Monday, October 29, 2007

happy endings and new beginings

after many fits and starts the final punctuation can be added to the raisingdc story.

last friday, sheila and paul (paulette and jennifer's biological parents) signed papers to allow dave and debbie and bobbie and mark to adopt the girls (paulette and jennifer, respectively). this is a miracle of the first magnitude; both sets of new parents have wanted to make their custody of the girls permanent for quite some time, and the biological parents have been resistant even though they know they are not in a position to take care of the girls, and in fact, haven't been for quite some time. after much legal consultation both d/d and m/b decided that the best approach would for them to come out together, meet the biologicals in a united front, and show them their willingness to provide permanence and stability for the girls.

neither kimberly nor i were with the parents when they visited sheila and paul, but we got a readout from dave, who was, as you can imagine, ecstatic. the conversation with sheila lasted about two hours, with her sisters (both high functioning women) and social worker present to be sure sheila understood what she was doing. she was adamantly opposed at the start, refusing even to look at the families when they arrived. however, in time, her heart softened as she realized that she was unable to care for the girls in the way that they needed. when she agreed to sign the papers, she told both families she felt like it was the right thing to do.

after one stressful visit (and dealing with sheila is always stressful) the families drove over to paul's nursing home. there, they met him for the first time and spoke with him about their intentions and what they were offering the girls. again, he was resistant initially. the families brought in a social worker, who could help to ensure that paul understood what he would be signing. within 45 minutes, he had agreed to sign the paper. once signed, he burst in to tears and hugged both families. he wheeled himself out with them to say good-bye, waving and blowing them kisses until they had left the parking lot.

we are amazed at the transformation of paul and sheila. kimberly and i have both felt for some time that what the girls have needed--and what every child deserves--is permanence, safety, and stability. it is a miracle that the way has been cleared for both girls to finally get what they have long deserved.

so, from here, d/d and m/b will go back to arizona and proceed with adoption proceedings. this process will take several months. in the meantime, paulette remains at westridge where she participates in weekly family and individual therapy and, among other things, plays on the volleyball team. (word on the street is that she has a mean serve). jennifer continues to thrive in az. she started junior high this fall (6th grade is part of the middle school there) and, fortunately, finally changed her gmail status message to "i love chris brown" instead of "i love christ brown" which i suspect raised more than a few eyebrows.

as for kimberly and i, this essentially means the end of all our legal responsibilities for the girls (which continued until last week). it has been an unbelievable year and a half. life-changing, as cliche as it sounds, would not be an inappropriate way to describe it. we are both eager to begin a new chapter of our lives--a feeling we have a sneaking suspicion that the rest of the raising dc's cast: dave, debbie, bobbie, mark, and most of all paulette and jennifer may just share.

Monday, September 24, 2007

collecting trash for KIPP

as you know raisingdc loves KIPP!!! so we have signed up, and hope you will to, to collect yogurt containers and soda bottles and ship them to terracycle. terracycle will give $.o5/soda bottle and $.05 or $.02 for yogurt containers depending on the size of the containers. when you sign up, just choose KIPP DC. just think if the colonial ward decided to do this, how much waste would be saved and how much cash could start flowing into this awesome school.

Program Statistics:

269 spots available

31 total participating locations

This program is only available in CT, DC, DE, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT and WV

the bottle brigade is hurting:

The Bottle Brigade Needs Your Help to Survive!

The Bottle Brigade™ needs a sponsor and we need your help in finding one! The Bottle Brigade has been hugely successful. So successful, in fact, that our small start up company can barely support the costs and labor needs associated with running the program. Recently the Bottle Brigade reached an amazing 4,000 locations in a little less than a year and a half! We never imagined it would become so popular, so fast. We were doing really well until a change in shipping policies caused by rising gas prices and shipping companies switching to dimensional weight this year. The shipping of our boxes has tripled in cost and because of this we are forced to scale back.

The Bottle Brigade is designed to help teach children about the importance of saving the environment and conserving resources. More then half of our locations are primary schools and teaching these young kids to "reduce, reuse and rethink" is a vital mission of our program. However we simply cannot continue to grow this great program without financial support. With a sponsor we can continue to sign up locations. Sponsorship would help us clear out our waiting list of hundreds of locations. It could also help us to develop an entire recycling and reusing curriculum to send to participating schools!

So we need your help to save this program and allow it to reach its full potential! Here are just a few of the benefits of a sponsorship. The sponsor's name and logo will be on every one of the 10,000 plus boxes we send. The boxes are usually located in high traffic areas. In addition, the sponsor would be credited in every press release that it single-handedly helped save the Bottle Brigade program. This year to date TerraCycle has been mentioned in hundreds of articles (Audited Bureau of Circulation of over 66 million impressions). Most importantly a sponsor will know it's helping America's children save their future. If you are interested in the sponsorship or know someone who would be interested, please review our proposal and press release in the following links.

