Who is Hypervigilant?

Who is Hypervigilant?

Nutshell if you’re in a rush:

Hi, I’m Casey.

Hubby and I adopted two very traumatized kids through foster care. Our social worker called me hypervigilant (because I wanted her to do her job*) and now I write at Hypervigilant.org.

Resources for families of adopted children proved difficult to find; once we were right-side-up again, Hubby urged me to share our experiences. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Find HOPE here. And also lots of cyber-hugs. 

*No offense if you’re a good SW. I know good ones are out there and we appreciate all you do.


Details of our story if you have a minute:

Hubby and I adopted two wild hyenas and lived to tell about it (and so have they), and now I’m sharing the saga with you. I share personal experience and thoughts from adult adoptees (some of the best resources EVER for figuring out how to help kids). 

I started writing for anyone involved in adoption, but adoptive or not, consider yourself invited.

Stay a while; speak your mind. I love hearing your perspective. Some of the best parenting advice comes from people without kids, because their brains aren’t fried on square pants and the Lego movie theme song.

If you have no personal connection with adoption, but you read this blog and think “Geez, why doesn’t she just try _____,” please share suggestions. It takes a village to raise an idiot—I mean, child.

Similarly, it takes a blogging community to keep the child’s parents from singing EVERYTHING IS AWESOMMMMMMMMMMMME to the bank teller.

Everyone needs hope and the occasional laugh. I try to provide both by sharing the truth about adoption with an honest picture of our wins and mishaps. I also write a little fiction on the side. These are my favorites.

Alternately, you can read Adoption = for the same reason Hubby watches Cops: “Well, at least we’re not THAT crazy.”

Find hope here, whether you are in a beautiful moment of triumph, in the middle of ongoing battles, in the throes of a nervous breakdown or wishing you could just give those kids back to someone. Anyone.

(No, this does not make you a bad person. You WILL get through it. Please do not give your child to the grocery clerk with the kind eyes.)

I don’t have all the answers, but I’m happy to give you what I’ve got. If Hubby and I can endure HellonEarth and keep two kids alive (which is sometimes a bit harder than it sounds), so can you.

If you are in the circle of an adopted child or adoptive parent, sometimes you will feel like walking away. Please don’t. They need all the help they can get. You’ll see what I mean. There’s a LOT they aren’t telling, because they don’t want you to run away screaming.

Adoption can feel very isolating. Almost like Witness Protection.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for hanging in with me. Tenacity is an excellent quality for dealing with adopted children. Also, you’ll need patience, empathy, and the ability to open a big ol’ can of whoop-a—oh, sorry…I mean…the ability to guide darling children through extremely difficult emotional ups and downs.

Actually, the can of whoop will likely be necessary for the social worker or other adult standing in the way of what your child needs. Keep it on hand.

Our kids will choose our nursing homes. I, for one, do not plan to end my days living in a storage unit with a bare bulb for heat. Especially now that we have to use those energy-efficient ones.

Let’s get this right.

Happy reading,


Casey Alexander writes and lives with her amazing, talented Hubby and two wonderful (and sometimes very weird) adopted children, along with three dogs and six outdoor cats. And also a hawk, who hangs around hoping to steal a cat (as the kids have grown too large). 


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  1. Hi Casey

    Thank you for dropping by my blog and following it.
    Much appreciated.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Praise Jesus we do get away! Very supportive family and friend infrastructure. I run…this is MY time. Cheap, cheap therapy. We just feel helpless sometimes ie are we doing enough for him? Glad we are not the only ones who value “do-overs” for not only him, but us too! I have enjoyed looking back at old posts and experiences from those sailing the ship with us. Good to know others plug the hole in ship with whatever they find works. Doesn’t have to be pretty….just needs to work. Grace and peace…..

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I found your blog by accident. Actually I don’t think I have actually read a blog by anyone about anything until now. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Having a rough time with our oldest adoptee as of late. I am having a hard time. Thus he is having an even harder time. Nothing like misery loving company to snap my ass out of potential self-pity. I will read you regularly as well as recommendations of other blogs of parents of older adopted kids. Thank you. Truly. Sick and tired of everyone telling us what a beautiful thing we have done/are doing. Not so beautiful most days. But for snippets of time, oh my goodness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you’re here! Yeah, every time I read a story about a family who just adopted seventeen children from eight different countries and everyone is doing super-fabulous…I always hope it’s true, for their sake. But mostly, I think, “Yeah. Come back and interview them in six months. Or even better, hide cameras in the house.” Pretty sure that will show it’s not all sunshine and unicorns. 😉

      I’m sorry you’re having a tough time (right there with ya). My best advice is the hardest thing to do (as far as I’m concerned, anyway): get a break.

      If there is ANYone you can trust to stay with them for a night or two, get away for some perspective. I totally understand how difficult it is to find someone you trust who also understands the specific special needs of adopted children (especially those with trauma).

      Hubby and I have a specific weekend we go away every year, and we look forward to it ALL YEAR. 🙂 During the day, we do our own thing (I like to sit and write) and in the evening we get back together and spend time enjoying each other’s company—like “the old days,” just the two of us. On the hard days, I think of the trip.

