Posts Tagged ‘children’

Hello Again! So Much Has Changed…

February 20, 2019

Hey all! Long time no see. I just now realized how long it has been since I last posted. My life has changed so much changed this past couple of years. It has been quite a whirlwind. Some days I still feel like I haven’t been able to set my feet on solid ground.

Before I tell you all that’s happened, let me tell you what prompted me here. A blogger that I had once followed also had stopped blogging. But she made a recent post that was very sad. Hawkeye at http://browndogcbr.blogspot.com/ has passed on. Though I hadn’t been following any bloggers for a while, the news touched my heart. I miss all of you and your stories about your furry loved ones. Many of you, including Hawkeye, have provided me with fond memories and a connection with fellow dog lovers that is not always easy to find. You will be greatly missed, Hawkeye.

Before you get too worried about what has changed in my life, let me assure you that my life changes have been good changes and that Maya and Pierson are still doing well. Pierson is the same ornery booger that he’s always been. He still hates other dogs (except Maya). I’m still working on his leash reactive behaviors. He still barks at everything, eats poop, and still manages to mangle some poor wildlife animal that couldn’t escape our yard fast enough. But he’s still as cute as ever, albeit a little less actively cute because he’s getting older. He’s still good at giving me comfort when I get stressed. Maya is the same loveable Labrador, but she has gotten noticeably old. She sleeps a lot more and her playful moods happen less often. Her face is much whiter and she’s starting to get those old-lady-dog-warts. But she’s still very happy and healthy for her age.

Now to the changes that have taken place… After my husband and I moved back to Kansas from Iowa, we reopened the discussion about having children. Since I’m over 40 years old and since our earlier attempts at IUI, IVF, and other infertility treatments didn’t work, we decided on another route. Early in 2016, we began the process of becoming foster parents. We decided to take it slow by only fostering one child at a time and only on a respite-need basis, which means very short-term, such as a few days or even a few weeks.

A few of our foster children ended up staying with us longer. After taking in one girl for a week, we were asked a few months later if we’d take her again but this time for a few months. We gladly agreed. I can’t tell you her circumstances, but I can tell you she is back with her family and is doing very well. I will tell you more about our next long-term placement shortly.

While fostering children, we also looked into the possibility of adopting. We weren’t quite ready to adopt through the foster system because we weren’t sure we could handle the extra challenge of caring for children from hard places. Our hearts wanted to, but there’s a huge difference in wanting to and being able to. Because my husband is Chinese and because his parents still have old fashioned beliefs about continuing the family line, we decided to meet them halfway and adopt a child in need from China. In November of 2016, we contacted an organization called CCAI. In December of 2016, our home study was approved. And in January of 2017, we were matched with a two-year-old boy with spina bifida. The process for adopting him was only just beginning though. There was a lot of paperwork to complete and approvals needed from various organizations in both the U.S. and in China. So it wasn’t until December of 2017 that we were able to meet him and bring him home.

Before that, we were still fostering children. As I said, we were only fostering one child at a time. But in April of 2017 our caseworker begged us to take in two teenagers. It was only supposed to be for a month, but their placement with their relative kept falling through because the relative was having difficulty in meeting all the requirements. What was supposed to take a month turned into two, then four, then eight. Needless to say, we all became very attached. When it came time for us to go to China to get the boy we decided to name Edward, or Eddie for short, they were excited for us but there was also a bitter-sweetness to it. While we were in China, we were expecting that they’d be placed with their relative. So leaving for China meant saying goodbye to them.

But placement with the relative fell through again. We flew into the U.S. on December 23rd, but did not get Eddie home until Christmas Eve. And on Christmas Eve, our two foster children were returned to us. It was an amazing day. Eddie looked at my foster son and said ge ge, which means big brother in Chinese. Eddie still wasn’t quite sure what to think of me (he latched on to my husband right away), but he felt comfortable enough to want to sit in my daughter’s lap. He’d never seen dogs in real life before but was luckily more curious about Maya and Pierson than afraid.