Word document detailing the sponsorship opportunity
(please be patient, this is a large file)

Sponsorship Press Release

Monday, September 17, 2007

a plea from bobbie

Dear friends,
We are having to take another trip to Washington,DC in October to convince the birth parents of our soon-to-be daughter to voluntarily sign papers.YIKES!! The great thing is that her birth sisters adoptive parents are going with us for the same thing. Some of you might remember Jason that used to be in our ward--he will be Jenn's birth sister's new big brother. Which will be awesome that both girls get to grow up in LDS homes 20 minutes from each other when they came from across the country! Anyway,what I am asking for is HUGE!! I need prayers that it will be as simple as us going to DC and them signing the papers. Pray that they will see that this is the best way to show love for their daughters. Some of you don't know the back story,but for those of you that do,you know this is what needs to happen. So please,pray with us.
Also,if anybody knows the cheapest way to fly across the country on 3 weeks notice---I'm open for suggestions! We have to get 4 people over there. Both of our families have already put out SO much money trying to make this happen. Especially for Jenn's sister's new family because they have had to travel back and forth several times between here and Utah (where she has been staying for complicated reasons) for the past year to bond with her. Not to mention adoption costs. So,if there's any brilliant ideas that could help us out,please let me know. I've already tried cheap tickets,etc but I'm looking for some deep airline secret that only few people know about,if such a thing is possible.Or if anybody is friends with somebody that owns their own plane,that would be cool too !! :)
But,of course,the prayers are the most important thing!
Thank you so much,Bobbie

Monday, March 26, 2007

more pics from the trip to Disneyland

Alaina and Jenn on the water rapids ride

Trying to wake Jennifer on the last day, they were all this easy to wake up !!


For a moment,we were tempted to leave them in there!

sweet children :)

Isn't she a cutie?!

We spent 5 days at Disneyland with 8 children! Yes,we were as tired as you can imagine. But we had a blast.I will let Jen give her comments with a few of mine added in.....My favorite ride is space mountain it is really dark and super fast. My least favorite ride is the hollywood tower of terror it was really scary(so she chickened out) My favorite food was the chicken fingers they were fantastic and good. I met this guy on a bus and when we got off and went on some rides he was going on the rides we were going on. There were twelve people in our group and boy was it a lot. It was hard for my mom and dad to keep track of eight kids(including our friends daughter) in a big place like Disneyland. My foster sister named Anna got lost (for about 30 seconds) luckily my dad found her and my mom was freaked out, she was so worried i would be too if i was her.

That's the end of Jen's comments so I'll fill you in on the rest of the trip.The drive there was uneventful.It took 7 hours and at our lunch stop,we were told that our children were very well behaved and had sweet manners.Which of course we took pride in and prayed it would continue! We did the normal rides,shopping,eating,blah,blah,blah...on the few hot days we left a little early to go swimming at the hotel.

Our hotel was very cool.It was a 2 bedroom family suite.In the 2nd room were bunkbeds,a sofa bed and a seperate TV with video games.And of course 2 bathrooms which really helped with showers! One day at the hotel,our 3 year old was getting impatient and turned to my husband and said "You're goin' down,tubby",which everybody thought was hilarious.Jen had to do her hysterical witch laugh.

One thing that really helped save time and avoid grouchy children was the wheelchair.I have bad hips so we got a wheelchair each day to save on all the walking. The best part of that was that the wheelchair got us straight to the front of all the ride lines! The kids thought that was pretty awesome.

On our last day we went to the character breakfast at the Disneyland Grand Hotel.The whole time we were eating, lots of different characters would come by,play with the kids,sign autographs and take pics.The kids had a blast and the food was wonderful. Of course,one of our great sons tried to pick the nose of one of the characters,stuck his finger right up the nostril! Sad to say,it was the oldest son who will be 10 on Monday.

The kids had fun shopping too. They each had their own money and got to buy whatever they wanted.They all used up their money pretty quickly--except for Jennifer.She was trying to be practical.Everything she picked out,she said"what can I use this for,is it worth the money,can I get it cheaper in another store?"I had to force her to spend her money.I would have just left her alone but it was a Disney gift card and she HAD to spend it there.

The ride home was a little more exciting. One of the kids got carsick (yeah!!) and they were all SO tired,they were either sleeping or fighting. And because of our poor planning we got back into town during evening rush hour and had to sit through the fun traffic.
It took a week for the adults to recover from the trip,but the kids were awesome and everybody had fun.