      If you don’t have a person you know and trust, check with local agencies to see if they have a family wrap-around service for disruption prevention. (I am absolutely NOT saying you’re looking at disruption—but they should have the services you need.) Disruption is becoming a more well-known issue (I have a blog series on it…just search Disruption on the main page) and I believe we’re going to see a surge in resources directed at helping adoptive families before they get to that point.

      reddit.com/r/adoption is a great site to go for encouragement. Some days, I just go back and read old posts. There are about 4,000 users (adoptive parents, adopted kids–mostly grown, and occasional birth parents). It’s really cool to hear their perspectives.

      And yes—truly beautiful moments. And those moments make it all worthwhile.


  4. Casey,

    I realize this is probably outside of your area of interest, but I’m looking for resources to help me understand a birth parent who doesn’t want contact with her child.

    Basically, our daughter got in touch with me after figuring out on FB that her mother and I are still in close contact – but when I showed the contact to the birth mother, she freaked.

    Her reaction is so far outside my 30 years of close friendship with her that I’m completely lost. I’ve been doing research, but I’m not finding anything much.

    Any suggestions?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Reddit.com has an adoption forum (they call it a “sub”). I really enjoy interacting with that community. You’ll find several others have written about the same situation. I highly recommend reading the other posts, then sharing your story (or she can do it). I think the knowledge she’s not alone will be helpful. Be aware that you may get an occasional negative comment but the community at large is VERY positive and caring. Usually we pretty much ignore the Negative Nellies (or someone else will quickly shut them down). Negatives are unlikely but thought I’d mention—in case you get one, don’t be discouraged.

      Here’s the link (let me know if it doesn’t work): https://www.reddit.com/r/Adoption/

      Tell ’em Casey sent you! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I turned the wordpress commenting back on for my new self hosted site. I don’t know if you are getting my replies though lol. It has been a headache and a lot of work.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I just got this reply–I wasn’t before (hence the long delay in my answers). 🙂 Yeah, self hosted is for the birds (or for the people who are smarter than I am…so I guess that confirms you’re a brainiac).


  6. Thoughtful stuff! I look forward to reading more!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thanks so much for finding me and following 🙂 What a lovely, unique blog you have! I’m so interested in reading about your story (and others). I’ve found adoption isn’t something people talk about so much so it’s great that you’re putting it out there 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for following and for reading! That’s exactly why Hubby prompted me (for two years, ha) to start a blog. We found so few resources to help us, and most adoptive stories appear so…saccharine. No one wants to talk about the rough stuff. I laugh when I read articles about families who adopted (for instance) three kids six months ago and everything is “GREAT.” Someone needs to go back and interview them in about a year, after the honeymoon has worn away. Adoption disruption horrifies me. Maybe if more adoptive families were honest, individuals who adopt would enter the commitment with better information and preparation. Because honestly (although I never want to relive the first or second years), with the right support, families can thrive.

      Thanks again for hanging out! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  8. A friend who adopted a child claimed it took a village–and in her case the seven-country metropolitan area. She had a gift for mobilizing friends to help out, though, and the story ended happily.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hello! Challenging you to the Love/Hate Challenge. You can check it out at my log to see what it is all about 🙂 Hope you go for it. ficwriterwithablog.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks so much for following my blog, I really appreciate it!
    I’m really looking forward to seeing more of your writing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Casey, thank you for following my blog Mitsubachicats Featherston Homestead. Glad to hear you have cats.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thanks for following my blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I love your sense of humour and look forward to following your blog. I have replied to the comment you left on my blog and hope what I have said is helpful. Kindest regards. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hiya! I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. To accept, we would like you to post the Award on your site, thank your nominator (I did not make that rule up!), tell us 7 things about you, and nominate 15 more bloggers to keep the love going. I hope you accept, I think you deserve it

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Casey,
    I’ve nominated you for the Very inspiring blogger award. If you choose to accept, which I hope you will you need to follow 4 rules. 1. Thank the blogger who nominated you. 2. List the rules and display the award. 3. Share seven facts about yourself. 4. Nominate (15) other amazing blogs and comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them. Good luck in your writing journey.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Loved you blog. I have worked as a foster care worker, an adoption worker, have a friend who adopted two children from china, have two nieces that were adopted and fostered a very special needs medically fragile child until he passed away at the age of 11. One of my foster daughters chose to give up her child at the age of 3 months and about a year ago now has contact with her (the girl is now 18). Many stories many different outcomes. Will keep reading yours as you seem to adopt a lot of animals too, big hearts.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Just found your site, because of the “military mamma” link I suppose. Long story short, my wife and I have a natural born daughter and an adopted son. I am a huge supported of adoption and love am constantly reminded that not every story begins with your mom and I opened a bottle of wine. Every person has a story and I love that you are telling the story of your family.


