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Showing posts from August, 2015

Tears, tears, and more Tears

Buy stock in Kleenex people....our household is using it up. Partly because the kids are all out of sorts and partly because despite my tutorials on how to blow your nose more than once per tissue, it has fallen on deaf ears....
I can't figure out if it's the start of the school year, the one month mark of saying goodbye to their bio parents or something else.
But the crying about everything is getting old...fast.
Did you do your homework?
Tears.
Did you feed the dog?
Tears.
Why is the backpack on the floor?
Tears.
What shoes do you have on? 
Tears.
Oh.my.word.
A reader on Facebook asked how the kids were adjusting. 
I think ok- except the tears. Could be that they are letting some of the walls come down and they are letting us in more. I know the therapists would tell us tears are a sign of attachment. 
But it sucks. 
Everyone seems to like their teachers. The school social worker has been in touch about Sarah's 504 Plan. We've hit curriculum night for the 3rd and 5th grader and nex…

Holy Meltdown Batman!

We came home from curriculum night to a Sarah who could not stop crying. And of course now we were armed with the information that she has a spelling test tomorrow and she has to read 15 minutes everyday and have her assignment book signed.
Bad combination.
The tears were quick. The snot was spraying. Even grandma when trying to say goodbye managed to make her melt down further. (And I'm over here trying eat my salad and through bites of spinach I'm calmly like- she thinks you are making fun of her when the crying got louder and my Mom's face turned worried.)
Hubby was trying to help her but she just kept crying harder but kept trying to do the work. So I called a time out to try and do guided deep breathing with her.
FAIL- because apparently when I say close your eyes and relax your face that means blink your eyes exaggeratedly and scrunch your face. And when I say deep breath in and blow out that means hyper ventilate- but whatevs.
By some miracle I managed to stay calm and k…

Fictive Kin

Illinois recently passed some legislation that makes expands the definition of "fictive kin". Fictive Kin allows people who are close to a family but not related by blood or marriage to be considered a placement and adoption resource for kids who come into care. A non-relative God-Parent or step-parent are examples of fictive kin. 
The baby sister, Solana, is placed with a friend Sheila named as a "God parent" and is considered fictive kin. She isn't a licensed foster parent but she is in her 40s and has biological children of her own. I have no idea how they met but I looked up an address for her name and she lives very close to Sheila. (And the Alcoholics Anonymous building is at the intersection. You'd think it would be easy for Sheila to get there...)
The legislation also expanded the definition to include adoptive families of siblings. In fact, because siblings are higher in the pecking order we would have standing to adopt before biological family would…

Name Update

I sound like a gosh darn owl.  I'm asking "who" said this, "who" did what? All.the.time.

Who, who, who.

I don't know a (fill in the original name here).

We keep checking with the kids. They keep telling us there are excited for their new names.  Its just hard to remember. 

Its especially hard to use their new names when speaking about past events.

We will get there. 

Stella and I had a long talk about being able to tell me its sometimes hard for her to remember her name.  She was afraid I would be upset.  I reminded her I understood, I changed my name when I got married.  I had been Foster Mom R Maiden Name for 25 years. 

Then I shared the story about Hubby sending me a postcard from Europe to my Maiden name a few years after we were married.  And Grandma having my Momagenda personalized with my old initials.  The lesson being that name is always apart of us.  We just need to make space for the new one too.

The school was great.  They added their new …

Open Bed

When we moved, our license was upped to 5 beds for children 0-18. We didn't ask for this. The licensing worker did it because of the baby and because we have the space but we had asked her not to. 
I decided to leave it because secretly I had hoped that the baby would come to live with us. Since that isn't the case, we have 1 open bed which means we are still getting placement calls. Right now the calls are coming to our home phone. Since we are rarely home, the calls are mostly messages asking us to call them back. I simply delete them. We haven't had any that we would be willing to take due to age and also we have our hands pretty full. 
Tonight I knew there was a message waiting for us when we got home as a plea had been posted in the county foster parent Facebook page.
A 3 year old Romanian girl who need a place until her Dad was able to get here tomorrow from out of state. She doesn't speak English and she needed a place until Monday in case the Dad didn't get he…

Lies! All lies!

Oh my Sarah. So she has not been dry. She's been lying and stuffing the wet and dry pull ups in places they aren't supposed to be....still. Closets, under the bed, under her pillow. 
So very, very frustrating for a ton of reasons. 1) I was wrong. The wetting didn't just stop with the goal change. But she was feeling disconnected to me this week and verbalized this, appropriately, so I should have been wiser. 2) Soo tired of washing pee sheets. Sarah, Simon, and Smiley all had wetting accidents this week.  3) the lying. I ask her every morning were you dry? And she responds yes and I praise. Then she hides these things even though we've talked, at length, that they must be placed in a bag and thrown out, outside. And she must tell me so I can watch. 
I have zilch tolerance for lying. From anyone. 
So back to checking daily.

