Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Photo Journal

We went to the aquarium to see Polar Express 4-D (15 minute version) and see Scuba Claus.  Tank loved watching the big fish swim by.


Evie decorated a gingerbread house with my nephew.

Decorating cookies for Santa

Santa showed up in a big way last night, partly due to 2 organizations that provided gifts for the kids

Christmas aftermath

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Tank Update

The doctor said on Wednesday that both Tank's ears still looked very infected, so he got an antibiotic injection for three days in a row.  On the third day, he also got the flu shot and his second round of preventive shots (he had not had any before he came to me).  He literally did not cry at all for the first two shots in his right leg, and stopped crying immediately when the shots were done in the second leg.  Best. Baby. Ever.   I'm waiting on the ENT to call to set up a follow up appointment. 

Tank's caseworker was here on Friday (the first time she has set foot in my house since he has been here).  There is a court date set for January, and I originally thought this was because mom should be finished with her treatment plan by then (based on a conversation I had with the GAL) and that Tank would likely go back with his mom at that time.  The caseworker said that although Tank's mom is making good steady progress with her plan, there was no way she would be finished with everything by then.  She also told me there is another family member that just had a home study completed to have Tank placed with her.  Apparently the person completing the home study has not written up the report yet, but sounded positive about the outcome; and said it is possible Tank will be moved there in the next week or two. 

Tank is now crawling and is getting into everything!  He's pulling up to his knees on short surfaces, so I'm sure it won't be long before he is pulling up to standing.  Now that he is so mobile, he is not happy to be contained in the exersaucer anymore (or even really to be held much).  I am in trouble now!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sickness Abounds

Since my last post about sickness, we have had never-ending sickness around here.

I ended up with a fever, mild aches and fatigue, and some nausea on Thanksgiving night.  And then the exact same symptoms a week later - which turned into a stomach virus about 24 hours later.  Evie got the stomach bug, too... but thank goodness for only about six hours, and that it didn't start until I was on the upswing with mine. 

Tank woke up at 4:30 am last week with a 103 degree fever.  A trip to the doctor's office (during which he was all smiles) revealed a double ear infection, plus wheezing.  He ended up with another fever of 102 today, but when I picked him up from daycare, all he did was smile and laugh at me.  I suspect the ear infections have not cleared up, but we will see tomorrow. 

I can't believe how sweet and happy that little guy is, even with a high fever and infected ears!

I have a feeling we are headed for ear tubes.  I just hope we can curb all the sicknesses for a while!

(I added the label "Sickness."  We have had so much of it, that it deserves its own label.)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Evie Funnies

This morning I told Evie to keep an eye on Tank while I was in the other room and make sure he didn't get into anything he shouldn't have.  From the other room, I hear: "No, Tank!  Tank!  You know better.  Well, you don't, but don't grab that!"

We had a heavy lunch today, so I decided to do something light and just have soup tonight.  When I pulled out the Saltine crackers to go with it, Evie got VERY excited and said, "Oooh, I LOVE your cooking!"

Friday, December 12, 2014

Photo Journal

I did a little photo shoot for Evie's 5 year birthday and Tank's 6-month milestone (I didn't have any pics I could share from that one). 

With the help of the blog Chocolate Hair, Vanilla Care I decided to branch out with Evie's hair and get rid of the puffs and do twists instead.  
Pumpkin loves to snuggle with Evie
Thanksgiving Day craft time
25 books wrapped up for Evie to unwrap and read one each night before Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Status Quo

Court for Evie's case was today.  We were in the courtroom all of about five minutes.  Supposedly, the family member moved out (although they are there every night when we call on the phone).  DSS went to look at the house, and said it was "cleaned up" but still had a bad smell, and that the house needed to be inspected by a professional before it could be deemed safe for the kids to go back.  We will return to court in January with the results of this.  Evie's caseworker seems to think the house will not pass inspection.  So we are status quo for at least the next month; and if the house doesn't pass, quite possibly for the next many many months. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Conversation with Evie the other morning on the way to school:

Evie: I'm really not very happy right now.
Me: Why?
E: Because I'm wearing two shirts, and I don't like to wear two shirts.  I never wear two shirts with my mom.  [It's been cold here this week so I've been layering up the kids.]
Me: Well, I bet you never went outside and played when it was very very cold with your mom, did you?
E: No, I didn't.  Actually, I never went outside to play with my mom because there's Bigfoot out there. 

