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We are still here...

So I've been a tad neglectful of my blog here. We are in the mundane, "every day is work and the kids are trying to express themselves and I might go crazy" phase of this placement. We are starting therapy and we are heading into trauma anniversary season for the kids and our typical everyday life is busy.

I'm not writing much about visits for a few reasons. The first is they are only four hours so not much can go wrong. The second is that the kids don't discuss them. I can't tell if its because they've been coached not to or because they really dissociate that much from Sheila. I also am not placing much value on how they are going in terms of reunification. Sheila's parenting skills are to placate and please. Which is a step up from the neglect they suffered. And she has so much other stuff to accomplish the visits are the last place they will start caring.

I was annoyed that the answer to one child's upset stomach last week was a snow cone, which of course, she threw up on the way home. But it wasn't my car and she was fine after. So I guess I look at that as progress on my part. If I nitpick everything I will lose sight of the big picture. I'm also trying to remember that this could be her last six months with her kids. It doesn't cost me anything to let her have that (so long as the kids are relatively safe). 

The phone calls we have are something I've never experienced before and have bordered on looney and so those I'm documenting. This week Simon looked at me while she was talking and his face read: WTF? And I agreed with him. She's distracted. Hangs up in the middle and walks down memory lane with them. After the third time she asks the same child what they are doing (talking to her) or how school is going (same as five seconds ago) I suggest a new topic. They are only 15-20 minutes but they are painful. Smiley has decided she doesn't want to talk to Sheila so she gets on the phone and tells her that. Her therapist told us that was a good sign of healthy processing. It cracks me up though, because she is 4 and she has this quiet little baby voice. 

Tonight everyone was needy. And sad. And cried (except Stella who won't cry in front of us). Simon described his day to me and we landed at overwhelmed. He said he felt like he had too much work at school and he helped a friend with a project and he felt sad all day. My poor little guy is only in Kindergarten. So we did extra cuddling and lots of little kisses. He also got some Benadryl for his "itchy all over" which I believe is psychosomatic. In any event, more than one medical professional has told me Benadryl is helpful for anxious kids because it helps them relax and sleep. 



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She Never Cried

Sheila called to wish Sarah Happy Birthday and she shared a story with her that as a baby she never cried. Not when she was hungry, not when she was tired, never. She never cried.
A little later Sarah said to me:
"Mom, my Mom said I never cried. I don't really believe that. That can't be true can it? Don't all babies cry sometimes?"
Oh my sweet girl. The red flag went up for her too. As I listened to Sheila share this story fondly, I felt sad. That was a sign of her RAD. That was because she couldn't count on adults. That was because she cried and no one came so she learned not to cry.
"It doesn't sound right to you, does it?"
"I know your Mom shared that story because she thinks it's cute you never cried. It made me sad. You are right babies cry so adults take care of them. You know how you had a lot of different adults that were supposed to take care of you as a baby?"
"Yeah, like 10 foster parents."
"Well …

Minimum Parenting Standards - Monday's Post

I can't figure out Blogger's time zone and I may not have time to write Monday evening so here is Monday's post.

This week we are having another "team" meeting. This time to discuss the "minimum parenting standards" that the kid's Mom has to meet in order to be "good enough" to parent them.

Now I have all kids of issues with this entire exercise. The first being that these kids deserve better than the minimum. The second, that good enough isn't going to cut it with their issues. The hardest part though is being asked to write down a guide to being their parent FOR their parent. Putting my commitment to first reunify a family to the test. It is one thing to suggest ways in which she can be a better parent and to support the goal by not bad mouthing her and encouraging the kids to share their true feelings. It is an entirely different thing to sit down and write a guide for a woman who has yet to grasp the basics after two years.

It wa…

Reader Question: Did You change their names?

Yes we did. We actually started using their new names shortly after their good bye visit with Sheila last August. So the only name that really changed this week was their last name (kind of, one of them actually had our last name). We had started using them so we wouldn't have to try to do a name change mid-school year. Plus the kids had only been in the school the last 1/2 of the year so they didn't know everyone yet. The school was great about going with the new first names.
At some point Simon spontaneously asked his teacher if he could change his name tag on his desk to our last name. He was tired of waiting on the legal stuff. He started to write Simon Almost Last Name on his papers. So we asked all the kids and they asked for the same update. Their report cards and benchmarks still had their legal names. 
The name change was a bit cumbersome at first. We sounded like owls because someone would ask for a person by their birth name and we would all answer "Who?". W…


I had some questions asked of me recently that I thought I would answer here:

1) How do you keep doing this after so much crap?
I actually had two different foster moms ask me this. One dealing with a false allegation and one in a kinship case with a pregnant, unstable bio mom.

I'm not sure I have an eloquent answer to this question. I think I've reached a point where I see the bigger picture - the kids.  That's not to say this stuff doesn't drive me nuts or make me emotional. I would be spitting fire if we had to deal with a false allegation. I'm really upset about the potential of having to make a decision about another baby. But if not me, who? We are good at this. There are kids that need me. And I probably need them. I am a caretaker by nature.  What would I be doing with myself if I didn't have 15 different obligations all at once? I have no idea because I've always been this way. And right now all of the current drama is related to my children. I s…

It is a process

It's a physical ache. A pain in the middle of my chest.  And it causes hot tears, the kind that sting my eyes.  It settled over me today and I couldn't shake it.

It started with news that more people in our lives are expecting and today, I just couldn't muster the happiness.  I heard complaints of not feeling well and my ability to plaster the smile on my face just vanished from my body. I left the house to "run an errand" but really I just needed an escape.

All week I've been able to communicate and tell people about Solana leaving without any trouble.  I probably sounded like a PSA for "How to be the role model foster parent".

People were asking:

So will you get to adopt the little one? Is she staying?

Well no, actually.  She is going home in a few weeks. That's the goal of foster care. We are really happy for her dad. He really gets it. We've built a relationship. I'm so glad she doesn't have to go through the pain of adoption or …