Our experience at Weaving Cultures Family Camp

We are back from our trip to Weaving Cultures Family Camp. Weaving Cultures Family Camp is a camp for transracial adoptive families, specifically those with Black children. This was the second year of camp, but our first year attending (the morning sickness was far too severe for us to attend last year thankyouverymuch Hazel).

Our experience at camp is a little difficult to sum up in words. Is there a less cheesy synonym for amazing? If so, insert it here.

The camp was held in Conneaut Ohio right on Lake Erie. It was a bit of a car drive, but not a single one of us had ever been to Ohio or seen any of the Great Lakes, so we were pretty excited about the location. When we arrived, it definitely did not disappoint. The location was gorgeous.

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My little photographer catching the sunset over the lake

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Each family was assigned their own cabin which was cozy and equipped with a bathroom… which is handy when one of your kids uses the restroom numerous times each night (and no I’m not talking about the baby). The cabins were different sizes, and could easily fit little families (there were a few single parents with one child) and big families (I think the largest family in attendance was 8, but some cabins could have handled more).

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Our cabin

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Pardon the mess – it doesn’t take them long to make a cabin look just like home

I would say there were two main elements to camp. Both were equally important.

1) Fun family time with other transracial adoptive families

There was a pool, playground, gaga pit, baseball field, campfire, and plenty of fun planned activities. All the kids were in their glory. I think every child enjoyed the feeling of totally and completely fitting in for a few days. I overheard two cute things at camp. One was a little girl announcing “Mommy! All these girls have pretty hair like me!” and another was a child holding up his arm to a friend and saying “Did you see we matched?” and the friend responding “Yep!”

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2) Informational Programming

There were two keynote speakers, Regina Kupecky (LSW, author of Parenting the Hurt Child) and Rhonda Roorda (transracial adoptee, author of In Their Own Voices). Now I haven’t personally read a ton of adoption/parenting books. The only reading time I have is my commute to work. Plus, I have Candy Crush on my phone. So your book has to be pretty good for me to actually read it. I’ve read both of these books. I’ve loved both of these books. Needless to say I was extremely excited for these speakers.

I wish I could have seen Regina Kupecky speak 5 years ago when we first brought Will home. If you aren’t familiar with her book, basically it’s on parenting children with attachment issues. Something pretty much every family deals with in some shape or form when they first bring an older child into their home. I searched for videos of her on youtube, but couldn’t find them. Honestly, I felt like I was watching a standup show. I know that parenting a hurt child likely doesn’t seem like a funny topic, but your humor is something you definitely need to keep when you are in the thick of it. It’s also the first thing to go when you’re having problems with a child. Although we are not having these kinds of issues anymore, hearing her speak reminded me of those days. I was laughing at the stories she told, because I related to so many of them. And I know there were other parents in the room currently dealing with these same issues. I wish I had a video of her that day. I would save it and play it for every family who adopts an older child.

I was a little worried that no act could follow Regina Kupecky, but I was wrong. Rhonda Roorda was enlightening and gave everyone a very important view – the adult transracial adoptee. Listening to her helped me realize several mistakes I’ve been making, and also helped me consider a few things I likely wouldn’t have considered before. She pointed out that our children are going to grow up to be Black men and women, and we need to prepare them for that. It pains me to admit that I don’t think I’ve been doing a good enough job preparing my children for this. Especially my son who only has a few years left of being a goofy little boy before he turns into a young Black man. If you don’t have a black son, you may not understand the magnitude of this statement. I know I didn’t until recently. But that is certainly a lengthy topic for another time.

In addition to the speakers there were breakout sessions on hair care, a panel chat with transracial adoptees, a visit from SGORR, and a viewing of the documentary Closure (which if you haven’t seen, I highly recommend). We were really sad to have camp end. Nariya was actually crying that she didn’t want to leave, which you know, NEVER happens. We are already looking forward to next year and seeing some of our friends again as well as meeting new friends.

