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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Classifieds for Placements

I got a call this evening from a case worker looking to place a 5 and 8 year old brother set. Again probably not what we were looking for (kids removed because Mom failed to adequately supervise them) and we are busy for the long weekend. But she picked me out of the list because she lives in my neighborhood. (Easy monthly visits and initial drop off.)

Which got me thinking about how much I wished I could post a foster parent classified: Committed, Experienced foster family seeking sibling set of up to 4, age range 4-10ish. Will accept Hispanic, English speaking children. Hoping for long term potential adoption placement. beat time to call 3pm. Available after 9/2. At County Line and State Line roads.

I realize there is some pleading and guilt tripping required but if we started this way wouldn't the matching process be a little more efficient and perhaps cause less disruptions? 

I said no but told her if she had a similar placement next week to put me at the top of her list.

So how'd it go?

I realized today that I didn't blog about the Fab Four's visit. In short, it went well.

It was funny to listen to Mr. Mohawk discover that his room had been completely cleared out. His exact words when he went upstairs were:

Whoa! Hey guys, you gotta come check this out!

None of them took the changes poorly. Which was good. We hung out. We went to my Mom's house and saw family and then Sunday went to the movies. Aside from a sugar crash/worn out episode with Jelly Bean and a mystery item that was found in the grocery cart there were no issues. 

We returned them to their Mom's with no tears and everyone happy.

I'm so grateful that we have worked to get to this place of mutual respect and extended family. For once, it's the best case scenario and I couldn't be happier about it.

I also got the test results back from the doctor. The doctor did confirm that I have a medical issue and referred me to a specialist. While I was bummed about the diagnosis, it also confirmed that heading down the foster/adopt road was the right decision as we are that much further and prepared for that scenario. I took the news pretty well. But it hit me later in the week while at the home store. I hit the baby cribs and pretty much bolted from the store. But this was the day of the placement call in the middle of the night so I think it was more about kids in general vs. giving birth. 


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sibling Calls

Anonymous asked: How old were the kids and commented that we get a lot of Sibling Group calls.

The kids were 9,12 and 13. Which was out of the range we are looking to be placed with but it sounded very temporary. 

We have four open beds on our license. And can have up to 3 kids in the one room and though not ideal, we could put another in the loft if we had to. 

My understanding is that not a lot of foster homes can take more than 2 kids at a time in our area. We are only one of two foster homes in our town. 

We firmly believe kids should be kept together if possible and so we are willing to take a group of kids. A child with siblings in care in our state is considered special needs simply because those kids are harder to place together. I would hate to take one child in and then have a sibling group placed separate. That would break my heart.

That being said though, it's been suggested we take two sets of kids to increase our chances of being able to adopt. And while I understand that is math, that's also double the appointments and court dates and providers and issues to deal with.

So for now I will answer the phone and wait until my kids find me. Because they will.

Friday, August 23, 2013

4:15 AM

These all hour placement calls really bother me. And while I was annoyed that my cell phone was buzzing at 4:15 AM, I was more worried about the three kids sitting in an office somewhere that needed a home. Neither of us could take today off of work. (My Mom was already coming to wait for the delivery people for our new bed. No way I could surprise her with watching three kids as well!)

I laid awake for a good 40 minutes wondering about the kids. Praying for their Mom who was in the hospital.

There has got to be a better system than going down a list of people. Like a text alert or email blast (similar to the school district) with a link to check if the kids had been placed. And 4:15? I would imagine waiting two hours until 6:00 when some people would be getting up for work or to get kids off to school would have been more effective. 

One of these days the phone will ring and it will be a placement we can take.




Monday, August 19, 2013

This is what other Mom's Blog about?

Since stumbling into Foster Care Land three years ago, I've been plugged into the Blog-o-sphere. I had dabbled in Blogs at the suggestion of a friend while going through an illness. I didn't find many blogs devoted to my condition and I manage an update on that blog maybe once a year. (Sadly...)

When I began this journey into researching adoption and adoption through foster care, I pretty much stopped reading blogs that didn't pertain to some facet of the adoption triangle. 

