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Showing posts from September, 2013

I'm Rusty

I forgot how stressful redirection can be. It was constant this past weekend. Jelly Bean just could not get it together. Over and over and over and over again.

The minute they got in my car Friday we went over the house rules. We went over the activities and then I answered to Mom a gazillion times. But that didn't matter because she basically broke every.single.one. And I know its testing. But it was exhausting. I mean been there. Done that. Bought the T-Shirt. There were no major incidents just a constant need for negative attention.

The really big thing was she left the door to the garage and the house wide open. So of course the dog got out. I have no idea how long he was outside and thankfully he stuck close by because when Gabby went outside to look for him he came right to her. But I was so upset I told the kids they needed to find a separate corner of the house where I couldn't see them. Ok. I yelled it. So the oldest two were crying and I couldn't find the younge…

Unprepared

This weekend was the first time we've taken the kids to a non-family party since they moved home. A friend was having a house warming and we ran into one of her friends that stood up in her wedding like I did. And she asked me when did I get so many kids.

Folks. I was totally caught off guard. In five months I have not had to think about how to answer that question while near the kids. And I honestly wasn't sure how to answer. Since the kids have introduced us as "their Foster parents they used to live with" I decided to tell the fluffy version of the truth.
Well, we are foster parents and these four used to lived with us for two years but are now living with their Mom and they get to visit. Their Mom has been great about letting us see them and she has been so gracious. Really we've just become a big extended family.
Thankfully, she didn't ask why they were in foster care. She just kept saying I couldn't imagine. That must have been so hard. Which is a …

Fab Four

So I picked up the kids last night. Maria told me that since the kids were not helping her clean this weekend they were to be put work and help at my house.
I might love this woman!
She also told me to call more. She doesn't want me to be worried about calling. "You are family. The kids ask when you will call." 
Point taken.
The 45 minute drive was just a constant stream of Mom, Mom, Mom. Giggling. And a discussion about who gets to massage Dad's feet. The answer was me because "you married him". 
And that dog of ours. Happy as a clam.

Follow Up Call

Yesterday was a bad day. Tough day at work. Tough day when I got home. I had an unusual crying jag that lasted several hours. So I welcomed today which seemed to be much better.
Until 5:15 PM rolled around and my phone rang. It was the case worker from a few weeks ago who had the three kids who needed an adoptive home. And true to his word he called me back. (Which is interesting because just this morning I wondered about them.)
He told me that there was family across the country that they were working in moving them to and that the kids were going to be placed in a short term foster home a few towns away, that was willing to take all three. He told me he knew we weren't looking for a temporary placement and so he felt this was best.
It was nice that he called me back. And he has such a positive vibe to him. "It just means someone else's babies will be in your home! Great foster parents are always in demand!" 
But I was pretty deflated. Another phone call to tell me some…

Hey Grief! Haven't Seen You In A While

I forget sometimes that I am still grieving. And it whacks me it of nowhere.

Hey Foster Mom R! Haven't made you cry in a bit. I think today would be a great day to remind you that you are no longer a mom, have no real prospects at becoming one, and oh yeah foster care sucks.A friend of mine lost her foster children of more than 2 years this week. I watched in horror and heartbreak as the Facebook updates came in after court. And unlike the Fab Four, there is no birth mother who has earned custody back. There is no hope that she will get to keep quality contact with them. They left the same day within hours of the court decision with no transition.

My blood boils that we live in a world with a court system that seems to consistently fail children. That chooses to create more heartache where there is already so much. That asks strangers to lend a hand and then walks all over them, time after time.

And I found myself sad. Bummed out. And then I arrived home tonight to an empty house…

Lost in Translation

Working with biological families can be hard. Doing it in a language you don't speak fluently adds what I like to think of as "expert level" challenge.

I usually text Maria. I write fairly well in Spanish and there is always Google Translate to help. I also will call to confirm before I head out to the kids as its a good 40 minute drive. When we speak its mostly in English.
Here was the exchange Saturday:
I call Maria's phone- it goes to voicemail. I call LM's phone-
Me: Hello? 
LMP: Hello?
Me: LM? It's Mom. Are you guys ready for me to come get you?
LMP: Actually, it's Gabby. Mom? I think my Mom forgot. We are all still sleeping. 
Me: Can you put your Mom on?
Maria: Hello? Foster Mom R?
Me: Morning Maria. Are the kids ready?
Maria: I thought you were coming next weekend. 
Me: I suppose I could.
Maria: Oh. OK. That would work better for me.
Background: Kids screaming and yelling yeah! Next weekend.
Me: OK. I'll come get them Friday night at 6:00 afte…

Working With Birth Parents

If you have followed my blog you know that I have not always been easy on birth parents. In fact, I have been critical, judgmental, tough, frustrated, and angry. And then this amazing thing happened: I learned to work with and form a relationship with the Birth Mom of my former foster kids. I would NEVER in a million years have believed that I could do that with any birth parent, particularly this birth parent.