Seriously?!  I wonder if her parents told her Bigfoot was out there so they didn't have to go outside to play with her?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Evie and Tank Update

As far as I know, Tank's mom is still on track with her treatment plan.  However, Tank's caseworker never updates me about anything, and actually had another incidence last week of picking him up from daycare for a visit without telling me.  Evie's caseworker, on the other hand, always tells me ahead of time about visits, and always calls me after the visit to let me know how things went.  The day he went for a visit was one of the days that Evie was out sick from school, so I actually seriously considered keeping him home that day.  I'm sure they would have been annoyed if he wasn't there; but if I don't know about the visits, I can't guarantee that he will be where you think he is! 

Evie's mom has court a week from tomorrow.  It is "Judicial Review and Permanency Planning," meaning it has been six months since the treatment plan was established and this is to determine what the progress is.  The only thing mom needs to complete is to get a new place to live.  They can't return to the house they were living in partly because someone living in the house has a criminal history.  Now the family is talking about that family member moving out; and the caseworker said that this may actually happen in time for court next week.  If it does, it is definitely possible that Evie will be returned to mom at that time.  However, apparently someone from the Foster Care Review Board is planning on being there and sharing their thoughts, so it should definitely be an interesting day!  I will update with the results after court next Friday.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Why Would You Say That?!

Evie was talking to her grandmother on the phone last night.  I was putting Tank to bed in the next room so I could hear the whole conversation but wasn't contributing anything.  Grandmother asked if Evie was going to church the next day.  Evie said, "I don't know" but then asked her grandmother if she was going to come to the same church as her.  The grandmother said yes.  (With no intention to go).  Evie said, "Yay!  Then I get to see you!"  She proceeded to give her grandmother directions to the church (which made no sense because she's five) and then said, "And you come in and look for me and we'll wave at you and you can come sit by me and Miss Allison and then I get to see you!!!" 

At this point, Tank was still not asleep but I was itching to get back in the room to correct this whole situation. 

The conversation continued: "Are you going to come to the same church as me tomorrow?"  This time the grandmother said, "I don't know..."  Evie said, "Just say yes" so the grandmother said "yes."  Evie said, "Yay!!" 

I finally was able to get back in the room, and Evie told me, "Grandmother is going to come to the same church as me tomorrow."  I told her that they live in a different place and go to a different church... and she said without hesitation, "OK."  Easy as that.  Why the grandmother would say that she would be at the same church (and thus disappoint her when she wasn't there), I don't know!

File under I Just Don't Understand.

Twin Update

Twin was released from the hospital yesterday.  She is still trying to get 100% well, but she is doing ok. 

I also realized when I made the last post that there are now more reasons why Twin is such a great blog name for her.  She is almost the same age as Tank (a month younger), and their names rhyme! 

Thursday, November 27, 2014


The pinkeye plague was not the worst to happen today.  Please pray for TT's foster daughter, Twin (who is a month younger than Tank), who was admitted to the hospital today; and for her SWEET Mama who is taking care of her. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Germs, Germs, Go Away!

After Tank's second ear infection a couple of weeks ago, we have not gotten away from the illnesses.  Evie got a fever of 101 Sunday night so didn't go to school on Monday.  It was still 99.5 on Monday morning.  She was wheezing and had some nasty nasal congestion, too, so we went to the doctor.  Of course by the time we got there at 11, she was bouncing off the walls and had no fever at all.  They did say she was wheezing and to give the inhaler every 4-6 hours rather than as needed.  She spiked another fever of 102 after her nap, so had to stay out from school again on Tuesday. 

