Friday, December 30, 2011

My New Year's wish

...is for Teresa at Foster Care: Our Love Story.


I want her to know that I miss her blog and hope that everything is well with her.


I wish she was still blogging.


Love and Prayers.



Friday, December 23, 2011

If you've ever thought about it...

Wednesday night while mindlessly flicking through the channels I came across "A Home for the Holidays" on CBS.  I was pleasantly surprised to see a whole program devoted to foster care and adoption on a major network.


I cried and snuggled Primo close as I watched.  I felt proud to be involved in foster care.

If you have ever thought of helping children through foster care I urge you to take the next step and look into process of becoming a foster parent.  It is easier than ever to find information thanks to the internet.

Foster care was something I thought about for years before we signed up for the training.


I truly wish that Mike and I had done our foster care training years ago.  


Foster care is not easy, this is true.  It starts with hours of training and literally inches of paper work, strangers in and out of your house and lots of time.  These are all relatively minor inconveniences as they allow you to care safely for some of the too many children in the foster care system who need safe homes and families to help them heal and grow.


I could fill this post with a long list of complaints about the foster care system, it is far from effective when it comes to serving children.  I can control almost nothing about this system with the exception of the attitude and willingness to work I bring to the system.


What I can control is the care that Primo receives in my home.  This care does not have to be perfect, it can be loving and creative. 

My home does not have to be perfect, but it must be safe and warm.  

I don't have to be perfect, but I do my best to be reliable, organized and present for Primo.

Foster care is hard work, but if you have ever thought about it or felt called to help children, take the next step. 



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

True Dat Tuesday

I took Finola and Vivienne to the dermatologist the other day.  Finola sat in the waiting room with Primo, who was sleeping in his car seat, while I went in to see the doctor with Vivienne.


When Viv and I came out of the doctor's office there was another teen girl with her Mom in the waiting room.


As soon as we were out the door of the waiting room, Finola started laughing and telling us that when the other girl and her Mom came into the waiting room she heard the girl say to her Mom, "She has a baby."  The Mom responded with: "It just breaks my heart."


Finola LOVES having these "teen Mom" moments, she thinks it is hysterical that anyone would think that she had a baby.


I always use these moments to remind myself not to judge a person or situation by appearances.  I know that most of us are just trying to make sense of the world around us and we therefore interpret and judge certain situations and our fellow human being's actions through the lenses of our own experiences, values and prejudices.


I myself have experienced so much judgement since becoming a foster parent.  This judgement happens on the way into the WIC office and on the way out of the WIC office (not at all in the WIC office),  and at the grocery store when I'm holding up the check out line using my WIC checks.


Almost every time I am out in public with Primo I get many questions about whether his is "mine" or not?  When I have my teenage daughters with me people ask if I am his grandma?  Some people are direct, others are more polite and searching with their questions, but I know what they are after, they want to know what such a pale skinned woman is doing with such a beautiful brown baby.


I have experienced judgement and questions before in my life about my own biological daughters.  Not anywhere as often as with Primo, but ridiculous comments and questions have been made and asked in public of me before.


Once I was out with Jordan, long ago, when she was a platinum blond, blue eyed toddler, and a strange man told me that Jordan could be the "poster child" for the third reich!  THAT was very uncomfortable.


Another time when I was Christmas shopping with all four girls, who were all under age eight at the time, an elderly woman stopped and asked if they were all mine?  This was a comment I received regularly, along with a "God Bless You!"  But, this elderly lady went on to add with great exclamation, "Oh, their poor father!" You can imagine how my daughters felt about that!


I'm sure I will never know why strangers feel so very free to be so inquisitive and judgmental about other people's lives?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Falling in love

That is what is happening to our whole family, we are falling more and more in love with Primo every day.


In the back of my mind I know this will make it more difficult for us when he leaves us.


Love is what every baby deserves and we are happy to oblige, even if we know Primo will leave us and will not remember our love. 


I am confident that our love for him will live on in his life whether he remembers it or not.  This love could be the foundation for all the other love in his life.  The love that unconsciously reminds him that he deserves healthy, unconditional love in his life.



Monday, December 12, 2011

Sleep: good news/bad news

The good news is that Primo has suddenly started taking real naps on a regular basis.  Gone are the days of 20-30 minute naps twice a day!  He now takes a 2 hour nap once a day and an hour nap later in the day.


The bad news is that Primo is still up three times a night.  After the initial few weeks of exhaustion I felt I had adjusted quite well to the lack of sleep.


Now I think the cumulative effects of waking up for 20-30 minutes every three hours is catching up with me.  I have had migraines for the first time in 5 years and a return of the vertigo I had 2 years ago, not fun.


The sudden change in napping habits has me hopeful that when his ready he will sleep through the night, I am hoping this happens sometime soon.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fostering infants

Mike and I chose to foster infants because we thought it would be an easy starting point for us in foster care.