I thought I would share how I got enough perspective to reach this point. It was not easy. And it was definitely a process. And I'm not sure if I read someone else's story that I would have followed their advice. But I did read about other foster parents who had openness with former foster placements and I found it helpful to know that others managed to make it work (even if I thought they were crazy).

1) Realize that the Birth Family comes from a completely place.
Not just a different city or county but a different culture, set of experiences and lifestyle. I know th…

Murphy's Law

I sent Maria a text to ask if I could get an item I lent her back next weekend and if I could see the kids. Her response was that the kids had asked if they could spend the weekend at our house.

Hubby and I discussed. My first reaction was no. I have things I want to get done and I felt like the kids would hinder that. His response was I really want them to come stay for a night. Then was also considered that maybe Maria needed a break and didn't feel like she could ask. So we said yes.
Of course this means Murphy's Law will kick in and we'll get a placement call this week. Especially since I've now put it on the Internet and sent it out to the universe today during an earlier discussion with Hubby.

9/16/13 UPDATE: Got a placement call tonight. Missed the actual case worker but the message was there was a child he was trying to place.

Sarcoidosis

It's been five months since I've had to juggle appointments and deal with doctors. But those were for others. I hate to admit it but I have not been a good patient. Being Mom allowed be to focus on something other than my chronic illness and I believe motherhood played a big role in my illness becoming stable.
But last week I had a scare that sent me to get checked out. And while what sent me there turned out to be ok, my blood work came back and seems to indicate a "flare up" of my Sarcoidosis. Here's a tip: if one test is abnormal that usually means there are more tests in your near future.
I didn't do much about my disease while the kids were here. I didn't have time and my symptoms were not bothering me. Well, things bothered me but they were not Sarcoidosis related. And there isn't much I can do about it aside from take pills. Doctor have always said stress is bad for my disease but foster kids or not, life is stressful! Is it a coincidence that th…

O'hana

O'hana means family. It's also a way that families live in Hawaii. Extended family in one house. We did our own little family trip and lived as one family for a weekend.

We own a timeshare (This is how I can afford to travel as much as I do. Afford being a relative term as if we didn't have a time share I wouldn't have to work.) and all of our resorts are set up like condos. Separate bedrooms, kitchen, laundry, living room. It's a great way to travel with friends and family and we often will take family with us when we go places. 
Hubby had long suggested that maybe we would get to the point where we could go up to Wisconsin Dells with the kids and their mom. I always thought he was crazy. (I think my exact words were: Are you on crack?) She hated us. We hated her. She would then tie strings to letting the kids see us. I just felt like it was too risky. 
Maria (I've landed on a blog name for the Fab Four's Mom!) really seemed to reach out. And as she was g…

Stop Mailing Me Marketing Products

Normally, I'm a sample wh*re. I LOVE sample/travel size anything. Hand lotion, lip gloss, cereal, shampoo, etc. I even purchase the gift with purchase products from Mary Kay (even though I don't do classes any more) for my personal use. 
But a while back I started to receive American Baby magazine and infant formula samples in the mail. Monthly. 
I suppose that IF I were expecting/nursing this would be welcome. But I'm not. In fact, I lost my children this year. It was confirmed that I have a fertility problem, and people keep calling me about kids for adoption then call me back to tell me someone else was chosen.
Someone sending me formula was just further reminder that my minivan is empty. And it really irritated me when I came home today. Why couldn't it have been a sample pack of chocolate or razors. Something useful?
I will be donating said formula. And in the grand scheme not a big deal. I'm going to have to get over the pity party.

My Prayer

All weekend I was in this beautiful place. A place I ran to when I couldn't bear the memories within the walls of my house. A place healing began for the Fab Four and their Mom. And as I laid in a hand-woven hammock and looked up at the trees and sky I prayed.
I mean really prayed. Prayed to let go. Prayed to be open. Prayed for my kids to find me.
Then at 4pm the next day I got a phone call from a case worker. He'd heard great things about my family from his supervisor. He worked with the Fab Four's case worker. Would we be interested in 3 kids who he needed to move back to Illinois as legal screening was complete and the department was going to be terminating rights.
Yes. A non-legal risk pre-adoptive placement. 2 boys and a girl ages 3,4 and 7. No abuse history. And while that does not mean no trauma, it probably means less degree of trauma than I am used to.
The only hesitation we have is that the kids are African American and we previously had not felt prepared to handle …