Tuesday morning we went back to the doctor to recheck Tank's ears from the previous ear infections; all was clear.  I had to take Evie to that appointment as well since she couldn't go to school. 

Today both kids ended up with goopy eyes, so off to the doctor again we went this afternoon... for the third time in three days!  Diagnosis: pinkeye.  I dropped off the prescriptions to the pharmacy as soon as we left and was told they were running 2 1/2 hours!!!  So I could pick it up at 5:30.  5:40 we arrive and they said the drops for Tank were ready but they were still working on Evie's and would page when it was done.  Then we got called up to the desk to be told that they don't have that in stock.  I surely did semi-flip out on them and tell them I wished I would have known that THREE hours ago, and that they better find somewhere that had it!  So we trudged to the next pharmacy, with Tank screaming his head off for about half the way until he fell asleep, because it was getting close to his bedtime by this point.  We got to the next pharmacy and they had put a rush on the medicine but we still had to wait about 15 minutes in the parking lot. 

Happy Thanksgiving to us!  I would like to NOT spend the next two days in the doctors' office!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Planning to Let Go

Tank's GAL (guardian ad litem) called last weekend to find a time to come visit him.  She said that his mom has been testing clean; and that she has been making good progress on her treatment plan, with the expectation that she will be finished with the plan in January. 

There will definitely be grieving when that baby leaves me.  Even before I knew if mom was making any progress or not, I would often tear up looking at that sweet face (especially during bedtime snuggles), thinking, "How am I ever going to let you go?" or "Ohmagosh... I am going to be sooo sad when you go!" or just completely overwhelmed at what a sweet soul I am privileged to be holding in my arms.

But now that I know that Tank will likely be going home sooner than later, I'm really trying to mentally prepare myself for what is to come.  With Evie, I have expected from Day 1 that she would go home to her mom (I actually expected it to be a long time ago, but apparently I am not a good judge of how a case will progress!) so I haven't gotten too attached. 

But Tank doesn't talk to his mom every night.
He doesn't tell me that he loves his mom more than me.
He doesn't say on an almost daily basis that he wants his mom, or that he misses her.
I am not second best to him. 
To him, I am the one he knows as mama. 

Letting go is going to be so hard.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

My Two Cute Kids

This was the evening that Tank got four shots.  You would never guess, would you? 

I took Evie to the Fresh Beat Band concert for her birthday.  She told me several times before we got there that she was going to dance and "show off her moves" at the concert, but then was a little reluctant to stand up and dance at first.  She eventually got up and couldn't stop moving!  She also said that Shout looked at her and pointed at her "because he loved my dance moves."  LOL

Monday, November 17, 2014

Photo Journal

I loved this football onesie/baby legs combo!  Of course it didn't stay cool enough to wear it the whole day.  And of course Tank's legs are too *wide* to be able to wear them again!
I opened the car door to this cuteness one day:

I've spent a lot of time with Tank at the doctor's office in the last week.  First for shots (we finally figured out that he had not had any since birth, even though his mom said he was "up to date").  Then this day for a fever which turned out to be an ear infection in the other ear. (Even with a fever and sleeping almost all afternoon, he was still laughing with me in the waiting room.  I can't believe what a good baby he is.)  Then back a few days later with a cough and wheezing. 

Evie turned 5, and she got birthday cake pancakes for breakfast. 
And this balloon she had been eyeing every time we went to the grocery store for weeks before-hand.
And a little birthday party at the park.

My nephew came over and we all went to the Miracle League game (a baseball league for kids with special needs, that I helped coach for years) and made monster eyeball cookies.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Two Out of Three

Two out of three articles of my clothing are down for the count today.
One was spit up on.
The other was pooped on.
It was bound to happen sometime.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


A few bits of information I found out when I was at yesterday's Foster Care Review Board:
- The repeat home study of Tank's great grandparents was again denied.  Now there is an aunt that is interested, but the caseworker said, "I'm going to have to ask her a lot of questions before we delve into any home study process."
- Apparently when a child is placed in state custody, the state then files for child support payments from the parent(s).  That makes sense, but I had never thought about that before. 