Maybe Days and Families Change Book GIVEAWAY

We are excited to host a giveaway of two great books today! Before Will and Nariya’s adoption was finalized we were always on the hunt for books about foster care. Let me tell you, they are hard to find! Especially good ones. There just weren’t many on the market (author friends I’m looking at you right now). Maybe Days and Families Change were two that both my children enjoyed.

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Maybe Days deals with the uncertainty of being in foster care as well as the ever changing range of emotions children deal with. Families Change is aimed at children who are experiencing a termination of parental rights. Both would be great additions to any foster parent’s library. If you win, and you already own one or both of these books, we are happy to send them on to a foster parent of your choosing.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We’re going to camp

Several years ago a friend and fellow adoptive parent told me about PACT camp. As she started to describe the experience in detail my brain went from listening carefully to quickly announcing “Oh my gosh, we have to go! When is it? Where is it? How do I sign up?” “This summer! In California! On the website!” She answered back excitedly. “Oh. Darn. California?” I responded, “That’s a little bit far to drive. I had kind of been hoping it was in Pennsylvania or something.”

I figured with the immense number of adoptive families near us there must be some kind of similar east coast camp, so off to google I went. Surprisingly, I didn’t have any luck. I did find several heritage/culture camps. But they were all geared toward international adoption. As I looked through the list, there seemed to be a camp for kids adopted from nearly every country you could think of. Ethiopia, China, Korea, Russia… There was only one country that seemed underrepresented in my search, and that was the United States.

I was a little disappointed, but I figured in a few more years when I was making a few more dollars and had a few more days of vacation time, I would make sure we went to PACT camp. And then I promptly forgot about this vow.

Last Spring I was reminded of my quest to find a camp, when I received an email informing me of a brand new camp called Weaving Cultures Family Camp. It was in Ohio. A perfectly acceptable 7 hours that I was more than willing to make my husband drive. And, it was 4 days long, meaning I only needed to take two days off work. Perfect.

We leave Wednesday evening and could not be more excited. Everyday Nariya asks “What day is today?” hoping that it’s Wednesday already even though she knows very well that is is not yet Wednesday. I think she’s a little extra excited because her friend is also going. I use the term friend a bit loosely. The proper term might be idol. Whenever we see this child Nariya runs over in excitement screaming her name, and the little girl looks confused and says “Who are you again?” And then off they go to play.

I’ve been trying to put more effort into finding friends for my kids who are also adopted. We have put a good amount of effort into connecting with families of color, and living in a diverse area my kids have plenty of black friends at school (as well as every other ethnicity). But in addition to this, I really want to make sure they have friends who are people of color AND adopted. Kids they can grow up with, who can hopefully someday be a support system for each other. I want each of my children to have someone like them as they navigate this world, and what it means to come from an adoptive family. For whatever reason it hasn’t been too hard to find little friends for Nariya, but we haven’t yet met many boys Will’s age. I’m a little hopeful that maybe camp will be a good opportunity for that.

Anyway, we’re super excited! Ohio here we come!weavingcultures

Cloth Diapering Myths – Week 4

We’re back for another week of Cloth Diapering Myths!

So far we have covered the following myths:

  1. Cloth diapering is complicated
  2. Finding the perfect cloth diaper
  3. Cloth diapering a foster/adopted baby

This week we’ll be dealing with the myth I heard most frequently as a working mom….

Myth #4: You can’t use cloth diapers at daycare

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Because of the many judgements toward cloth diapering, we mostly kept the fact that we planned to cloth diaper to ourselves while I was pregnant. Whenever we did happen to mention it to someone, the most common response I received as a working mom was “Well you know, you can’t use cloth diapers at daycare.”

Well friends, I’m here to tell you that there is a good chance you can use cloth diapers at daycare.

I’m sure you know by now that every state licensed daycare facility has a certain set of rules and standards they have to follow. These guidelines cover everything… staff/child ratios, fire alarms, trash cans, and of course diapers. Less than a handful of states specifically do not allow cloth diapers unless there is a medical reason. Less than half the states make no mention of cloth diapers in their diapering section. The majority of the state guidelines specifically allow cloth, and have specific guidelines on how a daycare should deal with cloth.

