Tuesday, January 31, 2012

True Dat Tuesday

It's going to be one of THOSE days.

I've already had my first shot of Pepto and it is only 10:00 AM!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Anonymity

I was just reading this post by Alison.  She reminded me that nobody I know reads my blog, no one I know even knows I have a blog.  I try really hard to make sure no one knows who I am.

But the fact remains that if someone I know reads this blog they might guess who I am.

What Alison's kind words really reminded me of was the sad fact that even though nobody who knows me knows about my blog, I still have a very hard time being completely honest about what is going on in my foster care life.  I am completely paranoid of being found out.

It makes me sad to think that I am not really any closer to find my voice than when I started this blog last summer.

I feel that I have grown and expanded in so many amazing ways through foster care, but I still cannot bring myself to give too much of myself to this blog.

With every post I feel exposed, but at the same time I hold back so much from the fear I have.

The thought of Primo's social worker, DHS worker, or bio parents finding out that I am writing this blog completely freaks me out.

I am not sure how to go on with this blog?  How personal can I get with it?  I'm having trouble walking this fine line.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Some things I've learned from foster care blogs...

# Nothing good happens in a timely fashion


$ Foster parents may be torn between wanting their children to stay with them forever while at the same time hoping and praying their children's bio parents get their act together and bring their children home


% Most people in the system are not punctual


@ It may be very difficult to tell which of the many people working on your child's case are working in the best interest of your child

   
* Children's time in care can drag on for years

! Blogging helps relieve the stress and provides an outlet for the many emotions brought on by working in foster care
 
These bullet points #$%@*! sum up the week I'm having


Monday, January 23, 2012

Respite Care

As I look ahead to our spring break plans I've had to start considering respite care for Primo. 

Every molecule of my being is rebelling against leaving Primo in respite care.

Mike and I started out doing respite care, the good experiences we had with respite led us to doing foster care full time.  Respite care is so valuable to foster parents and their children.  I have always sung the praises of those who do respite care.

The problem I have with Primo going to respite care is that he feels like part of our family (we were instructed in training to treat foster children like one of the family), I would never have sent one of my daughters to a baby-sitter while the rest of the family went on vacation.

I know Primo's situation is different from my daughter's, he has parents and siblings who don't want to miss their weekly visits with him.  And to be honest I don't relish the thought of flying with an infant.

Another part of the equation is that the two foster families I know who do respite and I feel comfortable leaving him with are unavailable for the dates we need.

Even if one of these families were available, from Primo's perspective it would still amount to spending a week with strangers.

This may be one of those foster care things I'm going to have to get used to.

For the record I just don't like the idea!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Gray Hair

I have more gray hair now than I did before I started doing foster care.

Not because of the stress.

Because I have no time to pluck out the grays with my favorite tweezers.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Training

Mike and I are quickly approaching our one year anniversary of working with our foster care agency.  Our agency requires 16 hours of training a year.


To date I have read 3/4 of one book on foster care.  This is 100% more training than Mike has done. It is hard to find time for training when you are actively involved in foster care.  Specifically because of how hard it is to find a baby-sitter

In fact after E left, and it seemed like we would never have another child come to our home, I finally signed up for some training sessions. Truthfully, I figured signing up for over 10 hours of training in the upcoming month was a sure way to guarantee that we would receive a placement!  You know? the best laid plans and all that...


For training Mike and I may attend the monthly training sessions that our agency provides for free, read a book or two, and use a new website that has foster care training sessions online that our agency accepts.  I wonder if I could do all of the training online?

It's time to hit the training hard.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

True Dat Tuesday

I don't like visit days.  

I don't like the way I stress over packing the diaper bag.

I don't like the way I obsess over choosing my and Primo's outfit for the visit.

I don't like the long drive in city traffic.  

I don't like the 15 minute search for street parking in my large SUV.


I don't like the 4 hours and 15 minutes away from my family over dinner and homework time.

