Friday, August 31, 2012

how sweet it is

Early morning appointment with social worker? Check!

House totally clean because of early morning appointment with social worker? Check!

Last load of laundry in the washer? Check!

First monthly care package in the mail to college daughter? Check!

Baby napping? Check!

Free time for Mama? Check!

Dinner out with the girls tonight? YES!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

I have been invited

by Primo's social worker to attend his next court hearing.  I'm not sure what has changed, I have never even been slightly encouraged to attend court before, in fact I have been told I DO NOT need to be there. 

Last month the social worker made a point of telling me the exact date, time and address of Primo's next court date.  Then, just last week she told me that she thought I should come to court next month.  I was flabbergasted.

I was told that "they", I guess this means DH$, my agency and Primo's lawyer, have no idea how court will go.

Because court is coming up next month I have been receiving requests, from all the usual suspects, to come out to our home and see Primo.  By the end of next week I will have met with everyone who will be in court in September representing Primo.  Maybe by then I will have a clearer picture of what will be going on in court.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

dressed to impress

For a long time now I have found myself thinking about Primo's parents and his visits with them when I am shopping for Primo's clothes. I shop specifically with those visits in mind.  I want him to look cute and well dressed at visits. I save designer brands and new clothes for visits.

I'm not sure when I started thinking this way, it probably started at the first visit. The child has never worn the same outfit twice to a visit.

On some level I clearly equate new nice clothes with love and care.  Like these clothes are a reflection on how much I love Primo and how much I want his parents to see that he is well taken care of.

I didn't think too much about my compulsion for saving his "good" clothes for visits until his parents started missing visits. When his parents didn't see him I would feel disappointed that they didn't see his specially selected outfit. This was a huge let down for me. I feel a bit vain even writing about this issue.

Do you dress your kids up for visits?


Monday, August 20, 2012

All of the drivers smile broadly while waving excessively at each vehicle they pass. So much joy. Each driver patiently waits their turn to pull up to the curb.  As the vehicles stop at the curb in front of the large, wide, granite steps leading to the gigantic double doors, the teens make their exit from the cars.  Some boys and girls bound out excitedly with wide smiles and shiny new backpacks. Others slouch slowly out of their minivans with long sighs. 

I take my turn and let my two high school daughters off at the curb in front of their school.

As I drive towards home feeling a bit lonely, the jingle of a baby toy being shaken in the back seat reminds me that I am far from being alone. 

So different from the past few years.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

OMG!

You know that DH$ worker who has NEVER been to our home to check on Primo?

Yep, this one! came to our home for 10 whole minutes!

Am I wrong to hope this visit means that there will be some movement in Primo's case?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

True Dat Tuesday

My favorite department store was having a very tempting sale on Levi's baby boy jeans this week.  So, off I went to pick up a new pair for Primo.  I looked at the many stacks of jeans and realized that none of them were exactly blue.  Some were black, some were a slightly metallic unrecognizable color, there were extremely faded blues with some dirt color thrown in etc..

I grabbed a 24 mos. size pair that were as close to blue as I could find and held them up to take a look before heading to the cash register.

Now remember I have only bought one pair of baby boy jeans EVER, a lovely pair of 12 mos. size, basic blue, basic jeans at Target.  These jeans looked different, I couldn't figure out exactly what was not right about them.  I turned them this way and that and then looked carefully at the tag, ah-ha, they were straight leg skinny fit????  WHAT?

I literally had to spend 20 minutes finding a pair of straight leg relaxed fit.  There were 4 types of jeans on sale and three of them were skinny fit. 

I guess all the other Moms got there before me and bought up all the relaxed fit baby boy jeans and all that were left were A LOT of skinny fit baby boy jeans, bah!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Balance

There are many pros and cons to foster care.  So far, for me, the pros still outweigh the cons, but admittedly I tend to blog more about the cons.

As school begins and my children begin participating on sports teams again I am reminded of one of the biggest cons for me.  I miss a lot of games and matches because I drive 4 hours a week and wait at my agency another 4 hours a week for Primo's visits.  I have also missed my children's dance, acting and singing performances because of doctors appointments, social worker appointments and WIC appointments.  Add in Primo's naps and almost never having a baby-sitter and I'm seriously down for the count.