When I originally started hunting for the specific stats by state, I planned to include a run down on each individual state. I found an article written less than a year ago listing which states did and did not allow certain things. At the time of that article 4 states specifically did not allow cloth diapering (except for medical reasons), 15 didn’t mention cloth diapering, and 31 states specifically allowed cloth diapering. As I started to check each state to make sure the list was still up to date, I found that already many had changed. For example both Michigan and Maine were states that at that time did not allow cloth diapers in daycare facilities, and now (not even a year later) specifically do allow them.

The good news is that the changing regulations all seem to be moving more toward accepting cloth, but I still don’t want to give you inaccurate information… So instead of me giving you the stats I encourage you to take a moment to search for yourself so that we can be sure you have the most up to date information.

  1. Open another tab
  2. Try doing a google search for “(your state) daycare licensing guidelines” If it doesn’t work for your state, try a few similar search terms like child care, regulations, rules, etc.
  3. When you find it, open the website (or more likely pdf).
  4. Hit ⌘F to make a search box show up
  5. Search the words “cloth diaper” and “non-disposable diaper”. If neither shows up you’ll have to search “diaper” and read through the whole section (as I mentioned before, some states don’t make any mention of cloth specifically).

Now that you know your states guidelines we can proceed (if you still can’t find your state, email me or leave a comment and I’ll see what I can find). Unless your state is one of the very few who specifically restrict cloth diapers (like New Hampshire is today) cloth diapering is perfectly legal.

The trick is either finding a daycare that allows cloth, or talking a daycare in to using cloth.

When choosing a daycare I know all parents have questions they ask before even visiting the place. Personally, my phone questions were: hours of operation, cost, if they allowed cloth diapers, and if they put the TV on in the baby room (because this drives me insanely crazy).

I was surprised to find that nearly half the daycares I called claimed on the phone to allow cloth diapers (though many added “we’ve never had this request before”). At this point I didn’t eliminate anyone who said no to cloth, I just wanted to know what I was up against. I narrowed my list based on infant screen time, what we could afford, and hours of operation. I then went to visit the remaining daycares and brought an easy cloth diaper with me. While touring the daycare I again asked about cloth and showed the person in charge how easy my cloth diaper was. Of the 5 daycares I visited and showed a diaper to in person, 4 agreed to use cloth.

Now that Hazel is in daycare I try to make the cloth usage as easy as possible. She goes to daycare 4 days a week and uses about 16 diapers. We have 20 just to be safe. We bought 3 of these bins from Target, and send them in filled on Mondays along with a small wet bag for each day. This keeps everything nice and neat in her daycare cubby. At the end of each day they send one of the full wet bags home. I know some people send their diapers in daily, but for us it seems easiest to send it all in at once to make sure we don’t forget anything. Plus we are already sending in her clean sheets, a clean change of clothes, food for the week, etc. so it’s easy to slip it all in together. They send the empty bins home at the end of the week to be refilled.

I can’t guarantee you’ll have the same success, but here is a list of steps I would suggest

1) Call and ask before visiting the daycare if they allow cloth (to gauge their reaction). But remember, no doesn’t mean no yet.

2) When visiting the daycare bring an “easy” diaper with you (a ready to go pocket or an all in one is probably best). If they said yes to cloth on the phone, confirm it with the daycare owner in person. If they said no to cloth on the phone, show the daycare owner how easy it is to use your diaper. Explain the ways you plan to make it simple for them.

3) If they still say no, it is time to kindly pull out the persuasive maneuvers. Let them know the many other daycares in the area that do allow cloth. Find out specifically why they don’t want to allow cloth. Some daycare providers actually believe cloth isn’t allowed, so make sure you know your state’s regulations and politely fill them in.