BUT...


I do like that Primo's parents love him and have only missed one visit.


I do like Primo spending time with his siblings.






Saturday, January 14, 2012

"He could just stay here forever"

These are the words that have been echoing around our home lately.


Dolly said them to me last week and then Vivienne said almost the same words yesterday.


Mike and I agreed that after having become pre-adoptive for E, and having him leave we would not talk about adopting any of our foster children until we were officially asked to consider it.


I have found that you may be asked about adoption, even if the case doesn't seem to be going that way, by someone involved in the case within 2 days of a placement.


This has proven to be a hard agreement to keep.  Two months ago we felt fine with our decision not to adopt Primo.


The simple truth is that he feels like part of our family now.  It was just about 4 months ago that Primo came through our door.  I cannot imagine how we would feel if he was here for a year or longer?


As much as we all love Primo every now and then I do imagine how much sleep I would get if he did leave us.  It feels like I could sleep for a week straight.  It sounds a bit shallow, but I believe that given the constant push and pull of foster care I am forced to look at both sides of the coin and find what good I can on both sides.


Just as I was finishing up this post Finola came into the room and gave Primo a kiss while saying, "You're just too cute to stay here anymore."


"What does that mean?"  I asked.


"I'm just too attached!"  Finola replied as she swept out of the room.





Thursday, January 12, 2012

A room of our own

I didn't realize how spacious our room would feel after removing one changing table loaded with diapers, wipes and baby clothes and one bassinet.


We have been putting Primo to bed in his own room for a few weeks.  As he is spending all of his sleeping time in there now I decided to move his stuff out of our room today.


This feels like we are taking one step closer to sleeping through the night!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

True Dat Tuesday


"I always thought foster care would be too heartbreaking."

Nothing I could say would change her mind, so unfortunately my friend still feels this way.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Paperwork

I had heard horror stories about the paper work involved with foster care.  Not the paper work you must complete to become licensed, that IS crazy paper work.  I am talking about the paper work you have to keep up with when you have a child in your home.


So far I only have to fill out two pieces of paper a month, one of them is two sided, and one of them I only had the first month Primo was here.


I fill out a Foster Care Monthly Statement, which includes recording a list of doctor and specialist  appointments, diagnosis and prescriptions.  Along with a very brief school info section and a section to list my transportation reimbursements for travel to doctor appointments and visits.


The other form I am supposed to send to my agency every month is a paper recording doctors appointments again and any medications, doses and times given.  After the first one I filled out for the first month Primo was with us I have not been able to get my hands on another.  I have asked Primo's social worker in person, via e-mail and voice mail for this illusive form, and now after almost 4 months with Primo in our home I still don't have it.  This is not too big a deal as he doesn't take any regular medicines and I do record his doctor appointments on the Monthly Statement.


I also copy every piece of paper I fill out and send to my agency, and keep my copies in a large three ring binder with all of Primo's paperwork divided by Medical stuff, Agency stuff and WIC stuff.


The one other bit of paperwork I deal with is taking his medical form to each doctor appointment so the doctor can fill it out after each visit for my agency.  This is no problem if I remember to bring the form.  At our last appointment I forgot it.  My social worker had e-mailed me the form and I forgot to print it.  I was used to having the actual form in the diaper bag.  When I had asked for the physical form and the meds and appointments form she e-mailed the physical for for doctor visits, but still no medicine and doctor appointment form.


This caused me quite a panic.  Luckily I had a long drive to the doctor but all three of my teenage daughters were not answering their cell phones.  How can 3 teenagers have cell phones, while on Christmas break and not be answering them?  I just about blew a gasket. I finally reached Finola after leaving angry voice mails with all three girls.  I pay what seems like a fortune for those phones and the ONE time really need to talk to them no one answers!  I had visions of coming home from the appointment and cancelling all three phones!