The other day a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook to Mommy Blog. Ya know, a blog written by a Mom. That's it. Not Trauma Mom or Adoptive Mom or Foster Mom or First Mom. Just a Mom. With good advice about focusing on the important things.
 
And as I read I thought, huh? What would life be like just being a Mom, no additional title. Would I have a blog? Would I have enough interesting things to say as a Mom without a Pre-Fix? I concluded- probably not!

I've not written very much about fertility on this blog. I've struggled with if I want to share this piece of my puzzle with the world. Right now it seems important to share it as I've met many people who come to be foster parents and adoptive parents due to fertility issues. And its one of the more complicated pieces for me and I imagine a lot of others out there.

I've never explored my fertility. No doctor had ever told me I can't have children. We had held off because we wanted to have a solid marriage to add children to and then I got sick and the medication I was on was very dangerous and we were counseled on preventing a pregnancy while I was on it.
The ironic part is that a pregnancy may send my illness into remission. (Right now it is stable meaning not getting worse but also not gone.) It could also cause a flare up. Somewhat of a scary proposition for me.

So after a year of irregular cycles, possible chemical pregnancies (a very early miscarriage), and no actual pregnancy I decided to explore what is going on. I really feel like I just want to answer the question rather than always wonder if I could have had a pregnancy if I decided that it was really important to me.

Thus far, I'm not sure how I feel about having a pregnancy. I just want to be a Mom. I have a really hard time believing that it would make a difference in the way I would love a child if I birthed a child verses adopted one. I don't say that to mean there aren't differences in biological and adopted children or their experiences. Just that I believe my heart and my ability to be a parent would be no different.

Several people in my life have asked me if I would go the fertility treatment route. Well meaning friends and family seeing the sadness and stress of us being foster  parents suggest this as if that would be less stressful or sad. I feel like its trading one kind of stress for another. And what if it doesn't work? At least when I'm not really worrying about it, I have some sense of control (ok it a false sense, but its a sense). That's not to say that I'm opposed to it or judge others. Each person's decisions about what kind of family and how they want to create it is just that, their decision. I'm just not sure I want to decide anything. Or sign up for medication.

Its hard to explain the experience of being chronically ill if you have not been through it. Its a type of trauma. It was not severe trauma but definitely stressful and left residual triggers and emotions. I was seeing seven specialists at one point. I had a medicine cabinet full of pill bottles each with their own side effects. I had to feel worse to get better. And while I am grateful that I had physicians who were willing to work together to get me to a place where I could function again, I dread being back in a specialist office. I don't know if I will be able to get over that. Luckily Hubby is supportive and has allowed me the space to come to terms with all that is swirling around in my head.

The doctor feels there is something going on and that its not attributed to stress like I thought. At the same time though she didn't seem super concerned about a serious problem so I'll take my cue from her. I go this week for some further testing.

Friday, August 16, 2013

All Tucked In

And at 5 to midnight the phone rings: Can you take a placement of a 2 and - 5 year old....

Sorry. I'm truly out of beds!

The Fab Four Are Coming

To spend the weekend! And already the tattling has started (and I haven't even picked them up yet). Time to brush off the parenting skills....

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hubby

As I was making dinner tonight for Hubby and I, it dawned on me that today felt normal. Like how it felt before we became foster parents. That somehow in all the stress and loss and sadness we managed to find us again. Perhaps a better version of us, but  us. A couple who loves each other. Who quip with silly one liners simply to make the other person laugh. Us who have clearly divided chores that the other appreciates. Us that have grown together in the past 12 years to adults who can communicate and compromise.

Today did not feel sad or empty. In fact, the only trace of the past two years and the kids was us getting in the minivan to go to a BBQ. And on the drive home we had a great "check in" conversation about how we are feeling about some decisions we will need to make. 

I guess I wanted to put it out into the universe how grateful I am for my husband. And how much I love that he does laundry and dishes but pretends not to know where the Tupperware is kept. And how hard he works to support our family and the fact that he can make me laugh. I love that he gets giddy when talking about Disney World and that he is generous with both his time and with gifts. When I think of all the choices I've made in my life, choosing him was the best by far.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Friday Night Visit

I took LM shopping for her birthday last night. There was a misunderstanding and I think I let her down because she didn't get to spend the weekend with us. She did manage to thank me several times and I think she enjoyed the one on one time. As did I. 

