Want to know what's going on in our little world? Not a whole lot. Or at least nothing huge. I'm trying to be a little more orderly in my day to day life. I even went so far as to create a daily schedule for me and the little ones. We haven't really stuck to it, but it gives us a place to look when we're bored. I'm also trying to be more intentional with one on one time with the kids. I know that when we do get an adoptive placement it's going to disrupt EVERYTHING so it would be nice if we already have a good routine to fall back into. I know that routine will be even more important for the future little Shipps.
Our current system is that each kid has their own day of the week. G is Monday, J is Tuesday, L is Wednesday, and M is Thursday. AM doesn't get one yet but she will when she starts noticing or when she moves out of the baby bed.
Privileges on each child's given day are:
* Sit by mama at dinner
* Say the prayer over dinner
* Run errands with a parent if they're happening that night
* Mom or dad snuggle in their bed for a few minutes chatting and visiting at bed time
I know it doesn't seem like much, but for now it makes a difference. Each child really looks forward to their own day. I also like having the weekends open since we tend to have people over on the weekends and I'm not as available at bed time, etc. I suppose when AM moves up and when we have more children that we'll have to double up and split some of those privileges a little. Even though we have a big-ish family, this little bit of one on one really makes a difference.
Another change we've made in anticipation of adoption is changing up discipline a little bit. Spanking is a taboo subject, so I won't go into that too much other than to say that when kids are in foster care you can't spank them. When we get a placement, the kids will still be considered to be in foster care until the adoption is finalized around 6 months later. So no spanking. And even once the adoption is consummated, that may not be the best idea anyway. It's also discouraged to spank biological children in front of the foster children (for obvious reasons). And we don't want to confuse anybody or make one child feel like they're different than the other. So this is where Daddy Dollars come in.
Another adoptive mom turned us on to this. It's a reward and consequence system. The kids earn daddy dollars for doing their daily chores. We often offer extras for extra chores or for helping a sibling. The kids that are in school also get daddy dollars for exceptional grades. They can also lose daddy dollars for disobedience, disrespect, bad attitude, etc. We even have one kiddo who constantly forgets to put his name on his school work (and loses points at school for it) and so we've started deducting daddy dollars for that too (a little extra incentive.) We typically pay out once a week. If any daddy dollars are owed though that is done immediately. They each keep up with their own dollars.
Roughly every two weeks the Mommy Market opens. (Catchy, isn't it?) The mommy market contains various things. We've currently got an assortment of dollar tree toys, decks of cards, batteries, candy, mechanical pencils and mini note pads. In the past we've also had things like gloves, fun socks, toy baby bottles, finger paint (bad idea!), erasers, nun-chucks (also a bad idea), and lego men. In addition to these items, we also have "gift certificates" for a dinner date with one parent, a movie date with one parent, and i-tunes credit. Prices vary on these items from 2 for 1 daddy dollar to 25 daddy dollars. Sometimes they spend it all and sometimes they save it up to buy a big ticket item. (And the prices may change at any time!) They all love going to the mommy market. It's exciting every time. They also have some input on what items we put in the mommy market. Sometimes they'll ask for something at the store and I can't just buy every little thing they want, but I can buy it and they can work for it.
I must admit, this system has been better for rewards than for discipline. That's my own fault though because I forget to take them away. I need to get more on top of that. (For those readers that don't know me, my kids range from 1.5 to 8. The youngest doesn't participate in this, but the 3 yr old does and loves it.)
You can make your own daddy dollars here in any denomination or type of money.
For now, we take each day as it comes. We never know when we're going to get a call or email that will change our lives forever. We try to plan what we can but we wait and trust the Lord's timing and provision for everything else. I'm ready to bring my kids home and do all these little day to day things with them. I can't wait to take them to the zoo and to continue our fun, crazy Build-A-Bear tradition we started with our first kiddo. I can't wait to see their little personalities, to introduce them to family and friends, take them to church and teach them about Jesus. I know it's going to be hard. It's probably a good thing I don't know just how hard it's going to be, but I don't think I'm completely in the dark here. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us!