4) If they still say no, and your heart is set on this daycare for other reasons, you could ask them to do a one week trial. I have a friend who this worked for. You could also see if they would agree to a system like g-diapers which has disposable inserts.

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Pockets on a Sunday night, ready for the daycare bins

 

A few more notes:

Depending on your daycare and your baby, getting permission in the few states that specifically do not allow cloth may still be possible. I’ve heard of several cloth diaper users who had a baby who was prone to rash in disposables due to sensitive skin or allergy. They were able to obtain a doctors note and cloth diaper without issue.

Several cloth users have told me that if your state specifically allows cloth diapers, then legally a licensed day care facility HAS to allow you to use cloth. I don’t actually know if this is true. I tried doing some research on the matter, but again found differing information. As far as I know, no one has obtained a court order forcing a daycare to use cloth. If your a law person feel free to fill us in on if this is true or not.

Why we didn’t change our adopted child’s name

Whether to change an adopted child’s name is always a hot topic for adopters and adoptees. Some people are passionately for it, others passionately against it, and most somewhere in the middle. Over the years we have received many comments about our daughter’s name. Questions on how to pronounce her name… questions on how to spell her name… and before her adoption, questions on if we were going to change her name.

At this point I can’t imagine ever considering anything else. She IS Nariya. It suits her. But there was a point in the very beginning that we considered changing it.

I almost hate to say this now, but it’s the truth so here it is: I considered changing my daughter’s name because I was worried it sounded too black. 

I’ve mentioned before that I work in post production. At the time we were completing paperwork for our kid’s adoption, my company was doing post services on a documentary called Freakonomics. I admittedly have not seen the entire film nor read the book. But we were running off copies of the movie and I would randomly go check the progress of it, over and over again I would view this certain clip on names. I can’t find the clip online to share with you, but basically it pointed to a study where two resumes were sent to various companies. The two resumes were identical except for the names. One resume stated it belonged to DaShawn Williams, the other resume stated it belonged to Jacob Williams. Guess how many interviews DaShawn was called in for? I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t nearly as many as Jacob.*

As I watched this clip over and over I began to worry about my little girl’s name. Should we change it? Would she be doomed to an unemployable existence merely because her birth mother had chosen a unique name for her? The case was heading toward adoption and our adoption caseworker had asked us numerous times to let her know our plan for the kid’s names. Apparently she needed it for some paperwork and my uncertainty was holding things up.

When the children first came to live with us Will (who had some speech delays) was unable to pronounce Nariya and had pronounced her name “Maya.” Maya had became a bit of a nickname for awhile and Nariya answered to it. Although it had been ages since Will called her Maya, I decided to test if she still responded to the name, and found that she did. I began to think that perhaps we could change her name to Maya, and miss all the identity problems of changing an older child’s name.

“Do you think Maya’s are more employable than Nariya’s?” I asked my husband one evening.

“I think you’re obsessing. And anyway, I like the sound of Nariya.”

“But what if she never ever gets a job because her name is too black?”

“She IS black. Changing her name isn’t going to change that.”

It was true. She WAS black. Our daughter was black. No matter how white her name sounded, she would still be called into an interview and show up black.

I pondered this further. At the tiny company I worked, half the names sounded ethnic. They all got hired. Perhaps her black name could even weed out a few racist companies. If they didn’t want my black sounding daughter, I certainly didn’t want her working for them now did I?

There are three major things our children’s birth mother gave them.

1) Life

2) Their stunning good looks

3) Their names

I was thankful for all three. Nariya it would stay. Beautiful and unique, just like her.

(And if you’re wondering how to pronounce it, it rhymes with Mariah Carey)

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*I’m a little afraid I’m remembering this clip wrong. I googled it and didn’t find anything. But whatever actually happened in this clip, this is the impression it left on me.

