and she needed me by 2:30 (it was 1:30 when she called). Of course, I bundled CJ up and Lena and I ran right over. Why did I drop everything and come to the rescue? Not because I'm super daughter but because I believe in my heart that our family works because of our willingness to contribute to it. I've seen my college-age brothers sit cuddle with Tabby as she is having a meltdown. I've watched some of our more emotionally needy kids give up mom's lap so that I could cry on it (and I was in my twenties!). If mom needs to drop Nando & Tabby off at 7:30 am so she can go to IEP meetings then so be it. I look at it as my contribution back to the family that has given me so much love, joy and happiness. And let's not forget, I get great pictures out of my babysitting times!

On another note, notice Tabby & Nando in the pictures. What a difference from when they first came to live with our family. I remember how scared they looked, like deer in headlights. Just eight months later they are happy, goofy kids, learning to feel secure and loved. They have a long way to go, but I am so proud to be a part of their growth.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


A few days ago I was watching a talk show about adopted children reuniting with birth parents. Lena was watching it with me, and I warned her that I was about to get mad. To me, those shows are like watching a train wreck about to happen in slow motion, I can't look away, even though I should. Of course, the show pissed me off. As the now adult child sadly looks into the camera and pleads to find her birth mother, the birth mother walks out behind her and surprises her. The adult child is excited, but then I can see that look come across her face. Perhaps only I catch on to it (although Lena was pretty insightful about it as well), that slight "uh-oh" look saying "what have I gotten myself into?". I know because I was there a couple of years ago. What gets me about these shows is that they then send the birth mom and child off on a luxurious vacation so they can get to know each other. Hasn't the birth mom had enough of a vacation? What about the REAL parents, the ones who wiped her nose when she was sick and held her when she was sad? The ones that wept for joy when she became theirs? Shouldn't they be the ones going on the vacation? Aren't they the heroes here? Of course, that's not the exciting stuff that the tv people want you to see. What happens when all the lights are out in the studio and the real stuff starts? When the now adult child begins to ask the hard questions, like "WHY???". Why did you choose drugs over me? Why didn't you fight to keep me? What was more important than me? I'll tell you what happens...the reality of the truth sets in and it hurts worse than a knife being stabbed in and out of your heart over and over again. Then, slowly, healing begins. It's been a couple of years now since this process started for me. In the very beginning, I couldn't walk into a room without busting out crying. I spent what seemd like forever crying what seemed like endless tears into my mom's t-shirts...my REAL mom. Then, slowly, I began to come out of it. All the anger and fear and hurt ever so slowly began to melt away. With God's help, I began to laugh and be happy again. I began to truly understand that God does not give us more than we can handle. I began to realize that had she not done what she did, I would not have ever had my REAL family. And I began to thank God for all He has blessed me with, instead of continuing to ask why. I realized that no matter what, no answer to my "why" question would be good enough. I know I've come a long way, but I also know I have a ways to go. Now that I'm a mom, I don't dwell on it, but I know it's still there. It's something I work on and with God's help I will one day be completely healed from all my hurt. I truly believe that.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My Cookie Monster

Looking like a big boy
Big Feet!

Monday, October 24, 2005

CJ's Dedication Sunday

I know this pic is sideways, but I wanted a picture of his satin shoes.
In deep thought.
Me and CJ
Daddy and CJ
CJ with his Papa Charlie
Days just don't get better than this. Yesterday was so awesome for Chuck and I. After a hectic morning trying to make sure everything was perfect for CJ's dedication at church, we enjoyed a beautiful baby dedication. Our Pastor Tony did a fantastic job and it was so exciting to have so much of our family up there with us, joining us in dedicating our son back to the Lord. Our Pastor actually joked that the church was going to tilt if some of my family didn't line up on the other side of the altar (there must have been fifty family members up there with us!)...what a testimony to God's love within our family.