    Liked by 2 people

  18. Thanks to everyone who nominated my blog for the One Lovely Blog Award! Things have been nuts, but I wanted to let you know I truly appreciate it and will respond as soon as I can. There should be a Lovely Reader award! 🙂


  19. LifestyleswithLia

    Hi! I’ve also nominated you for the “One Lovely Blog Award” if you’d like to participate! You can read more about it here:


    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thanks for following my site. I’ve not had any experience of adopting, nor am I likely to have now since I’m in my dotage 😉 but I know it can be a nightmareishly long and protracted process, and of course, brings new challenges to both the adopters and the adoptees. It will be really interesting to read your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for reading and contributing!! (Should I tell you that my friend was adopted by a 60 year old?) 🙂


    • That last comment was true, but I wasn’t actually trying to push you into anything. If you know anyone who’s adopted, just bringing them a meal once a month can be amazing. There are lots of little ways to be supportive. I know that it’s truly not feasible for everyone to adopt, but please keep your eyes open for ways to help. We can use all the support we can get! 🙂


  21. A little while ago I’ve nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award. Apparently something went wrong with my notification to some of my nominees. I am not sure anymore if you got the notification or not. Here is my post again in case you didn’t: http://amommasview.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/one-lovely-blog-award/

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hello! I have nominated your blog for the One Lovely Blog award, because I think it is lovely, and I truly enjoy reading it! I hope you will accept!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Its award season and I’ve nominated you for The One Lovely Blog Award because I think your blog is lovely. I hope you can accept my nomination. Looking forward to more great posts on your site.


    Liked by 1 person

  24. Hello casey,
    I have nominated your blog for the “One Lovely Blog” Award. If you want to participate, check out the instructions here: http://missfreshblog.com/2014/10/06/one-lovely-blog-award/
    Remain Blessed

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I’ve nominated your blog for the “One Lovely Blog” Award. If you want to participate, check out the instructions here: http://faithfulhomesteader.wordpress.com/2014/10/05/one-lovely-blogger-award/

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Hi! I enjoy reading your blog and I nominated you for a bloggers award! Find my post and more about the award at http://thebeespeak.word.press.com/2014/10/03/sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Rowing Partner

    Casey, I get where you are coming from. There are circumstances and events that are not presented to you on delivery of your adopted child. Just as with birth children, there are things you cannot and will not be prepared for. Another voice reiterating the same I know gives me peace. Thank you for your willingness to share.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I have several friends in the fostering/adopting system, and the focus and intent of your blog intrigues me.

    I have some concerns about your first line, though. “Real people adopting real children” sounds like a value judgment, or an implication that not everyone who adopts, or everyone who is adopted, is as “real” as your family. “Real” can be an emotionally loaded word, and you never know what your reader may infer by your use of it. I would hate to see an engaging voice and a terrific resource be undermined by one unfortunate bit of phrasing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for your feedback! I guess the idea I was going for is that I’m writing for an audience that wants the true story, and we’re going to give it to them. “Real” as in open and honest. Too many of the stories I hear are sugar coated; I think adoptive families are afraid to tell the stories of what happens behind the scenes, for fear of being judged or even of dissuading others from considering adoption. I think the opposite is true…people want the real story because adopted or not, every family has issues and we feel better when we know we’re not alone. So…all that to say, I guess I need to find a better way to say, “you’re getting the straight scoop here.” Do you have any suggestions?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah! Then it’s just a matter of rearranging the words so that the “real” refers to the story, and not the people involved in it. You’ve got some great words in your reply to my question. How about…

        “Adoptive families face some special challenges, but may be reluctant to speak frankly about them. We may fear being judged, or inadvertently dissuading others from considering adoption. But every family has issues, and it’s important to know we’re not alone.

        These are the true stories of our family’s adoption(s), with no gloss and no sugar coating. It ain’t always pretty. But when it is, it’s beautiful.”

        (Make your words your own, though; it’s your blog, your family, and it should be your voice.)

        Liked by 1 person

  29. I really enjoyed reading your about page. I’m sure that you have a passion for this topic and you will be a blessing to others.

    Liked by 3 people

  30. So you’re a crazy cat lady with a big ol’ can of whoop-a? I think I’m gonna like you too! BTW–I have some friends who just adopted their second child after working with the system for nearly ten years! I assume it’s not that hard for everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I didn’t really like cats prior to Hubby, but he has steadily brought me to the dark side. 🙂 Wow, ten years, yeah, that’s excessive. Not sure where you are, but in the States, most of the time you’re required to have the child in your home for 6 months to a year prior to adopting, but it can take longer.


      • Well, it took them a few years just to get the child. Once that was done, the final adoption seemed pretty quick. Everything was done in 6th months.

        Oh, and I’m a Mormon, so of course I live in Utah, right? I tried to move out of state, but my grandkids made me move back. I write my blog out of frustration with my geographic/cultural location.

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Seven cats.. Interesting. I can gather that you are an amazing woman and that you and your husband have a big heart. You remind me that there is hope with humanity and I am sure those children are grateful you opened your arms and home to them

    Liked by 2 people

  32. Thank you for reposting!!!!


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  5. Pingback: One Lovely Blog Award! | Lifestyles with Lia

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