This day was also very special because it was then that our foster kids decided they didn’t want to go live with their relative and they wanted to stay with us. I can’t even begin to tell you how much my heart swelled that day. The happiness of it still makes my eyes water. My foster son has since decided he doesn’t want to be adopted, but he does still want to live with us. We are still working on adopting our foster daughter. The process for adopting her wasn’t nearly as complicated for us as it was for adopting Eddie, but the bureaucratic slowness of our government system is ridiculous. We are hoping her adoption will happen within the next month or so.

I feel extremely blessed. But, as you might imagine, free-time is not something I have much of anymore. So it may be a while before I blog again. Thank you for stopping by!

Our New Family

Our New Family (images of our teens are blurred because we are not allowed to say their names or post their faces until adoption has been finalized.)

Pierson Living It Up

Pierson is living it up with his new family additions.

Eddie with Maya and Pierson

Eddie meets Maya and Pierson in December 2017.

Eddie Sitting in Big Sister's Lap

Eddie is sitting in his big sister’s lap.

Just Because My Dog is Shy Doesn’t Mean He Was Mistreated

September 5, 2014
Pierson Rescue Dog

Pierson was nervous on his first day at his new home. He wasn’t quite sure yet what to think of me and my husband or Maya.

I was talking to someone about my dog Pierson the other day (when do I not talk about my dogs?), about how he was rescued and about how shy he can sometimes be around strangers. Their first reaction to his shyness was to say he had probably been mistreated by his prior family. My immediate response was to say this is not necessarily true and here’s why.

SHY BUT NOT FEARFUL
Pierson is wary and shy, but he is not fearful. He darts out of the way of a fast hand movement or if someone bends over him. But this is a natural reaction for many dogs. He doesn’t snap or growl in reaction. He simply takes a few steps back.

Dad Pierson Shake

Pierson was a bit shy around my dad at first. But he warmed up to him after a few treats.

BREED BEHAVIOR
Pierson is most likely part Border Collie and part Australian Shepherd. Both these breeds are very high alert dogs. They were bred to guard flocks and so they tend to be naturally wary of strange things, including strange people. Pierson tends to warm up to a person better if I or my husband is there and if the other person lets Pierson check them out first on his own terms.

LACK OF SOCIALIZATION
I got Pierson when he was probably a year old so I have no idea how well he was socialized. He was very shy when we first got him. I have been doing my best to introduce him to new people and new things. And as such, he tends to warm up to new people much quicker than in the past. There are still occasions when he decides to be shy. Generally it is around small children since he doesn’t get the opportunity to be around children much.

Family Playing Hungry Hippos

Pierson looks on as my niece and nephew, my brother-in-law, and my husband play Hungry Hungry Hippos. He was wary of the little ones but not fearful. My sister has done a good job of teaching her kids how to approach dogs and to leave them alone if they don’t want to be bothered.

MISTREATED
A dog very well could be shy due to mistreatment. If Pierson had been mistreated, however, I would expect his reaction to be a lot more severe. I’d expect tail tucking, ears going back, eyes dilating, growling, or cowering. He occasionally growls, but it is usually when a person tries to be too overly friendly with him. He’s not a Labrador. You can’t just go up to him and try to put your arms around him! (Actually one shouldn’t do this to any dog regardless of breed, but you get my point.)

I honestly don’t know whether Pierson had been purposely abandoned in the park I found him in or if he had wandered off from his family and found his own way to the park. I have no idea if he was loved or if he was unwanted. Either way, I very much doubt he was abused. For Pierson, I think the most likely explanation for his shyness is his breed mix. Lack of socialization is probably a factor too, but I think it is possible for certain dogs to have a shyness tendency regardless of proper socialization.

Do you have a shy dog? Why do you think he or she is shy? What do you tell people when they suggest your dog might have been mistreated?