After the last 48/72 hours (my brain is fried and I have completely lost my ability to do math, which was pretty shakey before...) I feel like I officially earned my Foster Mom stripes. I got the call about 11:30am Thursday that she was coming that afternoon. I was a ball of nerves. My Mom dissolved into tears. Hubby had already made plans for that evening and since we were about to take on a 5th child I told him not to cancel.
And it was Caseworker #4 who was handling all this, not #3 as I stated in my last post. So Caseworker #4 called and was like "So can you take her today? Foster Mom is not happy and I'm heading over there to remove her now."
He had paperwork to do and they had at least a 45 minute drive so I told him just to call when he was like 30 minutes away and I would leave work. At about 2 pm he said he would be at the house about 4:30pm.
Somehow I managed to finish a large chunk of my work. I had purposely worn a "career" outfit to help me feel like less of a basket case. I knew that I would have to find daycare but left that task to Friday so that I could focus and then planned to work from home the next day.
I left at 4pm and picked up the kids who were all- why are we getting picked up so early? I got them into the car and told them the news and they cheered and jumped up and down making the mini van look like it had hydrolics. We drove home to meet my Mom and then about 15 minutes later Caseworker #4 and Solana arrived.
I handled the paperwork with CW #4 while Grandma and the kids played with the baby who did not fuss once. #4 shared a little more info on the case including Sheila's admission to using marijuana "once" while pregnant. He shared that the Foster Mom had really been attached to Solana and that the relationship with Sheila soured and the incident that made her call to threaten to have her moved wasn't even about the baby. Apparently the Department met Friday morning and made a staffing decision that she was to come here and when he called her back she tried to withdrawal the notice. That of course does not fly with the Department when they have a sibling home lined up. So they told her no, she gave her notice and she hung up the phone on them. They got no info from her about Solana's schedule and she came with only a small bag with some summer outfits and 2 fall outfits. I did get a bag with a can of formula, a bottle, some diapers and wipes, and a blanket. We also can use the car seat until we get our own.
We finished up the paperwork and then I left to do a Target run and grab dinner for the kids. My Mom had gone earlier and gotten some Dreft, wipes, baby shampoo and lotion, and diaper cream plus some clothes. We had been told she was 4 months so she bought 3-6 outfits. However, my little Solana is a porker and the 6 month clothes were too snug so most of that stuff had to go back.
I didn't want to buy too much at Target because my sister in laws were already on top of hooking us up. My one sister works for a major retailer and her friend is the buyer for the baby department. So she mentioned she was getting her 5th foster niece and the woman just started throwing stuff in a box. The box was coming after I went to Target but we ended up getting crib sheets, blankets, bottles, rattles, onesies, toys, pacifiers, a shopping cart cover, booties, and a nice diaper bag. It's probably the closest thing we will ever get to a baby shower! My other sister in law who is a pediatric NICU nurse and has a 1 year old and another due this spring gave me a list of essentials and told me we could have the Rock N Play and Jumparoo and that she would pull some clothes too. She also texted me periodically to check up on us as she works 3rd shift. We went last night to pick that stuff up and we actually had to go back through the clothes because most won't fit Solana, who weighs almost the same as my nearly 1 1/2 year old niece! In fact, I picked her up and she felt lighter! (It was comical because her pregnancy brain and my sleep deprived one could not keep the keep or put back piles straight!)
By the time I got to Target, I was shaking from the emotions. I was feeling very overwhelmed because- you know, I know NOTHING about babies. It finally hit me that we became a family of 7 and I was feeling sad for my new kiddo who was caught in the pettiness between "adults" which I have no patience for. Oh and I was hungry.
At Target they had a few Pack and Plays and I picked the standard/middle option. It doesn't play music or vibrate but it did have a bassinet/changing table. I also grabbed some swaddler blankets, pacifier clips, wipes and diapers. And by some miracle also remembered that we needed cereal. I had a 20% off coupon but it did not start until the next day so when I got to the register I asked if they would do the price adjustment if I came back with my receipt after explaining why I couldn't wait to get the crib tomorrow and the manager took pity on my frazzled state and gave the 20% to me early. I picked up food for the kids and by the time I got back my sister in law was arriving with the box of awesome. She helped me put the pack and play together and I got the baby laundry started.
Friday was kind of a blur. She woke up at 5:30 am and decided she did not want to go back to sleep so we got up and I started working. I managed to get a lot of stuff done and my boss emailed me about how the baby was doing, twice! I am feeling very blessed for the flexibility I have. I sourced a bouncer chair and a nice changing table from the local Facebook Garage sale website and was able to pick that up Friday. My Grandma had stopped by and since Solana fell asleep in her lap I was able to go pick those up and grab the kids while she watched her. We hung out as a family Friday night and then I went to take a little cat nap in anticipation of being up all night.
Hubby came up to our room with her to make sure he changed her diaper correctly and he was singing this ridiculous song about "Daddy's little turkey" and in that moment I fell in love with him all over again. He worked 7 days this week so when he offered to get up with her, I told him to sleep. She and I actually slept in the living room last night but she slept for 6 hours so that may not be necessary tonight.
We will get an equipment reimbursement but only from Burlington Coat Factory. I ventured out there yesterday with the girls while Simon was at a birthday party and their selection was lackluster. But we were able to get a Boopy pillow, a changing pad, a bather chair, and a stroller and car seat system. I'm going to see if the other store nearby has a better selection. It's just hard to do that with kids in tow.
I will say this, my kids have been awesome. And my ability to be patient has grown overnight. I'm giving them a little extra space for feelings and I've been very calm and so far we are handling this pretty well. Sarah is especially attentive of her sister and had opted to play with her when she had the choice to do something else. Simon seems the most standoffish but he also is coming down with a cold so it could just be that. Stella has not turned into the little mother and that has been awesome and little miss Smiley has been excited to hold her and was trying to get me to buy out the baby clothes section at the store "Mom! I have to show you this! This is so cute!". If anything, the jealousy has come from the dog who is not impressed by the baby in his room.
Thank you all for your kind words, support, advice and prayers. Keep it coming, please! Because this is, of course, foster care. I have yet to hear from Sheila who I'm sure is not pleased that Solana is here. CW#4 said he told her she was being moved but he didn't think she heard him say that it was to our house. I then had to explain to him that I'm sure she heard you. That's an act she does when she doesn't want to believe something. She pulled the same thing when they told her she wasn't making progress and then walked out of the meeting. He looked flabbergasted. I do believe he wants Solana here forever. He did tell me that he pushed back some on the legal screening and because her Bio Dad has never had any involvement with the Department, they have to give him a chance. So far both parents are in compliance with their case but its really early yet.
And then there are the questions from the kids that only foster mothers get asked.
"Mom? If my Mom couldn't take care of all of us then why did she choose to have another baby?" Stella wanted to know at lunch.
I told her that was a good question and one that I'm sure a lot of people have asked and one I don't have an answer for.