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Showing posts from November, 2015

Baby Mama Drama

Just when I'm all "openess is awesome, I can work with bio parents" reality trips me and I fall on my face. 
So Sheila failed to make the phone call we scheduled. 12 hours after the scheduled time I got a text asking if I forgot or if she was supposed to call me. 
I responded the following day that I expected her to call but if she wasn't sure she could have called anyway or texted. I reminded her the importance of consistency. 
Her response was of course to say I called last time (so of course I screwed up) and that she couldn't remember (say what?) and it's not like she doesn't call on purpose (refreshing). Oh and the gem at the end stating that she's "trying really hard to keep things good between us" (because of course I'm trying to be difficult by setting the boundaries). 
It's my own fault really. Once again I bought into the facade that she's going to do her part. 
How do you tell me you really miss your kids and you want a rel…

I Said Screw the Secret Santa

Every year my family does a Secret Santa. We usually set the limit at $20-25 and each of the adults picks another's name. We have a smallish family so we usually end up with someone we are already buying for (like my sibling) or the same person year after year. It often ends up like a gift card exchange and there have been years that people forgot who they picked and someone got left out (no fun). Since we have an ultra competitive family, a gift swap would be hazardous.
The past few years the Secret Santa felt more like a chore. And I thought maybe we could put our money to better use. I suggested we screw the Secret Santa and pick a cause! 
We decided to do a Sweet Case drive with Together We Rise, a great organization that supports kids in foster care by providing bicycles, wish lists, and trips to Disneyland. They also provide Sweet Cases, or duffle bags filled with goodies for kids in foster care so they don't have to travel with trash bags. And as a super fun element, they…

November- National Adoption Month

It's November! Which means it's National Adoption Month. The President signed a proclamation and everything. But I'm struggling with how best to honor "adoption". I'm especially struggling with the "Happy Adoption Month" sentiment.

If there is one lesson I've learned about adoption- it's that it isn't the happy greeting card commercial our society likes to view it as. And it's a deeply personal experience. What might make one person feel happy and grateful might make another experience shame and rejection.
Sure it's a good thing to give children permanency and fulfill the dreams of people who want to be parents. But there is pain and grief behind that joy. A sense of loss- of roots and connection and sameness that we all crave. Both child and parent alike. 
Adoption has come a long way from where it was - secretive, shunned, hushed, coerced. There is more openness and dialogue about the impact of adoption but we still have a lon…

My Dearest Stella

The other night we were talking about college and you were asking about schools for singing. I said "but I just got you here, I'm not going to rush you to leave for college" and you responded, "I know."

Oh I hope you do. I hope you know how much I cherish whatever years we have with you here at home because they don't seem to be enough. I feel like we were cheated. I weep for the little girl who spent so much time in an uncertain place with scary people and sub-par care. 
But I cheer for all that you have achieved inspite of those experiences. My helpful, kind girl, with an imagination and slow, sure smile. Though you be little, you are mighty.  You are brave and courageous.  You jump at the chance for new experiences and I love that about you.  I love you.

Mommy

Like a fix to an addict...

Information. Information is to a foster parent like a fix is to an addict.  They need it. they crave it. its never enough. You always want more. It makes you do crazy things.

Stalk stranger's Facebook, My Space, Instagram, Twitter.You learn the circuit clerk on-line records search, checking it multiple times a month.Comb through stacks of papers hoping something was missed in the sweep for confidentiality.Read the caseworker's notes upside down.Scribble down everything the judge says in court as if you were the court reporter.
At the most recent ACR, I was handed the kids' current case plan. I usually have to beg for these and it's usually several months after the ACR that I receive it. Normally the case plan is redacted and pages of information are missing as it deals with the "family history".  I think that kind of makes it hard to take a team approach and generally creates more issues. Personally, I don't think that everyone should get to hide behind &…