Finola managed to print the form from my e-mail, but believe it or not had never sent a fax!  So I talked her through the process and then, once in the doctor's office I was given the wrong fax number by the receptionist, so the first fax was a fail.


I was called back for Primo's appointment and from there I text the correct fax number to Finola who tried the fax again.  By the end of the appointment the doctor checked with his staff and found no fax. 


I dressed a screaming Primo and headed out to reception and asked if the form had arrived.  They had a form that had arrived 30 minutes ago, but because it had no one's name on it they didn't know it was the form I was looking for.  We waited 30 more minutes for the doctor to fill out the form and finally headed home.


Sorry to digress, when I started this post it was supposed to be about my joy in realizing that the paperwork involved in foster care is not so bad.  But on that one day, the paperwork was a major PITA!  That is really my fault for forgetting the form, so all in all I think that without human error the paperwork I do every month is not as bad as I thought it would be.


Now if I could just get my hands on that *#@% Medicines and Doctor Appointment Monthly form!







Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bonding

Primo is growing by leaps and bounds.  He is a happy baby who is napping on a regular schedule and has even made it through the night without a bottle a few times.


He responds to all of us with such affection.  He's clearly happy to see the girls when they come home from school.  And he always has a ready smile for Mike at the end of the day.

I was ready for the fact that I would bond with Primo, and grow to love him like one of my own.  What I did not spend much time thinking about was the fact that he would bond to me.  Sounds silly I know. When he sees me he has that special look in his eyes that infants save only for their parents.  He lights up when he sees me each morning.  He smiles from ear to ear when I come home from being away from him.  He gets excited when we have been apart and immediately starts verbalizing and cooing in a way that sounds like he has many things to tell me about his adventures while we were apart.


The biggest joy of foster care for me is having a baby in my home and enjoying him as much as I can.  The days without visits, appointments or meetings are incredibly fulfilling and fun.  Even days with appointments can end with a sense of accomplishment, but these days are often exhausting.


I am obviously feeling very positive today, it is hard not to with such a sweet babe in the house.



Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mom

Primo's siblings have finally found a pre-adoptive home.  After only one week in their new home they are calling their new foster mom, Mom.  


This did not go over well with their bio Dad.


I can only imagine how I would feel if my daughters were calling someone else Mom.


Primo's siblings seem happier and more calm than I have ever seen them before.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Is it the thought that counts?

I know Primo is only 4 months old, but I really thought his parents might give him a Christmas gift.


I made very simple personalized gifts for Primo to give to his parents and siblings.  They very much appreciated them, which resulted in hugs all around.  I was reminded that thoughtful, simple gifts go a long way during the holidays.  I felt uplifted and pleased with myself.  Quite smug in fact, as if I alone had discovered the true meaning of Christmas.




I even remembered, at the last minute, to buy a gift for Primo's social worker, she was very touched too.




To be honest I was exceedingly struck by Primo's siblings and parent's response to what I considered a very small kindness.  I was propelled into the Christmas spirit, and enjoyed my own Christmas celebration, a few days later, more than I had in years past.  I felt happy to know, that in a materialistic culture such as ours, a little thoughtfulness and love went a long way.


On this visit before Christmas no gifts were exchanged between Primo, his sibs and parents, they planned to bring their gifts to their visit after Christmas.


(All other visits during this particular day of the week between Christmas and the New Year had been cancelled.  We were the only ones visiting in a very empty agency office.)


The official Christmas visit resulted in no Christmas gift for Primo.  I have to say that I felt a bit deflated.


Without a present was there evidence of some thoughtfulness and love?  Of course there could be.  His parents showed up to see him and maybe that should be gift enough for me?  Or better yet maybe this shouldn't be about me at all, but I do seem to take on feelings and emotions for Primo that he obviously doesn't have at his age.


The bottom line is that I would have felt much better about Primo's parents if they had remembered to give him any little thing for Christmas.  But I guess these are my issues to work out!?