In thinking about the dedication I couldn't help but think of the contrast between how we are raising our son and how I was raised the first eleven years of my life. There was no aknowledgement that I was a gift from God or a committment to raising me in a Christian home, always pointing me to the cross. The opposite was in place when I was a baby. I think that's why CJ's dedication means so much to me. Yesterday it was like all my life's woes melted away as I aknowledged this perfect gift from God. It's so easy to question "why" for all the bad things, and overlook the abundant blessings God sends our way. In CJ, I see God's love for me.

Another thing that crossed my mind in the midst of all this dedication fun, is that without my mama none of this would have happened. I am so thankful to her for taking me to church and more importantly, for being such a good example of what a God-fearing Christian woman and mother is. I've said it before and I'll say ot again, without her I would not be who I am.

Lastly, I could not imagine raising our son with a better man than my husband. What an awesome example CJ has to look up to. While I only began to learn about God when I was adopted, Chuck was born into a loving, Christian home, where he was brought up to be a man of God. Chuck once said that he felt he had no testimony to tell, since he was saved at an early age and never really fell away from church. All the testimonies he had ever heard were from people who had been so far away from God and then came to His saving grace. While I thank God for these people, I think that perhaps Chuck's testimony is one of the sweestest to God's ears. Perhaps in churches, we should also have these testimonies given, so that young people being raised in the church have an example of what staying in church looks like, since such a high percentage of kids raised in church often rebel before coming back to God. Again, I thank God for loving me enough to bless me as Chuck's wife. He is so good to me and to our son. He has made it possible for me to stay home with CJ, while he works and supports us. I am honored every day to wake up next to him and I pray that CJ will always know what an amazing daddy he has.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Lena the Mouse Hunter

She only looks sweet and innocent.
We've been on a mouse hunt for three days now. Since it's getting chilly outside, the field mice are fiding refuge in our warm house. That is NOT cool with me. So far, we've caught five (three inside and two in our garage). I refuse to believe the mice will win, so I have been watching Lena and Chuck on a rampage, catching the mice with such determination that it makes me proud. Of course, I am scared of mice, so I watch from the sofa with my feet up (usually nursing CJ, which is a sight to see as my eyes are filled with terror and my precious son is happily eating away). Yesterday, Lena (my sister-in-law) earned her last name of Bodie. She spotted yet anot her mouse and then saw it go into her room. She immediately went on high alert, tracking the mouse throughout the room and finally trapping him behind the dresser, where she blocked off both sides and put no less than three mouse traps with peanut butter. But, she was not content to just let the mouse find teh trap on his own time, oh no! She was determined to be there when the mouse came to it's tragic ending (I forgot to mention that earlier, when she walked into her room she swore the mouse tried to attack her...so she was out for personal revenge!). No less than four hours later, the very intellgent mouse had yet to be caught. Lena had had enough. She changed into clothes more suited for warfare (she even put her hood on in case of enemy fire) and the next thing I knew, she was on her back on the floor, lifting the dresser with her feet while she tried to run the mouse out with a wire hanger that had been made into her weapon of choice. She even tried to talk to the mouse and explain that he had already eaten some of the poison, so his fighting was futile. He didn't listen to her. Every now and then, though, he would stick his head out and laugh at Lena, which would send her onto the bed, squealing as he mocked her. The funniest part was when her husband, Jesse called and asked what she was doing. "Oh, nothing really, just trying to catch a mouse" as if it were really no big deal to her. I, of course, told him the true story of how his wife had turned into a huntress on the attack against a small defenseless mouse. It was hilarious. The ending? She went to bed last night defeated by this mouse, as he had not yet been caught. I am waiting on her to wake up to get a full report of what happened in that bedroom last night...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Way too Cute

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The CJ and Alyssa Show

Notice the mess behind her...she thought Aunt Yolie's entertainment center needed to be emptied.
Tameshia and CJ (and Lena in the back)
My Safari Baby (and Husband)
Safari Baby waving to camera
CJ and Alyssa having a great time with the Exersaucer
Hand eye coordination exercises
In the midst of the chaos she created.
Isn't she fashionable in her leopard print?