I never put my lunch in the office fridge

Last week at work we got an email to clean out the office fridge. Apparently it would be getting a scrub down by the cleaning service over the weekend and the people in charge wanted to make sure there was no forgotten food left inside. After everyone had laid claim to the stray yogurts and mushy apples that had been sitting around for months, there was still one lunchbox left. All afternoon I kept hearing about this lunchbox. “Is the lunchbox yours?” “Are you sure?” “The moldy leftovers look like something you would make for dinner” “Can you at least just go look at it?” Again and again. I finally responded that it could not be my lunchbox as I never ever put my lunchbox in the fridge. Mostly because I’m starving and eat it by 11AM everyday.

I may have said this a little forcefully. But for pete’s sake I had DVDs to make.

Anyway, fast forward to today where I had this conversation with a co-worker while putting a small lunchbox looking container in the fridge.

Him: I thought you said you never put your lunch in the office fridge
Me: I don’t ever put my lunch in the office fridge
Him: Then what are you putting in the fridge?
(slight awkward silence as we stare at each other and my little black bag)
Me: I’m putting Hazel’s lunch in the fridge…
Him: You’re putting….? Ahhhh!

And then he fled the kitchen. Happy World Breastfeeding Week ya’ll

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Massachusetts photo upload

We just got back from a weekend trip to Massachusetts. We try to get up there at least once a summer. It’s the place my grandparents met and my favorite place in the whole world as a child. This summer was a little bittersweet, as my great aunt (owner of the cottage) recently passed away. We still had a good time, but her presence was missed.

You know those perfect… sunny… hot… summer days at the beach? Yeah that wasn’t it this year. It was around 70, which meant the only person I could get to swim with me was Nariya (my little polar bear). The bright side of this was we had the beach to ourselves.

It was Hazel’s very first time in the sand. She pretty much thought she was sitting in a bed of fun things to eat. We tried to stop her from consuming too much, but the contents of her diaper that evening indicated we didn’t do the best job. She’s looking a little cell phoney because I left my camera at the cottage.

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It wouldn’t be the beach without a boat ride. The highlight of the trip for Will was definitely getting to drive the boat.

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Like every smart baby, Hazel figured the best thing to do on vacation was wake up at 6AM. In an effort to let everyone else in the thinly walled cottage sleep, I brought her down to the beach. I thought putting her on the rocks might avoid the whole eating sand thing, but instead she started eating rocks. She wasn’t too happy when I had to pry those little guys out from between her tightly clenched gums.

hazelrockeaterWe moved on to the swings (where I was relieved not to have to deal with her current Pica affliction)

hazelswing And returned to find these two awake and ready to go back down to the beach

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We always take a picture on these stairs. And each year find it impossible to get one where everyone looks decent. Adding a 5th person just made the shot even more difficult.

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Boys and losing things

Why do boys seem to lose everything? Every. Single. Thing. Any item that Will puts down he will forget. This has been going on for years. Once in kindergarten he came home without a shirt on and no idea what happened to the shirt he had been wearing.

Don’t get me wrong. Nariya has lost things before. Two years ago she lost a water bottle in the gym at school. She cried. And promptly went to retrieve it the next morning. I know not every boy loses things, but mine does. And so do many of his friends. It’s frustrating.

During the school year I make weekly trips to the lost and found, and regularly find things I didn’t even know had gone missing. The good thing about losing things at school is that it’s kind of a closed circuit. There is nowhere for all that stuff to end up except back in the lost and found. Which means everything almost always comes home eventually.

This week Will left his 3 day old back pack at the bus stop for camp.

I know mid summer seems like an odd time for new backpacks, I had intended to dole these out in September. I ended up giving them out early since Will’s old backpack was developing a smell. I’m unsure if it came from the wet swimsuit and towel he left to ferment for a week or the yogurt he spilled in a pocket and didn’t mention to me. Either way, a new back pack was needed now rather than September.

Losing a backpack is probably one of the more annoying things a kid can lose. Since it’s job is to carry things, everything it is carrying goes missing as well.