Now they are wanting to go back this summer and spend time at the beach(we didn't have time while we were there) and visit family that Jen hasn't met yet.They can't wait to meet her!! There's grandparents,an aunt,an uncle and some cousins.We'll post stuff from that trip (if we have the guts to make it so soon after this one!)

a letter from paulette from westridge

this really made my day. i think it made lindsay's too. it came out of the blue. which made an extra delight. we got home to a fun letter from paulette. she wrote one to us, one to our ward (congregation), and one to amanda (her new sister). so we thought we would post the letter to the ward here.

if anyone would like to write her, please do. i know she would love to hear from you. you can send it to us at and we will make sure she gets your letters.

and now, without further ado, from paulette (grammatical errors included, for effect):

Dear Capitol Hill Ward,

Hello! and how are you? I really miss being in Washington D.C. going to church. Everything at Westrdige is ok. I guess I'm talking to Jacob (my clinician) just a little bit more than any of my other clinicians. Two weeks ago I went on my first weekend with my new dad. It was fun. We went out to eat for every meal, talked aboutour pool and our new jacuzzi. We went driving and by that I mean I drove! That's right I drove. It was way fun. here at Westridge I've made some friends. Well how are things back in D.C.? Do you miss me? I really can't wait to come back to D.C. with my parents so you guys can meet them. there really, really nice. my dad just adores me every time i call home he always wants to talk to me even if I can sometimes only say hi. Well how are the young women deanna, olivia, karis, and the rest of the young women? I really want to be able to talk to you guys on the phone or see you guys.

Katie and Scott. I heard you guys know one of the women who worked at Anasazi. her name is gina, ring a bell? She told me that she grew up with Katie and her cousin. that's pretty cool. She says that our cousin is getting married in a couple of weeks. I think she said that the wedding is going to be in Utah. I'm not quite sure but if it is in Utah you should come visit me and even if it isn't you should visist me anyway that would be way cool.

Well, I hope everything is OK there. Please write back.

Write, or maybe even see and talk to you later.

Paulette (with hearts on either side of her name)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

quick blurb about fRamily member

we owe yall an update. i even talked to jen today about posting some photos from her spring break vacation to disneyland. so hopefully soon we will all get back to our frequent blogging.

the brief story is this:
jennifer continues to flourish. she is the cutest young woman i can remember knowing. she is funny, bright, and kind. she is enjoying school and really loving being a big sister. she had her 12th birthday recently which was a smashing success.

paulette is kinda struggling at westridge. she has never been one for talk therapy and the school is kinda eh. so she is not loving it. though she has, of course, made lots of friends and seems to have fun. dave went up to visit recently and they had a wonderful time. we got the cutest call from her. it is an adjustment for sure. she seems to really be bonding with her new family so that is great.

but more later on all that....

as you will remember the girls went to stay with our friend dianna's family in august. below is a recent trailer to a documentary about becky, dianna's mom. surrogate mom to jen and paulette for a month. wonderful advocate and voice of reason and love to lindsay and i. it is a minute long. it will give you a glimpse into the amazing people that our in this fRamily.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

reunited and it feels so admission to westridge

the first few moments of the reunion were awkward

but then really really fun

jennifer was so funny and cute. she looks really really great and is just oozing happiness. she asked us to listen to her play the piano (so awesome). she is often found snuck away reading books (chapter books) and scriptures. she has lost weight, her acne is all gone. she is like a new beautiful little young woman. she loves being a big sister. she is always on hand to take care of the little kids. she and alaina stay up late giggling. they don't fight. she is getting straight A's in school. she is amazing and we are very proud of her.

a final fRamily photo. my guess is this is the last time we will all be together while lindsay and i are legal their guardians.
paulette spent the night with jenn and her family. i was trying to give her a hug good-bye, she loved that. they had an awesome time. road quads, played games, giggled. i think they were relieved to get to hang out again.

paulette spent friday with jen. saturday morning paulette's new brother picked he up to go see meet the rest of her new family. they seemed to really have fun. paulette loves the idea of being an aunt (she will have 3 nieces). she is also really loving her new brother mike. he is in his mid-twenties and recently started dating one of paulette's favorite counselor from anasazi. she is super interested in this relationship, as evidenced by her calling them a few times on their first date.

we met dave, debbie, and paulette at the airport and flew to SLC. we went immediately to temple square. paulette was having a hard time being open. but then we watched the new joseph smith movie and she really opened up.

we met dave and debbie and their daughter-in-law and granddaughters at the roof restaurant.

waiting for dave and debbie. do we look hammered or what?

part of paulette's new clan
she is missing a bunch of brothers and a sister and another niece

grandpa dave. we love this picture

hoodlum redefined

we got up early sunday morning and heard the mormon tabernacle choir. this is us with mac wilberg, the choirs director.

