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Friday, February 26, 2016

Update

It's been a while since I wrote a post. I've been wrestling with emotions and am officially exhausted. I may have underestimated the toll mothering was taking on me. School and work haven't slowed and Solana is still not sleeping through the night consistently. I'm not sure it matters if it's 1 child or 5, I'm just plain worn out. 

The adoption is delayed because it seems the Department does not actually want kids to get out of the system with the proper supports and so we are fighting about therapy with the current therapist being included in the subsidy. The last meeting with the CASA and Caseworker #4 resulted in a pretty feisty Foster Mom R explaining that I don't want anyone to take the blame as CW#4 offered, I just want someone to take ownership and stop passing the buck. I'm done being nice or patient. I will get unpleasant if I have to. Which may be why no one wants to return my phone calls. 

Our last meeting with CW#4 revealed that Sheila is once again blaming The Department for her voluntary surrender of her kids. Apparently, she has managed to forget that she had the court cancel the TPR trial because she decided to sign the surrender (and then delayed it because Simon & Sarah's Bio Dad no showed). She's filed a complaint against CW#4 (I'm not sure what about.) I anticipate some drama headed our way. CW#4 also mentioned that he felt Solana's Bio Dad would be more likely to sign a surrender than Sheila. 

We continue to really try to build a relationship with him. We email a few times a week and he asks for pictures of not just Solana but also pictures with her siblings. So I've been sending him cute moments and videos of her crawling.

If you had told me 5 years ago that I would be emailing and voluntarily sending pictures to multiple bio parents, I would have told you, you were crazy. But that's what's best for the kids. And it's such an easy thing to give. It costs nothing, and it goes such a long way! 


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

This Mom

Throughout the past five years I've always talked about myself in the context of "this Mom". This Mom will always come get you. This Mom will make sure you eat dinner every night. This Mom means what she says.

Recently, in family therapy we went over some adoption books and discussed how we will refer to Sheila when talking about her. Our amazing therapist asked them how they know "this Mom" cares about them and loves them.

Smiley: She is kind.
Simon: She makes us dinner. She gives us hugs.
Stella: She tries really hard.
Sarah: She never gives up.

I had tears in my eyes. My whole life I have wanted to be a Mom and the kind of Mom that sets an example for their kids. Their answers gave me confirmation that I'm accomplishing this. My kids see me setting an example of the types of lessons I want them to learn.

I want them to be kind. I want them to be good citizens of their communities. I want them to be affectionate. I want them to believe that they can overcome the crap hand they were dealt at the beginning of their lives to accomplish their dreams by putting forth the effort and keeping at them. 

I mark it a win. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

In It For The Money

For whatever reason this concept of foster parenting for profit was on my mind tonight. I've never actually done the math to figure out how much "I make" as a foster parent. So I thought I'd calculate and share.

When the baby came to live with us we got an increase. Interestingly, infants have the smallest stipend as Illinois' rates are based on age. Our check for December was $2,225 for the 5 kids.

That equals about $72/day
$72/24 hours = $2.99/hour
$2.99/5 children=$0.60 an hour per child (rounded)

Our adoption attorney told us we probably could have qualified for a specialized (higher) rate for the kids when we were at the height of our issues (and certainly when the Fab Four lived with us).  I didn't even know such a thing existed. She told us it wasn't likely we would qualify now and it would delay the adoption considerably. So PSA - check and see if you have this available to you.

As I mentioned on Facebook the adoption has been delayed (surprise).  Not for any reason other than the one we had went on maternity leave and apparently the centralization of the adoption unit isn't working.  We have a new adoption worker whom I have no last name or contact information for. DCFS is going to have a hard time explaining the delay to the judge at this month's permanency hearing.

I would say it doesn't matter all that much because we are now back on the rollercoaster but I am hoping to take FMLA for 12 weeks over the summer after the adoption and it makes it harder to plan if the adoption doesn't seem to be in sight.  And I really, really need a break.  (Not that being home all summer with the kids is a break, but some time to play is desperately needed.)