I decided to tally it all up and see if someone should perhaps do some chores to help pay for a new one:

-Brand New 3 day old Jansport back pack

-Perfect condition though slightly overpriced Planetbox Lunch bag

-Water bottle

-Swim suit

-Beach Towel

-Goggles (These were technically free because his class won the award for collecting the most box tops for education. At his repeated request I did all the snipping, so although they were free I’m still bitter about it)

-Swim cap (“required” by camp, yet never actually worn)

-His summer reading book which I kept encouraging him to read at camp or on the bus (you’re probably giving me the same look he did when I put it in that backpack)

So if you add the cost of everything (excluding the goggles, which as Will pointed out only took up my time – so you know, worthless) and figure minimum wage in these parts is 7.25 an hour, he owes me roughly 24 hours of labor. Hmm. That’s a lot of laundry folding.

Rob kindly pointed out that I am perhaps being a tad bit harsh. I think he just commiserates since he’s a boy and remembers what it’s like to lose your winter coat 3 times in one month. Nariya and I were at the camp pool party last night (Will couldn’t make it since he doesn’t currently own a swimsuit or towel) and decided to check the lost and found to see if by some crazy chance the back pack teleported from the street corner to camp. We didn’t find it, but we did run into a friend of Will’s going through the bin with his dad. Will’s friend had lost his lunchbox. He didn’t find his lunchbox, but he did find two of his hats that he didn’t know were missing. This scenario seemed extremely familiar. I guess boys will be boys?

Will decided to make up a bunch of signs while we were at the pool party. I don’t have high hopes, but I’m glad to see him being proactive about finding his missing stuff.

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Cloth Diapering Myths – Week 3

Welcome back to yet another week of cloth diapering myths. So far we’ve covered the fact that cloth diapering isn’t actually complicated as well as the fruitless quest for the perfect diaper. If you are in absolutely no mood to discuss cloth diapering, take a moment instead to let me know what Justin Bieber is up to these days.

Now, on to myth 3.

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Myth #3: You can’t cloth diaper a foster/adopted baby

Yep. That’s an actual myth. I’m as surprised as you are. I know it doesn’t make much sense. I mean all babies poop right? It doesn’t really matter who gives birth to them, this is a function of a baby. So why wouldn’t you be able to cloth diaper an adopted or foster baby?

Yet this is a common concern.

There seem to be two (untrue) reasons behind this myth:

1) Babies who are adopted are usually formula fed, and you can’t cloth diaper a formula fed baby.

Number one is a pretty easy myth to dispel. It just isn’t true. I mean think about it. There was a point in time where most babies were formula fed and cloth diapered. Formula was so highly touted that many moms received a shot in the hospital to insure their milk wouldn’t come in. They then went home and forumla fed their babies. Disposable diapers weren’t yet a major thing, so guess where all those formula fed babies pooped. I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t the toilet.

Breast milk poop literally dissolves in water. So if a newborn is exclusively breastfed it is super easy to wash diapers. But that doesn’t mean a formula fed baby can’t wear cloth. It just means that an exclusively formula fed baby’s poop may not dissolve as easily in water. This isn’t a big shocker. A baby on solids won’t have dissolving poop either.

2) Social services won’t approve of you cloth diapering a foster baby

This one is a little trickier. I had heard it a lot myself, so I actually asked our kid’s caseworker if there was some kind of ban on cloth diapering. She laughed and confirmed that cloth diapering was perfectly legal within our agency. I have personally known many foster parents, throughout many agencies, to cloth diaper and never have a problem with it. Occasionally you might meet a person within a foster agency who says you can’t cloth diaper, but this is likely not an actual rule.

If a specific person within the agency makes a big deal out of it, I would suggest you show them how simple, easy, and clean cloth diapering actually is. If they still aren’t sold, ask them for documentation stating the agency doesn’t allow cloth diapering. I doubt they will be able to produce it.