And clarification from the last post about terminating Evie's parents' rights: The Foster Care Review Board's recommendation that the parents' rights be terminated is just that - a recommendation - and the Board has no power to actually terminate those rights.  And I'm not sure how much weight that recommendation holds to a judge who DOES actually have the power to proceed with terminating rights; or even what the process is for the Board presenting their recommendation to the court.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Foster Care Review Board

Today was Foster Care Review Board for Evie.  I'm not sure if all states have this, but in the words of the chairman, "We are not part of DSS; we are not anti-DSS.  We are here as a checks and balances system for DSS to make sure that everything is being looked at."  From my understanding they make recommendations and then present them to the court (Judicial Review for Evie and J is next month).  Evie's mom did not show up; OFM (Other Foster Mom) said that mom's lawyer told her not to go; the board did not look at that fact highly. 

I can't go into a lot of details, but here is what I can say.  There was A LOT of information revealed that I had never heard before.  About mom's past.  About the living situation when the kids were removed from the home.  About a second psychological evaluation that was done after mom's lawyer requested it due to questions about the first psychologist's credentials; an evaluation that was done after mom had read the report from the first psychologist - a report that raised A LOT of significant concerns about mom's ability to parent.  Of course the second evaluation did not have much in terms of recommendations or concerns, because mom then knew what was going to be asked and how she should answer the questions. 

The only thing left officially for mom to complete on the treatment plan is to find a safe place to live.  But the board felt like there should be a lot of other things on there.  And ultimately the board's recommendation was for termination of parental rights.  Which kind of blew me away, because at the beginning of the case, I expected Evie to be here a month or two at most (and even recently, I still felt confident she would go back with mom eventually).  But after all the new things I learned today, it didn't surprise me.  (Edited to add: This recommendation is just that - a recommendation - and the Foster Care Review Board has no power to actually terminate those rights.  And I'm not sure how much weight that recommendation holds to a judge who DOES actually have the power to proceed with terminating rights; or even what the process is for the Board presenting their recommendation to the court.)

They also put me on the spot and asked me if rights were terminated, if I would adopt Evie.  My honest answer is, "I really don't think so", but I wasn't sure what to say, so I was vague and ended up saying, "I would consider it."  I just pray those kids get some permanency soon. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Halloween!

... from the Operation game guy, L'il Pumpkin, and the Candy Corn Princess!


Today my friend and his mom came over while the kids were napping so I could go run an errand for about 45 minutes.  Evie was asleep when I left. Tank had fallen asleep in the car on the way home, but woke up before I put him in the bed; but he was talking to himself in his room when I left for the errand.  He ended up not going back to sleep and my friend got him up.  And then apparently he started crying.  And cried for 30 minutes.  They said they tried everything - the exersaucer, the play mat on his stomach and his back, holding him, changing his diaper.  They finally gave him a bottle, even though he had just had one two hours before.  He ate it, but that didn't calm him afterwards, either.  When I walked in the door, he was crying.  Which is so unusual because he is normally very happy, and only cries when he is hungry or tired.  So I started trying to figure out why he was crying - maybe he was teething; maybe he was tired, since he hadn't really slept other than two 15-minute naps today.  I picked him up and he was fine.  As soon as my friend left, I put Tank in the exersaucer so I could go to the bathroom.  He was fine, and remained fine in there for the next 30 minutes while I did the dishes.  Nothing was wrong with him.  He just wanted who he knows as his mommy.  Not that I had to hold him; he just wanted me in the room.  How quickly babies become bonded.  (Although I guess seven weeks seems like not that long to me, but it is actually a fourth of his whole life!)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

She Doesn't Know How

Evie is always drawing.  Or coloring.  Or playing on the MagnaDoodle.

I thought it was just that she likes to draw (which she does).  But now I think it is more than that. 

In recent days, I have decided that I will try to direct her play sessions more, rather than let her always choose to color.  That I will tell her during some playtimes that she has to find something to play other than coloring/drawing. 

