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Showing posts from December, 2014

Annie

God love my brother and sister-in-law.  I say "hey lets take 8 kids who call us Mom and Dad and one of their biological mothers to see the refresh of the movie Annie and get pizza afterward" and they show up. It was another one of my crazy "hope for the best" moments that could have exploded. It ended up being a really amazing day! 
Some would question taking 8 current and former foster kids to see a movie about an orphan (in the refresh Annie is a foster child). In fact, the following question was posed on Facebook somewhere (I honestly can't remember if it was a Foster Care support page or a foundation): Should "Foster Kids" go see the movie Annie?  I think it was a valid question but one of the comments really stuck with me.  It was something to the effect of why do you have to label the kids as foster kids? They are kids. So what if they are in foster care. I think I finally landed on why the comment bugged me so much.

Similar to ethnic, racial, a…

A Day in the Life

A real life day of a Foster Mama:Drop kids off at daycare. You don't get breakfast because the dog helped himself to your blueberry muffin.
Drive to work. Call attorney's office to check on status of home purchase. At 2 PM remember to eat lunch. Leave work at 7pm.
Run errands for the remaining Christmas shopping. Arrive home at 10pm and be met with this:

And all the kids up and not dressed for bedtime. Corral kids into pajamas. Soothe Smey's meltdown over bedtime. Turn on music, spray pillows with monster spray. Kiss everyone goodnight.
Take 10 minutes to use the bathroom. 
Wrap and organize hifts until 1:00 am.
Get up, scold dog for eating another muffin, and get everyone to daycare.
Wait for 15 minutes to have the TB test read for foster care license renewal.
Merry Christmas!

Chilling Away

Having kids with a trauma and neglect background requires some really heavy lifting on a daily basis. The kids carry the weight of their long, sad, horrific, histories around and as a foster or adoptive parent your job is to lift that burden from their shoulders and put it squarely on yours. The children test and push make sure you will stick around.  And it is exhausting at times to try and teach them the things they should have learned from the start.

They don't know touch is supposed to be comforting and loving. They didn't learn that parents will take care of them. They didn't learn to use words and reasoning to solve problems. They aren't confident food will always be available. Children with this background need you to start over and parent them as if they are infants and toddlers in the bodies of school aged kids. 
Smiley and I are currently walking this path. She's trying to push me away because she is starting to attach appropriately and that is terrifyin…

Anxiety

Forgive the stress purge I'm about to have here. This isn't a post to garner sympathy. Rather, it an honest post about the feelings and emotions I'm having. 
Several years ago I was on a medication that caused severe depression.  I began having panic attacks. My anxiety was high and I felt this sick feeling in my stomach and a tightening in my chest all the time.
These symptoms popped up again at times over the years. Like when Jelly Bean was hospitalized and then when the Fab Four went home.
I often feel the anxiety on the way to, and during, court.  I'm usually pretty good about taking the medication prescribed to me prior to times I know are going to trigger the feeling of an elephant on my chest. But this week I found my self trying to take deep breaths throughout my day as a means to feel more comfortable and it finally dawned on me that the anxiety has reached a daily level.
Some of the stress is around good things. Finding a house is awesome and I'm excited but …

Hey People- Knock It Off

The Mothers of the world have a full plate and I would appreciate it if you could cut them some slack. Quit rolling your eyes at their child's tantrum in the mall.  While its interrupting your pretzel break, she's trying to teach her child by insisting on listening to directions and following through on consequences. 
And the Mom wrangling three kids through the grocery store? It was her first attempt at it and she's going to figure it out before she goes back to work full time.
And the Mom who's kid made a poor decision and broke your stuff? She leads the charge in helping kids and families that have suffered horrendous injustices so maybe you could give her a little goodwill and not added to the battles she has fought for her kids.
And the Mom who lost her cool at daycare when she discovered one of her four cherubs lied and didn't bring work home for a 3rd day in a row- she's trying to prepare for Christmas while also buying a house, working full time, and renew…

More Stress Please

We are headed out of town this weekend for a short water park getaway. We had scheduled it thinking it would be a nice break just before Christmas as it's such a busy time.  It's my busy time at work and we want the kids to focus on family and not stuff.
This week turned our lives upside down.
We've been looking for 2 years for a house and couldn't find the size we wanted, in the area near my parents and work, for a price in our budget. We spend at least 1 1/2 hours commuting (to the same town) every day for work. I feel like I live in my car.  
This week we finally found a house that met our criteria and as of yesterday, we are under contract!
I'm excited but totally overwhelmed by all that needs to get accomplished to pack and ready our current house for rent and the new house for us. And Grad school starts back up in January and I'm still running a 1/2 marathon in Disney in February.
This will be the last calm weekend we have for a while. This is the 1st time I&#…

No Elves Here

Oh the Elf on the Shelf. I love the idea of you but in my home- it's not happening.

I put the Elf on the Shelf in the same category as the homemade heart shaped crayons for the entire class at Valentine's Day and Halloween Goodie Bags. Those things are for those other Moms who have their act together. For those parents who aren't exhausted by life. Or who don't have four children, work full time and train for a 1/2 marathon while going back to grad school.
Then there is the trauma aspect of our life. Be good or no holiday would blow up on us like pouring gasoline on a box of fireworks and lighting a match. An elf to watch out for naughtiness to tell Santa who never consistently visited my children would bring out the holiday crazy  even faster.
If you are a Mom out there who has been able to give the Elf license for creativity in your home- more power to you. I think it's fantastic you have a fun tradition with your children. (This isn't a "I am way busie…

It's Not About Me

I've been having a rough week. We all have them. It's not surprising, especially during the holidays for there to be some stress  but I had some added stressors this week and so I need to remind myself that when my kid works on something really hard and decides to wrap it up and give it to his Biological Mom, that it's not about me.
The sting I felt when he said "I made this for my Mom" was real. I'm a person. I have feelings. Last week if he had said, "I made this for my Mom" I might not have even pondered it. But as I sat waiting for the four of them to wrap up therapy, thoroughly exhausted from all that transpired this week, it hurt my feelings.
Let me be clear- I am glad my kid feels they can ask me for help with something as important as a handmade gift for their Mom. And I want to support positive feelings, interactions and memories about their Mom. (And to be fair, I got a beautiful picture drawn just for me last week when I was sick.) 
And his …

Almost A Year

We are about to hit the year mark of the Quartet being in our home.  I'm not sure where the time went.  It feels like I blinked. Last December was a blur and to be honest I don't really remember Christmas. So much happened with the other foster family and getting the kids enrolled in school and incorporating the Fab Four and Maria into our plans.

The kids don't seem to remember much of last December either but tonight I reflected a bit on how much they've grown.  How their personalities and strengths and weaknesses have emerged.

Simon wrote a comic book this week about past Christmases where he got no toys one year and "one or two" the next.  He wrote about being cold and a new house.  He's in 1st grade and the story was pretty cohesive. Somewhat melancholy but a great tool to get his thoughts and feelings out. He read it to us in a strong, clear voice! I was so proud of him.  His intelligence always knocks me over.  What kid gives up TV (which is very…