The place you are most likely to face confrontation is on parent visits if your foster child has them. Many birth parents are concerned about how their child looks. It is important to them that their child looks clean and well put together. Because the visits with their child are so short, birth parents have few ways of ascertaining if their child is well cared for or not. They have heard the foster care horror stories and maybe even experienced them at one point as a child in care themselves. To them, the child’s appearance is an indicator of how the child is treated. They want to see their child in stylish clothes, nice shoes, well kept hair, and skin. Consider this concern a display of love toward their child, and don’t take offense by it. My advice on how to deal with this when it comes to cloth diapering is to simply avoid the problem. Send your child to visits in disposable diapers. This will also give the birth parent a chance to change the diaper in a way they are familiar with. I am definitely not saying to lie, I’m saying just don’t bring it up. Cloth diaper at home and bring them to visits in disposables. Easy.

If the issue does come up and the birth parents have a problem, educate them kindly. Show them how to use your diaper system. Tell them how often you wash them. Let them know that cloth is often better for a baby’s sensitive skin. Remind them that you are happy to send the child to visits in disposables if that is what the parent is comfortable with.

I’m not big on confrontation, so if a birth parent was adamantly against cloth after all that I would probably consider switching to disposables. But the truth behind the myth is that at every agency I have ever heard of, cloth diapering a foster child is just fine.

The debt collectors are after me

I took out a small loan recently and it’s already coming back to haunt me.

I’ve never gotten a call from a debt collector before. Wendy Evans has. She (along with a prostitute named “Lauren”) had my phone number over 10 years ago. Her creditors still call her. Often. Since it’s my number now I’m usually the one left to handle the calls. I start like this “I’m sorry kind debt collector, but this isn’t Wendy Evans. She hasn’t had this phone number in over 10 years. I don’t know her or how you can get in touch with her but when you do find her you’re probably going to have to stand in line.” At which point the person on the other end of the phone says something along the lines of “Oh really? She listed this phone number 6 months ago when she applied for xyz.” At which point I say “If you ever *do* track her down, will you please tell her to stop pretending this is still her number?” At which point we both laugh. At which point we both hang up. At which point you’ve probably gotten the point that I’ve never had a creditor after me before, it’s always been Wendy. Until now.

Like most red blooded Americans I rarely carry cash. I just swipe that debit card anytime I need something. A hair cut. A coffee. A sweater at Target during the height of the stolen credit card number debacle. Ol’ Debbie gets a lot of action. I know Dave Ramsey believes otherwise, but I find it best not to carry cash. It’s just far too tempting when the ice cream man comes swinging around the neighborhood every night at 10PM*

Sometimes however, cash is necessary. It pains me to admit that when these occasions arise I often take borrow the money from my children. If the children are of speaking age I generally ask their permission. If they are not yet speaking, I just borrow it and make a mental note to pay it back before they do learn to speak. I have found going youngest to oldest is the best way to borrow. The younger the child, the less likely they are to be mad when I forget to pay them back right away. Last week I was already 15 in the hole with Hazel and 47 in the hole with Nariya when it dawned on me that I needed an extra $30 for the babysitter. Since the two youngest were tapped out I had no other choice but to move on to Will, my oldest and most money wise. He kindly lent me the extra $30 with the provision that I pay him back $30.01. Deal.

Unlike the other two, Will has not let me forget it. The second I walk in every day he asks if I’ve been to the bank yet. He tries to add a bank stop in to our daily routine (sorry honey but it’s a 3 mile walk from the park and I already have a blister). I found a note in my wallet this morning while taking my subway card out which said “Get Money.” I’m sitting at work now half expecting the phone to ring with a reminder from him. I’ve already paid off the interest (I had that penny ready the first time he asked) but it’s the $30 I keep forgetting. I officially understand how he was able to leave his lunch box in the lost in found for three weeks despite daily reminders and loving encouragement to bring it home. I’m remembering to pay him back now as I sit here, but the second I pass an ATM it just completely slips my mind.

He should probably start locking me out

He should probably start using that lock

*It has come to my attention that many people in our neighborhood believe this man is actually a drug dealer. I can tell you from personal experience he is indeed an ice cream man and while we’re talking about it let me recommend the chocolate cone dipped in cherry.