20 Thoughts I Had During the Homestudy

1) Sh*t she's early. Oh well...2) A redacted birth certificate? It's their birth certificate. They should get to know what was on it. 3) Sexual abuse history!? WTF.  4) Changed placement due to sexualized behavior? WTF. 5) No, this was their 4th placement. You are DCFS. Shouldn't you know this? 6) Need to move this information. The redacted birth certificate is making me angry.  7) Why is the mental health n/a box checked? Um they have PTSD and RAD. I think that's applicable. 8) You are missing a sibling in the listing. 9) You want me to fill out a sibling contact agreement but you won't tell me their names? But you give us their birthday? WTF? 10) Did she seriously just ask Hubby his weight?  11) "You can describe me as curvy". 12) Perfect, another maternity leave to hinder my kids' permananecy.  13) Did she really just ask me to explain the difference between foster care and adoption? 14) Do people get that wrong? 15) How do I know I'm attaching to the kids?…

20 Random Thoughts Prior to a Homestudy

1) I probably should clean the bathrooms. She might need to go if she will be here 1.5 hours x 4 kids. However long that is. I don't multiply decimals.
2) Everyone has told me that's a way overestimation. Maybe I don't really need to clean them. 3) Holy Hell, yes I do.  4) Good God children, how do you get pee under the seat? How is this possible? I don't even know how to lecture you about stopping this because I have no idea how this can happen. 5) Next week I am giving bathroom cleaning lessons and you are all going to take turns on a weekly basis. 6) Gross.  7) Still not as gross as lice. 8) Do I need to serve treats? Would baking something be too contrived? 9) Definatley. The kids would tell on me. "This is the first time Mom has made cookies in our new house! ever!" So would Hubby. 10) Why do I care? She's already been here.  11) Because it's foster care and crazy sh*t happens and how many horror stories have you heard? It's not final until the order…

Can he use your last name?

That was the gist of the email I got from Simon's teacher today. Can he use your last name? He wants to change his name tag on his desk to read his adoptive name. He told his teacher he wants it to say "new last name". 
I love that my kid has grown so much that he can articulate to others his feelings about what is important to him. 2 years ago he couldn't tell me what he wanted to eat for fear he would offend me or it would be something no one else wanted to eat. He acquiesced to everyone. And don't get me started about the way his sisters pushed him around. (This is only slightly improved. He's still incredibly patient with his sisters- way more than me.)
So for him to ask to have the name he feels is his- is HUGE. 
My response was - if he feels this way, we should listen to him. Change it in the yearbook too. 
He has claimed our family as his own. He is demanding to be included in it. Court delays be damned. Legalities don't matter to him. In his heart he …

Am I Really?

I had Sarah's 504 plan meeting last week. It was the annual meeting to qualify her for classroom supports based on her PTSD diagnosis since it had affected her in class. (Which Caseworker #4 actually said he was "surprised it was necessary for her to have a 504 plan"....let me clue you in- don't say sh*t like that.)
Her amazing therapist came and reminded everyone just how far my kid had come. Somewhere along the way I missed actually hearing her diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder but it's in a report somewhere. While she has basically fallen off that spectrum (not exhibiting signs) her therapist reminded us that we must keep working with her as if she still had RAD as to not backslide in our progress.
When the meeting concluded the very well meaning staff applauded our family for being a foster family and adopting. It was the usual - you are amazing/the kids are so lucky.
And as I got in the car I thought, am I that amazing?  I was 5 minutes late to the meet…

Foster Care Land

I've had foster care on the brain the better part of this week. I know, I know- "well duh!? You ARE a foster mom." 
Some days that fact barely registers. With no visits I can sometimes get away with "forgetting" that we are in this weird limbo place where we are a family but not quite legally. We handle school, work, dinner, and bedtime. Rinse. Repeat. At least on days where trauma doesn't rear its ugly head....
I've missed the Fab Four tremendously this week. I found out that Solana's (baby sister) bio dad accepted a plea deal and got out jail. So I'm wondering about the case plan and visits. Sheila texted me and I read another book by Ashley Rhodes-Courter, Three More Words. It's the sequel to her memoir about growing up in foster care. In this book, she shares her experience as a foster parent navigating the system and also incorporating her biological family into her life. 
I feel so helpless to help the other 400,000 kids in foster care. W…