We have A LOT of attitude in our house, the kind of attitude that comes from living with 3 teenage girls.  It is not just attitude, there is a lot of eye rolling, rebellion, complaining, confrontation, most of this can be the healthy behavior of future young adults who are trying to find their own way in the world, but it sure can get old fast!


Mike and I thought that fostering an infant would cut down on the chances of adding more drama to our lives, after all babies can't talk.


I thought this would be common knowledge, and I felt that I was not as much of a foster Mom as the foster Moms who take on older children and the trauma and fear these children may have in their lives.


While it is true that Primo cannot talk, it is not easy.  He is up three times a night and the sleep deprivation is not fun.  He needs 24/7 care and he is home all day every day.  He needs countless diaper changes day and night!  He does not like the hour drive to his weekly visits and there is not much I can do, while in city traffic, to calm him.  He goes to the doctor a lot, another long trip by car.


Recently while we were out to dinner for only the second time since Primo came into our care (click here to read about how hard it is to get a sitter when you are a foster parent in our area), I had the chance to talk with a few friends, one of whom is a foster mom of 6 years.


All these friends were unanimous in their feelings, they could not imagine taking on an infant at this point in their lives, but they could see themselves taking on a school aged child.  I was shocked.  I still think infants may be easier for me, but I felt a bit better that they didn't see me as taking the easy way into foster care.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Gratitude

Primo's case has taken many negative twists and turns over the past month.  In reality things are not looking good for reunification despite the Court ordering unsupervised visits (which have not happened yet).


No matter what has been going on at court or behind the scenes, as it were, with Primo's parents, they have always been respectful and friendly towards me.  They thank me after every visit for taking good care of Primo.


I pray that all three of us can continue be bound together in our love and gratitude for Primo, and continue to leave all of the crazy dysfunction of his case and the foster care system at the door of our visits.  






Saturday, December 3, 2011

My tweezers

I have a pair of dark green tweezers that I cannot, will not, and never want to find out what it is like to live without.  They quickly and easily pluck out stray eyebrow hair.  Most importantly they pull that dark wiry hair on my chin before anyone can see it and when even I can only feel it.


These tweezers are magic!  I've had them for years, I don't remember where I bought them.  They have no recognizable markings or brand name, if they ever did these have long ago worn off from weekly use.


Last night on my way out the door to a PTA meeting I looked in my mirror and reached into the top left hand drawer of my bathroom vanity for my beloved tweezers.  They were no where to be found!


I called out to the general teenaged girl population of my home, "Where are my tweezers?"


Dolly responded that she had borrowed them but had returned them a few days ago.


"Not so," I yelled, "they are not here?!"  I was growing alarmed.


"I cleaned my room, and desk and found them there and returned them to your top left drawer," Dolly called out from the hall.


Now this made me suspicious.  The floor is not visible in Dolly's room, it smells like old socks and food that is just slightly rotted.  How could she have possibly cleaned her room well enough to even find something as small as my beloved tweezers?


Dolly came in to look in my top left drawer, no tweezers.


I am late for my meeting so I ask her to please find them and put them in my top left drawer for me to find on my return later.


No tweezers are in my top left drawer when I get home.


But three teenage girls are waiting for me, they want an advance on their December allowances for Christmas shopping.  I agree, but I add that I will be subtracting $20 from Dolly's monthly wad to replace my tweezers (this is the only thing I do remember about my beloved tweezers, they cost $19.99).


Dolly is not happy, she states over and over again that she KNOWS she put them in my top left drawer.  How can I charge her for the lost tweezers?  She accuses me of losing them!


Later Dolly comes back to remind me that she has paid me for some recent Christmas presents I ordered for all three girls from ModCloth, she is returning one item worth $15, so will I please only reduce her monthly allowance by $5?


I agree, go online and it is done.  Not one minute later she walks into my bedroom with my lovely dark green tweezers, my heart skips a beat.


"Where were they?" I gasp!


"In the hall bath drawer, Vivienne found them for me!  Now can I have that extra five bucks?"



Thursday, December 1, 2011

December

Despite my best efforts to delay this day, December has arrived!


There is so much to do to get ready for Christmas and I have a couple of December birthdays to prepare for too.


This December I have the added delight of having Primo with us for Christmas.  My girls are very excited about buying him little gifts and making sure he has a stocking to hang at the fireplace.


When I think about Primo's parents being without him and his siblings this Christmas I feel the urge to alleviate some of their suffering with gifts.  But, what to give?  I tend to go over board when I know someone is in true need during the holidays.  I send anonymous Christmas cards full of grocery, mall and gas gift cards.


Every Christmas I wonder, why shouldn't I spend the same amount of  money on families in trouble or in severe need of comfort, as I spend on my own family?


I also think it would be nice for Primo to give his siblings a gift for Christmas.


I'm not sure what the etiquette for gift giving and foster care is exactly, is there such a thing?


I'm thinking I will be best off giving a small personalized gift to Primo's parents, any ideas?  And what about his siblings?