Tonight I did just that.  I told her she needed to find something to play while I was cooking dinner, other than coloring.  She stayed in the living room for a few minutes, then came into the kitchen.  I asked her what she was playing.  She said, "Nothing."  I said she needed to go back and find something to play.  When I asked what she chose, she said some spinning tops that her mom had given her (that can only be done on the kitchen floor because the rest of the house is carpeted).  I said she needed to pick something else.  She has Barbies with furniture, clothes, and shoes; Ponies with brushes and hair accessories; a sandwich-making kit; babies with a carrier backpack and fake food/bottles; a dollhouse with people/animals to go in it, as well as a car that matches.  She chose the babies, and I went back into the kitchen to finish dinner.  When I came back, she was lying on the floor with the baby, but doing nothing with it.  ***LIGHT BULB*** She doesn't know HOW to play something by herself!  I'm pretty sure she is able to play with other kids; and has played things with me (although she usually chooses to play a game, rather than just creative play).  But she doesn't know what to do with toys when she is by herself. 

So we talked about what she could do with the babies.  And I told her she needed to stay downstairs and play while I went to give the baby a bath (she usually goes with me to hang out while he is bathing).  She FINALLY took the baby's clothes off, changed its diaper, put the bib on and fed it, and rocked it. 

I guess I have a lot of work to do to try to teach her how to play with toys.  And we will definitely have more structured solo playtime. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Tale of Two Caseworkers

One caseworker called me and talked to me within days of the child being placed.
The other I didn't actually speak with (other than voice mail-tag) until the child had been with me for six weeks.

One has given me her personal cell phone number, and calls me back within hours if she sees that she even has a missed call from me.
The other has only given me her office number so it is impossible to actually catch her; and it is always 1-2 days before she calls back, if she calls back at all.

I had monthly home visits scheduled with each of them last Friday.
One texted me to ask me the best time to schedule the visit.
The other emailed me to tell me what time the visit would be.

One told me she had checked with her supervisor and the child actually had to be there at the time of the visit, so we scheduled a time after school when the child could be there.
The other said I could go ahead and take the child to daycare because he didn't actually have to be there for the home visit.

One showed up exactly on time.
The other moved the time back by 30 minutes the day before, and then called at the last minute to cancel the visit because she just couldn't break away from the office.

One told me the visit had to be in my HOME, and that seeing each other at the daycare when she is bringing the child back from a parent visit doesn't count as the monthly home visit. 
The other told me that since she had already seen the child twice at daycare, that could count as the monthly visit. 

What made me realize the stark differences was the fact that I had visits with both of them on the same day, and the whole process and outcome was so different between the two of them.  I'm not saying that all of those differences are bad; and I don't know if one of them is better at her job overall than the other, but it sure seems that way from here. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Mother's Intuition

This morning I took Tank to the doctor to have him checked out.  I almost didn't go, because he was in such a good mood this morning.  But for three of the previous four car trips, he had cried for a good portion of them (and he usually falls asleep in the car - either immediately or after happy talking).  And for a baby who really NEVER cries unless he is hungry or tired, I just felt like something was going on.  Turns out he has an ear infection.  Mother's intuition. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Not Much to Report

There is not much to report at this point.  We are supposed to have home visits with both Evie's and Tank's caseworkers tomorrow, so maybe I will have more information then but I'm not holding my breath. 

We have been to the Pumpkin Patch with TT, Twin, and her new old foster daughter, G (I'll have to come up with a blog name for her); and TT's co-worker who is adopting a child out of foster care. 

 On the hayride
 Going through just enough of the corn maze to say they did it

G was with TT for about six months, and left in June to go out of state to be adopted by relatives.  Apparently that did not pan out, and now G is in our state custody again; and they called TT to see if she would take her back.  G is about nine months younger than Evie.  They also had a play date last weekend at TT's house, and G did NOT like sharing her toys.  Next time we will meet on neutral territory and see if they play better together there. 

We also went to my sister's house and made pumpkins with my nephew. 

