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Well Hello There Trauma

So just before school began, I started to write a blog post that started like this:
Well, well, well. Trauma-related behavior, so nice of you to stop by just before school starts. You've been gone so long, I *almost* forgot what you looked like. But I suppose it is mid-August and nearly September so that means it's time for Sarah to freak out. It could also be the fall out from visits with Birth Mom, Big Brother, and a Random Text from Birth Dad.

We've had a few raging tantrums but Friday both Sarah and Smiley had major issues. The was preceded by Simon also really struggling the day before. 

And that is as far as I got.  I had planned to go into detail about the tantrums, attitude, ripping of paper, pushing of tables, throwing of pillows, screeching, and slamming of feet/doors/hands during this epic day of rage but that didn't happen.  And what I really wanted to share was the verbal grenade of "You're not my Mom!" coming at me and the strange "earni…

I Should Have Shut My Mouth

So as I was typing: "So far the summer has been fairly quiet in terms of trauma related issues, and foster care." I actually thought to myself, don't type that. The moment you type that, the Universe is going to send some your way. And sure enough, it did. Ugh.
Shortly after I wrote the July update post, I found out that the kids' older brother was coming to visit Shiela. The kids hadn't seen him in at least 5 years. They literally got on a bus and never saw him again. Smiley was around the age of 3. Simon, who was the only one that had lived with his brothers was 4. He remembers his brothers and has talked the most about missing them in the past. When Solana was returning home, this was a big part of the grief and fear he felt. 

About a week after I found out Big Brother was coming to visit, Sheila sent me a message and asked if we could have a visit with Big Brother and the kids. 

Since we had been helping Solana's Dad "SD" out with childcare, I offe…

July!

Welcome July! We've been busy over here at Foster Mom R's house. Mainly because everyone's favorite 2 year old has been with us for the past 4 weeks. Solana's Dad has been working 2 jobs and we've been helping with child care. He'd rather her stay with us and spend time with her siblings instead of at a babysitter while he works a crazy schedule.  He has come to visit her at our house and we went on vacation with him over Father's Day weekend. He also spent 4th of July with us, staying at our house for a few nights. (It's a 90 minute drive home from our house.)

We have been grateful for this time. Solana is learning and growing each day and she is just hilarious!  She's also fairly stubborn so that makes for some interesting battle of the wills. I have more than a decade of negotiating contracts under my belt but I have zero ability to negotiate with her. There was one day that she just absolutely lost her mind because I took the empty banana peel …

Case Closed

Solona's last court Date was the first time I had ever walked into court and not felt anxiety. I used to have to take anti-anxiety mess to drive to court for The Fab Four and my Forever kids. I'd literally be on the verge of a panic attack the entire drive ( 1 1/2). I haven't had that happen for Solana's court days except for maybe the 1st one.

The case was called as I was parking. I walked I to the court room to find Sheila and Dad sitting in the gallery and Solana running laps around the benches, barefoot. The Judge and attorneys busy shuffling papers. Then the Judge made a comment that we should let her keep running around the courtroom because then she would nap later.

After about 10 minutes Caseworker #4 and the attorneys came back and said an agreement had been reached, the order was entered and the case was closed. The Judge had the court reporter record everyone present, asked that the record reflect Solana was running laps, and that she never had to come back…

Semaj Crosby

Illinois has been in the news recently for the death of a child who was seen by an investigator just hours before she was reported missing and then found dead underneath a couch in the home where she was living.  Semaj Crosby was just 17 months old. The house was condemned by the county the next day and a few days later is was burned to the ground. Investigative reports have shown severe failings by the agency and some pretty horrific details are emerging about how DCFS is operating. That includes this gem about a contest for investigators who closed the most cases in a month. There were also at least 10 abuse/neglect cases against the family and they were allegedly receiving what is referred to as "in-tact" services.  That is where DCFS is supposed to be supporting the family with services such as parenting classes, counseling, and social services without removing the children.

While I'm glad there is a spotlight on this major tragedy, I'm worried about the inevita…

I Apologize for Disappearing

I'm sorry everyone for disappearing. It's been a long time since I've posted.  I'm still here. I've posted a few things on Facebook but that isn't really blogging.

I started posts (I have 3 drafts in my saved files) but "The Universe" has been busy reminding me that I am not actually superwoman and so said posts did not get finished or published. And to be honest, (that's why you read my blog, right? For the honesty?), I just didn't feel like sharing all the crappy things I was feeling.

I often use this blog to process and work through my feelings but my feelings were SO BIG and I was SO STUCK that I just couldn't write. Or think. And I really, really didn't have time to do either. And I REALLY didn't want to think about foster care. Or trauma. It was all I could do to keep it together so that my kids did not freak out, and so that my marriage did not implode on me.

Do you have those days? Weeks? Months? Where you feel like you ar…

A Letter to Gabby, On Your Birthday

Dear Gabby,

This week marks your 16th birthday.  The enthusiasm and zeal for life that you have is just as strong as it was when I met you six years ago. The 9 year old that came into my life demanding to know if I knew the song "I Will Survive" is still there and it warms my heart.