When I arrived at their house JB was in the middle of a tantrum. She instantly tried to get me to see things her way and complained loudly that her Mom was ignoring her. When I told her her Mom was doing the right thing she tried to escalate the tantrum.

Somehow, my magical meltdown powers were still intact and after a few minutes she calmed down. She tried 1) you are not my mother (to which I replied, "Correct but I am an adult and you will be respectful to me.") 2) My Mom doesn't want me to learn about God ("You can't learn about God while you are crying") 3) No one listens to me ("I'd be happy to listen and help you talk with your Mom when I come back but I have some rules. 1- this mess you made needs to be cleaned up 2- you need to be respectful. We all have choices. You can choose to calm down and use your tools or you can choose not to, but if you choose not to, I can choose to go home.") she stopped crying by the time we left and when I came back the mess was cleaned up and we had a nice chat.

She was triggered by school starting Monday. LM had told me what was going on before the tantrums started this week (she hadn't been trantruming every day) and it was getting ready for school. So we talked about it with Maria and went over what she can do to keep calm. Then we made plans for a phone call next week.

The language barrier is sometimes hard. I think Maria was trying to ask me to take the kids for an overnight visit. I'm not sure she feels comfortable asking but I want to be able to respect her role as Mom. So I think we are going to over taking them next weekend.

I cried while I was there when I was talking to JB about the possibility of another placement in the future. She told me it would make her sad and I was overcome with emotion about my love for her. I had no problem having the same discussion with LM she told me she would be happy for us that there would be kids in the house but sad because they had so much fun and the other kids would then be having fun and not her.

When I got in my car a flood gate opened. I cried for them. I cried for the kids they would have been in my home. I cried for the things I was missing out on. I cried because as I walked in I thought about how depressing the building was and then as I sat across from Maria how jealous I was of her for being able to be a Mom.

Hubby called and he was missing the kids too. We both agreed that while the situation is fairly ideal, in that we still get to be part of their lives, it's still really painful. It was a way more productive way to manage the emotions though. 

I finished throwing my pity party and am going to focus on the things I love about this. I have this giant family full of unconditional love- and I wouldn't imagine it any other way.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Update on Pre-Adoptive Placement

So the case worker called me back. They will be pursuing the Spanish speaking foster family. What's meant to be will be.

And this also means more time to adjust to my new job and travel as planned. Just kind of a bummer....

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Birthday

This week was LM's birthday. I called and spoke to her and she seemed to give me attitude. I have to admit I was disappointed at her lack of enthusiasm for our conversation. Maybe it's as because she is a teen now, maybe she was worried about what her birthday would be like at her Mom's. whatever it was, it made me frustrated and sad.

I saw a picture of her with balloons on her Mom's Facebook with a very nice message. I'm glad she made it special. 

I'm trying hard not to feel left out of the festivities especially since we were included for MM's. We were busy this weekend anyway. I imagine its hard to have the reminder that we existed. Maybe it was even her choice to not include us. Heck it's stressful on us as it brings up some hard feelings for me. I tend to read into things so maybe it was a simple oversight. Whatever the case I hope that LM felt special and loved.

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Friend Request I Never Thought I Would Accept

In researching foster care I came across a lot of discussion about biological families and Facebook. It seemed to be both a blessing and a curse. A great way to share information and keep a connection but also a major source of drama and inappropriate boundaries.

Lots of people set up private Facebook groups just for their particular situation. A way to securely share photos and monitor exchange of information. Some had great relationships that led to co-parenting and continuity for the kids.

I thought these people were crazy. How could you get to a place of such giving when the system puts you on opposing sides?

While I was often frustrated and angry at the things the Fab Four's Mom, Maria, did, I learned to move on and did the unthinkable - accepted her friend request on Facebook.

I genuinely count her as a friend. She has been gracious in allowing me to see her kids and I want to make sure they succeed. I also don't want to lose them in the world and since we have no common circles it would be easy to do if she lost my number or got a new phone.

Here's hoping we cultivate the positive, good boundary, co-parenting relationship.