My dad came in town, and Evie cried her eyes out when we left after spending the day with them, even though she has only met him one other time.  Foster care = unhealthy attachment.
My aunt and 91-year old grandmother stopped by last weekend to visit and meet the kids.  Tank's name is a VERY common one right now, but my grandmother said, "Tank?  What kind of name is that?!"   Just shows generational differences in name choices.  My aunt was holding Tank, and he promptly fell asleep in her arms... with his hands folded.  So cute!

My neighbor has lived next door since I moved in nine years ago.  But recently she has been having some health problems, so her daughter, son-in-law, and 10-year old granddaughter have recently moved in.  Evie has enjoyed spending some time with the granddaughter (blog name Zookeeper, since she has two dogs, a rabbit, a bird, and a fish) at their house, and Zookeeper has enjoyed taking Evie under her wing. 
I am loving having a baby in the house (and I really think Evie is, too!).  My cat Pumpkin doesn't seem to have even noticed; and Tank hasn't noticed him yet, either.  Tank has been a little fussy the last few days (fussy for him = crying at all at times when he is not hungry or tired), so I may take him to the doctor tomorrow just to rule out an ear infection. 
I will update after the caseworker visits tomorrow if I get any new information!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Court for Tank

Court for Tank's parents was last Friday. 

Called "trial on the merits," this is the first trial for the parents, to determine what the treatment plan is - i.e. what they have to do to get their kid back.  I have been told that sometimes this trial can drag out - be "continued" - for several months, if the parents don't agree with the treatment plan, request a new lawyer, etc.

The home studies of both Tank's paternal grandmother and his maternal great-grandparents (Mom is 17 so it's definitely possible they are around 50) were denied. Court started with Dad's lawyer asking for the judge to still consider placing Tank with the grandmother.  There was some discussion about if Tank should be placed with her that day, judge talked to grandma, and ultimately said, "I'm not inclined to place him with the paternal grandmother at this time." 

I would probably like to adopt one of these kiddos if the opportunity presents itself and if the situation is right.  I have read lots of blogs about foster care.  I distinctly remember reading one blog (I think from my friend Mimi over at I Must Be Trippin') saying that she was able to emotionally handle things much better once she started looking at each placement with the attitude of, "They are here for a time and I'll love them while they are here", rather than an immediate, "Based on what the caseworkers are saying, maybe I'll get to adopt this one."  I have tried to look at the whole foster care situation with this attitude.  It's been easy with Evie because I still feel certain she will go back with her mom at some point; with Tank it's been a little more difficult, but I still have really tried to look at it as a temporary situation.  But I have to admit that when they were discussing placing Tank with his grandmother "TODAY", I had a total moment of anxiety thinking, "Oh my gosh; they might take my baby today!" 

Mom's lawyer said that although the maternal great-grandparents were denied due to some issues with the house itself, they had corrected these issues and they were requesting a repeat inspection of the home.  So there is still a possibility that he will be placed with them.  (Although I don't know that DSS is under any time constraint to get this done, as they already did the initial home study within the court-ordered 10 days - due to Tank's age).  Obviously if they are approved, he would go with them at that time.  If they are not, then I would guess he will be here at least six months based on the list of things the parents have to do.  The guardian ad litem (GAL) seems to think that the parents are very motivated and will complete their treatment plan fairly quickly; but with a situation like this, I think you just never can predict...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

We Have a Roller!

Tank has rolled from his back to his tummy twice now, but I have been out of the room both times.  I've tried to get him to do it while I'm sitting there, but he won't. 

Court was yesterday to determine the treatment plan for the parents.  I'll post about that later when I have more time. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


If you know me in real life, you may know that I have some crazy dreams, that are sometimes associated with sleepwalking and/or talking in my sleep. 

I often jump out of bed in the middle of a dream and do something - like lock the bedroom door or move something around in the room - and then realize in the middle of doing it that I am sleepwalking.  Sometimes I obviously DON'T wake up in the middle of doing it, because there have definitely been times where I would wake up in the morning and something would be in a place that I know FOR CERTAIN it was not in when I went to bed the night before.  Once, I even (obviously at least half-knowing what I was doing while I was doing it) walked downstairs, turned off my house alarm, opened the back door to look for something/someone, then opened the front door to continue looking for something/someone, before I finally realized I was sleepwalking.  I have been known to loudly sit up in bed and gasp loudly in fright (with my heart pounding), waking up whoever is in the room with me. 