Dear Foster/Adoptive Mom on the First Day Of School

This post is for you. This post doesn't talk about your children as babies or birthing them. The reminiscing of pregnancy will not be found in this post because I know for many of you, you didn't experience that. You've probably never seen a picture of your child before they came to live with you and if you have, it's probably not a baby picture or one that you would display because, when you look at it, you see a child who is scared and sad. It was likely swiped from a Facebook page of someone you've never met and is a window into atrocities that should never happen to any child, anywhere. There is no letter to my child's best friend Lambie or back-up Lambie because my child came with all his worldly possessions in a trash bag.
As back to school time rolls around so does the reminder of how much you've missed out on in your child's life. This might be the 1st time you are enrolling a child in school or it might be your child's 6th school in four yea…

Bed Wetting

All of my kids came potty trained.  All 8 of them.  However, we've had our fair share of bed wetting. Bed wetting can be perfectly normal.  Some kids don't stop wetting until after age 9.  (9 is when urologists start running tests to rule out issues.) I have family members who wet until 11.

But where trauma is concerned it can often be situational and correlate with anxiety, stress and visits. (And I don't care how good of a parent you think you are, your kid will pee on the floor at some point right while you watch.)

Sarah has struggled on and off with wetting since I've known her. It was something she worked on with the previous foster family and she was mostly dry.  She wet on and off when she came here and then when her bio parents were really inconsistent and contact was more frequent we had a lot of wetting. She never saw the relationship between the wetting and the phone calls or visits but I sure did.

Then we moved and we were mostly dry again, unless there w…

New Names

As I mentioned on Facebook, we shared with the kids their new names on Sunday.   On the advice of the therapy team, we waited until the goal changed to adoption to start this piece of the attachment work.

Yes. Attachment work. My kids need to be claimed as my own. They need to know that I am going to call them mine and make them a part of me. Bestowing names on them does not try to erase their previous existence. I'm not trying to hide their origins. I'm trying to incorporate them into my family, forever.
Will you change their names? Is a question foster/adoptive parents get a lot. As their legal parent I get to name them the same as I would have if they were birthed by my and we were filling out the birth certificate for the first time.  A lot of people have tried to tell me that changing their name isn't fair to them, its their name. Sure. But a lot of their lives hasn't been fair to them. By that same logic they should have stayed in the unsafe situation they were …

Why I Said Yes To The Free School Supplies

As back to school time has snuck up on us, I've seen a lot of articles and posts on social media about school supplies. Last year school supplies were a GIANT hassle. I let Sheila buy part of the list and the whole process became way more work - as she sent the supplies at the last minute but didn't indicate who they were for so I spent 2 hours trying to figure out what was missing. She said so it was even but she bought 80% of Stella's list.....

For the Fab Four I had the opportunity to utilize the pre-pay service where they package everything for you and you pick up the supplies the week before school. It was lovely. When those notes came home this year it was going to be $350 and I was like- Peace Out. I'll take myself to Costco and buy in bulk. Or dig through my stock pile of extra school supplies to see what we already had on-hand as this year I made the kids go through their supplies and see what was re-usable. (No one needs a new pair of scissors every year...I…

It Was

"It was good to see her today". -Simon. Read that as if was someone telling their spouse "It was good seeing my college roommate for coffee today". Definitely not said like a kid who was just ending three years of foster care visits.

Thank You

I wanted to take a moment and say thank you. More than 630 posts and nearly 77,000 page views later people are still reading. 5 years is a long time to blog. So thank you for reading, praying, and sticking with us as we walked this journey. I think I have more lurkers than followers with those numbers - so you out there that I can't see- thanks so much too! I appreciate that you care enough to read and if you are like me, you've come to care about us. Thank you for that, we appreciate it.
I hope I can give back to all of you by sharing our journey and answering questions. I've added Facebook and Twitter (@FosterMomR) to hopefully add value and connect with dialogue and feedback.
Any burning questions or things you've always wanted to know about our family? 
A situation you want help from readers with?
Leave a comment and let's continue to support each other.

Anatomy of Termination

I'm not sure where to begin. We arrived in court with my Mom in tow. We were told Bio Dad wasn't coming and that Sheila was still saying she would sign the surrender. She found us in the hallway and invited us to sit with her and the caseworker. 
She said she was really glad we came. We were finally called in 2 hours 20 minutes after the call time. The special prosecutor looked nervous and like she had no clue about what was going on. The attorney for DCFS was super annoyed with her and kept correcting her and the GAL for CASA was basically mite until the last few minutes in the court room.
While we were waiting for the judge to get to everything, Sheila started to cry as she had just finished signing the surrender. I couldn't help myself. I reached my arm around her to comfort her. The words "you have to treat her like one of the kids in your home" echoing in my head. It was really, really sad.
The judge called her to the front and made sure 8 different ways that s…

Crickets

Sheila texted me both on Saturday and Sunday. I ignored Saturday's text wondering how we were. Sunday she wanted to know if we were going to court. I told her we hadn't decided, she then texted back she intends to sign even if bio Dad isn't there. 
I ignored it. It's bait. She wants to engage and feel better and it's petty- but I want no part of that. I'm still angry. I don't want her to sign. I want them to TPR and save this baby from a life of trauma. She's already posting stuff about how she is going to do everything she needs because she is all this baby has.
Yeah, I've heard that before. You scroll down on Facebook far enough and you'll find that about her other 4 kids. But let's also not forget the other 2 she has abandoned. And it twists my stomach and it makes me want to call the other foster Mom and warn her not to get sucked in. I'm pretty sure she is sending her pictures of the baby and it really annoys me.
It has no right to. I …