paulette spent all of sunday with dave and debbie, while lindsay and i took SERIOUS naps. they feel even more in love with paulette, which made the next day even harder

this is lindsay getting pancakes made for us the morning paulette entered westridge. paulette really really really didn't want to go.

we had a very beautiful and sacred conversation with paulette. dave, debbie, lindsay and i all shared our hopes for paulette. we talked about the parable of the ten virgins and how for all of us, at some point, the course of our lives is ours to determine. for paulette that time is now. she can choose to use her time at westridge to get the help she so desperately needs or she can try and beat time again and end up right in the same place she started (which is what we feel happened at anasazi)
here we are getting ready to go to westridge

my camera ran out of battery, this is my only shot from westridge. we are not convinced that westridge will give her the help she needs but at least we are all a step closer. she really really wants to be back at dave and debbie's house, so at least there is a heck of a carrot.

this is shawn bradley who is the new vice principal of westridge's school taking us all on a tour of the campus. he recently retired from playing basketball in the NBA.

leaving her at westridge was pretty tough. we know she needs the help, and that this step is necessary. and dave and debbie feel the same way.

Friday, February 02, 2007

snowy, stinky reunions

sorry. we accidentally posted these pictures early. now, you can see what they all mean....

Here we are packing for the trip. You can tell we have no idea what's coming. We're smiling.

As you can see from the sign, this is the beginning of our "Making of a Walking."
(Anasazi lingo for moving forward, in a positive way, in life.)
We actually got quite a bit of mileage out of this one.

Stopping for a lunch break on our way to the trail,
Kimberly picked up some bananas and yogurt, Lindsay bought carrots and a ham sandwich. This mom picked up a hot dog, a slice of pizza and a cup o joe. You guessed it, she is from NYC.
We must have been nervous; this had us in stitches at the time.

Final D*: Bloody Basin, Tonto National Forest.
*Anasazi for the "final destination"

On the way to "final d", Kimberly asked our driver to pull over if we saw a bush or something so she could use le toilet. We looked up right then, and saw this glorious little number.
Keep in mind, we're on a dirt road, with no sign of civilization in sight.
We took this for a sign of good things to come.

Kimberly with Gina, of Anasazi Alumni Services. From the Army poncho you can see it's already raining, as it would do for three straight days.

the crew of parents and guardians
the baton started to pass
the hat ensembles are a bonus.

our hike to paulette.

it is safe to say that she smelled worse than she looks.

this is where paulette slept. she never figured out how to make shelters work, so she just did this

the making of a fire
anasazi doesn't believe in matches or lighters
all fire is made from "busting a coal" or "busting"


tandem busting.
everything was wet so we would bust a coal but then
we couldn't blow it into flames because the tinder was too wet.

here, i'll do it

finally, a coal and some tinder. these are the hands of paulette and new dad dave.

almost there.
just so you know: this is an hour into being at paulette's camp

our tinder was too wet.
ezekial, co founder of anasazi,
came by and gave me some really good avice about body positioning
and all sorts of good stuff
we had busted out the bottom piece
so when he came we had 2 pieces of wood tied together
he gave us props for resourcefulness

Ezekiel left. we eventually used toilet paper to get the fire started.
then paulette made us dinner.
we had to "loveup" our sundried tomatoes and garlic
to "loveup" means to chew and then spit back into your food.
raw garlic BURNS

you can't see it, but there are ash cakes (aka pizza crust) in the ash.
the stuff in the cups is toppings.
onion, garlic, sundried tomatoes, water, powdered cheese

dale, the therapist. the making of a hero

i got too cold and went to my sleeping bag. this is lindsay and paulette by the fire late the first night. i think it was probably 9, but in the wild, 9 is late.

for some dumb reason we forgot to take a picture of where we slept. tate built us a shelter of a tarp. it was about 1-1.5feet off the ground. we had sleeping bags and army ponchos. we made a HUGE leaf bed that looked as though it would be nicer than my simmons beautyrest. unfortunately, leaves smash down to nothing. we were in a sandy creek bed, so it was really cold. the heated rock i placed in my sleeping bag got cold in the night.

my worst fear was that the fire would go out. it rained and snowed all night long. i kept waking up wigging out that the fire had gone out. it almost did but we resuscitated it.

the making of dirty clothes

the making of awesome hair and coolness

this is what our shadow calls "the making of a pissing me off"

things got a little rocky with the fRamily. reuniting was difficult and the transition from being with peers to being with guardians was hard on paulette. so lindsay and i went on a hike to get bit of a break.

the making of a pooping

the making of a feral paulette


kimberly and debbie
please, enjoy coka-cola in moderation
i learned the hard way

tate: our trail walker

sayonara tonto

cleaned but not shorn
goodbye firesmoke dreads