I have had a recurring dream for about the last 10-15 years.  It always revolved around being responsible for a child (usually an infant) in some way, shape, or form; and then completely forgetting about that child for the entire day or night.  For example, I would be taking care of a baby and then realize at the end of the day that I forgot the baby was in the bedroom and that I have not fed it, changed its diaper, etc since that morning.  I would completely freak out and run to check on the child, only to discover - thankfully - that he/she was totally fine.  (I did have a version of the dream about six months ago where the child was NOT fine - at least at first - it was totally lethargic when I got in the room, but turned out fine a few minutes later.)   (Am I completely crazy for admitting this dream on a foster care blog?)

FYI: The recurring dream that I had from childhood sometime until this dream started was that I was underwater, swimming, and breathing through lungs.  I'm sure that's related to my absolute fear of dying by drowning. 

I actually have not had that recurring dream since having foster placements.  But when Evie first got placed with me, I had the crazy dreams where I would freak out about something concerning her (that I forgot about her, that I forgot to give her her medicine which then caused her to be not okay medically, etc), and then run into her room only to find her sleeping peacefully.  Part of that was probably because she was waking up pretty regularly in the middle of the night during the first couple of weeks she was here; and then when she wasn't, I began dreaming crazy stuff. 

Interestingly enough, I didn't have any of those crazy dreams concerning Tank... until last Friday night, when he had been with me for exactly three weeks.  I don't remember what it was specifically, but I got completely freaked out and ran into his room to see if he was okay; and the dream left my heart pounding.  I don't know why it took so long to have one of those dreams with Tank - maybe because I was already getting up in the middle of the night to check on him.  Maybe because it was no longer my first child I was responsible for so I felt more comfortable.  Maybe because he was settled in well so I didn't have to worry about him like I did about Evie. 

I just hope that the crazy dreams decrease with each placement.  But with my history, I'm not putting any money on it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Photo Journal

Tummy time is good.

Tank has been eating rice cereal pretty much since he came to me.  We tried jar food for the first time on Saturday, and after a funny face during the first few bites, here is what was left of the green beans!

Evie and I did a Color Walk the week after Tank came to me.  My mom coincidentally came in town the night before he came, and stayed for about 10 days, so she was able to keep him while we went to get color blasted.  (That was fun to get out of her hair...)

We went to a bounce house place last weekend with my sister and three-year old nephew.

The other day, we sat outside on a blanket in the beautiful day and decorated a pumpkin.  Tank loved the fresh air, and the spider pumpkin turned out so cute. 

Two-Kid Update

I've been meaning to write a post about how we are all settling in as a household of three, but it's a little harder to find a free moment to write now than it was with only Evie!  Overall, I am much more tired and things are definitely busier, but things seem calmer and more settled than they did with just me and Evie. 

Evie definitely enjoys having another being in the house.  She loves babies and often talks "baby talk" with Tank (like "look at your cute little toes, I'm going to get your toes!"; "look at Evie, she's taking her vitamin, do you see me taking my vitamin?").  I think it is good for her to have someone else in the house to interact with other than me.  She also loves to help with him - buttoning up his sleepers, putting his diapers in the trash can, dancing for him to get him to stop crying, etc.  She has been playing a lot more with her baby dolls, including burping them and putting them to sleep. 