When a family takes on foster care their world immediately revolves around their foster child/children.  This is inevitable given the nature of foster care, and not a bad thing in and of itself.  Finding a balance between your commitment to the foster care system and your commitment to the children in your home is difficult but paramount to your family's survival.

Foster care is a black hole with an insatiable appetite for your time, your energy, your focus, once you are sucked in the rock solid boundaries of your past crumble, your energy is zapped. Try as you may to focus on life as you knew it, the full life you had before foster care, it is impossible to reverse what you have seen and felt in the black hole.

Hmm...a bit dramatic, no? But this is how foster care feels to me some days. I am willing to dive into the unknown black hole, to fight the good fight, to save the world, blah blah blah...but how to get out? how to live like I lived before? And if I can't live like I lived before, how to let go of my old life and embrace the new life? How do I share focus, so that every child in my home feels important, loved and supported. How do I heap energy, love, time and focus (all the time documenting this for my agency) on one child and still have enough for the permanent members of my family?

After over a year of doing foster care I'm still having trouble finding my balance.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sporadic...

that's what Primo's family visits have become this summer.  Primo has gone weeks without seeing his family.

It was becoming a bit of a pattern for Primo and I to drive an hour to get to his visit, wait for an hour and then drive home.  Thankfully the social worker is now letting us wait for only half an hour before we drive home.  This is the worst case scenario.  I am not fond of preparing and packing for a visit, driving to said visit and then turning around and driving home.

What has begun to happen more often now is this: 15 minutes before I would put Primo in the car to go to his visit I get a call letting me know that the visit has been canceled.  This is better, but sometimes I've already woken Primo up early from his nap to head in to the visit.

I continue to hope that Primo's visits will get back to their regularly scheduled frequency as the summer draws to a close.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Daycare

I have never used daycare for any of my children.  I just used baby-sitters.  With foster care finding a correctly certified sitter is difficult in my state.  I have not yet found one, I have two friends who are working on finishing all their clearances and back round checks, but it has been over 6 months and I don't feel like pressuring them right now.

Therefore, I'm considering daycare for Primo.  Not every day, but for a few days a month so that I can have some set times to schedule my own appointments and maybe a wee bit of alone time?

I'm sure my first challenge will be finding a daycare facility that will take him for only a few days/half days a month.

What do you do when you need a sitter?  I'm pretty sure that some states have much more relaxed standards for baby-sitters who care for foster children, I wish I lived in one of those states.

Monday, August 6, 2012

College Fund

All of the money, time and effort we have put into the last few weeks getting Finola ready to leave for University has got me thinking about a college fund for Primo.

Is there a way to set up a 529 plan or an Education IRA for a foster child?  Or maybe even just a straight up savings account?


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Primo Update

The most important part of our foster care experience is Primo.

Despite the angst I have while navigating the foster care system, the frustration with social workers, judges and lawyers and the hard work of scheduling and getting to and from all of the appointments that make up the job of foster care, I would not trade our time with Primo for ANYTHING!

He is an amazing little boy.  He is feeding himself, beginning to say a few words, smiling, clapping, waving, crawling like the wind, standing on his own, giving hugs and kisses... you name it, he does it, everything he should be doing at his age!

Primo is big and bold and happy, his smiles light up a room.

He is bonded with us as his family and he loves to meet new people and try new things, he is an outgoing little guy.

I will be eternally grateful for the time I and my family have had with Primo.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

It's back to school time, baby!

Ah August, the smell of school is in the air.  I like back to school time. I enjoy getting back into a routine.

Each of my kids is making their list and checking it twice.  This way I can spread out the spending over the next three weeks. I really need to stick a budget this year.

I'm organizing my coupons and getting ready.

I overheard Dolly telling Vivienne that she LOVES back to school shopping and organizing.

Today we begin, we will look over the girls school uniforms and decide if we need any new pieces, then on to paper, notebooks and text books...oh the joy!