I appreciate that you make the effort to continue to include me in your life.  You've always been special that way.  I'm enjoying watching you become an independent young woman and I can't wait to see what you accomplish as you become an adult.  A few weeks ago you included me in your choir concert where you sang the first part of "Tears in Heaven" as a solo. I cried in the audience. We've always bonded over music and I remember hearing this song shortly after you moved home to your Mom and feeling a new connection to the pain of the song.  I feel blessed that I didn't loose you, but I do understand the pain of wondering what it would be like to come across your chi…

Success

I ordered my cap and gown last week.  I can't even begin to tell you how amazing it felt.  I got a little teary about it. I am almost done. The late nights and weekends writing, reading, and watching lectures are almost done. I have 1 more month of real work and then a month later, my graduation ceremony.

Pretty often in my life people have told me aim lower in my goals. They were afraid that missing the mark, would mean heartbreak for me.  And I have. I have missed the mark a few times. I've failed spectacularly! But I like to think those failures have allowed me to accomplish so many other things.
15 years ago I failed at being able to apply for medical school. Then I failed at applying to law school.  The two failures were related, my GPA was so low from the Organic Chemistry, and Math I bombed that even though I did decent on the LSAT I was rejected from all 7 law schools I applied to. 
In a few months, I will graduate with a masters degree from one of those law schools. …

Guardianship

It was 11:45pm. All the kids were asleep. Hubby was out with friends. My phone rang and showed it was Solana's Dad calling. I thought maybe he accidentally dialed. I answered yellow and on the other end was shouting, crying, panic. I thought he was being raided by immigration. I've been really fearful of that lately.

"Foster Mom R! Something is really wrong with me. I feel like I'm dying. Please! You have to take care of Solana. Please. Please promise me you will always take care of her and tell her how much I love her and that I'm sorry I couldn't always be there. I need to know she will be okay."

So of course I'm trying to figure out what the Hell is happening while also trying to get him to take breath and calm down. I managed to determine he had called a friend who was on the way and he wasn't having a seizure. It was 3 minutes of fear and promising I would take care of her and tell her that he loved her. A woman picked up the phone and told …

Returned Home

Monday was hard. Probably the hardest Monday I've ever had. Like ever. In my life.  I was trying to remember the last time I felt so emotionally drained and I can only come up with the night my Grandmother passed away and I spent all night awake, sobbing.  Which was pretty much what I did after Solana left with Caseworker #4. 
We played and snuggled in the 30 minutes we had between the Licensing Worker and CW#4 showing up. I wrapped her in her blanket whispered I love you and I'll see you Friday and handed her over.  I sobbed behind the window as I watched the car pull away. 
I sent Hubby a text that she was gone and then I called my Mom.  She offered to bring me lunch and said she'd be over in a few hours.  I tried to get some work done and when I couldn't see through the tears decided a cat nap was necessary. I ended up asleep by 9PM, after video chatting with the dancing queen.
Here we are almost at Friday and I have to say I'm fine. Re-charged even.  I woke up…

The Last Night

I didn't hurry home. I had gone to a wake with my Mom and Grandpa and we met my Dad for dinner afterwards. It was a local place from my childhood and I was safely ensconced in the people on this planet who have loved me the longest. We sat and talked about a lot of nothing. My Mom's new obsession with LuLaRoe, bowling with Simon, what we will do for the Super Bowl next weekend. My Dad drove me back to their house to get my car and we talked about vacation plans for this summer. It was mundane. It was normal. It was avoidance.
I arrived home to find that Solana was asleep already. Even though I was avoiding it, I was instantly sad. Hubby said she had just gone down and was probably still up but when I knelt beside her crib, she was sound asleep. I missed rocking her to sleep on the last night she was "ours". 
I spent a few minutes there on the floor, next to her crib, silently crying. I can't explain why this seems so incredibly sad. She'll be back this weeke…

When the Doorbell Rings

Just when I think I'm going to run out of stuff to Blog about, the Universe comes in and goes "NOPE".

I'm sorry to bum everyone out with my grief posts. It's the way I process all of the feelings so that I can go back to my every day responsibilities of mothering my family.  I purge it here and then I can muster up the composure for my kids.... who seem to be doing okay by the way.  When I mentioned the new schedule will be pretty close to how it will be after Solana officially leaves Sarah responded "oh, well then I don't care that she is moving because this is fine." She clarified that she does care, but it's not this big thing that they were worried about and that she would disappear from our lives like her other family. Solana left for her visit earlier this week and for the 3rd time when the doorbell rang she immediately started to cry, and we weren't even one the 1st floor of the house with our coat on waiting. It was heartbreaking.

I…

January 1, 2017 - A Letter to Solana

Dear Solana,

Today you and I had time just by ourselves.  Just you and I.  Its such a rare occurrence given that I'm the Mom in a house with 5 kids, a Dad and a dog. This was more than our 15 minutes alone in the car together where you either fall asleep or scream your head off.  We played. We ate lunch together. We snuggled. And I got to whisper to you "I love you" over and over again. I told you how smart you are. I told you that I was proud to be your "Mama" and you pointed to me and repeated "Mama" and then I said "Solana" and you pointed to yourself. And then you gave me a kiss and squealed in delight. And inhaled your sent, the baby detergent and the fine curls on your neck and I tried to burn the memory of how you felt in my arms deep into my brain.

This New Years Day marks time for us.  Time that will fly by. A blip in your life, really, but likely a turning point in mine. In 30 days you will officially cease to be my responsibility…