Tank is adjusting well.  He is such a GOOD baby, and is so happy.  He really only cries when he is hungry (you can set your clock to his every-three-hour feeding schedule) or tired.  He doesn't need to be held all the time and is mostly content to play on the floor, or exersaucer, or bouncy chair.  I realize this may be a product of his not being held much in his home.  He has always been very smiley and interactive, but when he first came to me it was obvious he wasn't used to close human contact - he would arch his back when I would pick him up; and even though he would make eye contact and smile if he was lying/sitting down, he would immediately turn his head away from me if I picked him up and tried to look at him.  Now he is much more snuggly, loves to be held, and doesn't turn away when I look at him; but even so, is still not a baby that has to be held all the time to be happy.  His laugh is infectious.  I have a terribly cute video that I wish I could share - we were at a little carnival thing, which had a bounce house with slide, and I picked him up so he could see the kids coming down.  Every time they would come down the slide, he would yell (just like them)!  His development seems to be right on target.  He does definitely use his right arm and leg more than his left (always splashes the bath water with his right hand, kicked his right leg much more in the playground swing than the left, reaches for toys more with his right hand), but also uses the left a good bit to hold toys with two hands and pushes up equally with both hands when he's on his tummy.  I think it's something that I wouldn't even notice if I weren't a therapist and trained to look for those things. 

I met with his guardian ad litem a little over a week ago, who filled me in on a lot of things, including why Dad didn't get him several weeks ago and where Mom is currently.  I still haven't actually talked with Tank's caseworker since he was placed almost four weeks ago!  We have left messages back and forth on voice mails, but have never connected, which seems odd.  He also had a family visit (I'm assuming with dad) today, but I only found out about it when I picked Tank up from daycare, and the daycare workers said he had been gone for a few hours... so that has aggravated me.  Both sets of Tank's grandparents were going through the home study process to try to get him, but both were denied as of late last week.  So highly likely Tank will be around for a good while.  Court for mom is this Friday (to determine the treatment plan) so I should know more definite information after that. (Even though foster parents/children are not required to be at court in this state, I will definitely be there since I don't work on Fridays, so I can get the first-hand information on what to expect from his case.) 

Me?  Like I said, I'm sooooo tired.  And I hate washing/making bottles every night.  But we have settled into a pretty good routine, and it is so fun to have a baby in the house!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Add to That List

Add to my list of things that will be hard as a single and/or foster parent:

12. Handwashing bottles every night. One of the things that I absolutely hate is doing dishes by hand.  I will go through three cycles with the dishwasher in one day if I have a lot of pots to wash.  My mom has china that is "handwash only", and I have always sworn that if I ever get married, there will be nothing that can only be washed by hand on my registry list.  Now I am handwashing bottles, nipples, and all the other various parts and pieces, EVERY. NIGHT.  because we don't go through enough dishes to run the dishwasher every night.  Uggghhhh.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

It Happened Again

Tank had a visit with his dad this week, and he brought him a plastic box full of clothes.  Probably twenty or so pieces.  Ranging in size from 3-6 mo, up to 2T.  Just like when Evie came back with clothes in so many different sizes.  At least this might be explained by the fact that I'm not sure dad has even seen the baby in a while, and may have no clue how big he is.  But how much does it take to say, "I want to bring my child some clothes; can you find out what size he is wearing?"  Also, one of the outfits is clearly a girl's outfit:

I guess this also falls in the categories of, "I Just Don't Understand" and "Logic in My World and Your World is Totally Different." 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Four Months with Evie

Evie has been with me for four months now.  She has had a significant increase in crying in the last couple of weeks, especially at school, and usually surrounding naptime.  The crying is almost always her saying that she wants her mommy.  I'm sure at least part of the issue is that she is tired as she only gets an hour nap at school now (compared to maybe two hours at daycare), and she is now taking 2-3 hour naps on the weekends (compared to 1-1 1/2 hours before starting public school). 

We had a meeting with her caseworker a couple of weeks ago.  She said that mom has applied for low-income housing (one of the parts of her case plan) and is waiting on an opening.  She also said that they are still waiting on the psychologist's recommendations for mom, and that she thought they would have had them by now (I believe mom went to that appointment in late June or early July).  They also may be adding some other things to the treatment plan, one thing based on something Evie said at an appointment with the counselor and maybe others based on the psychologist's recommendations.  I said based on what I was told when I first got Evie, I figured she would have been home by now.  I thought mom would have done what she needed to do and have had the kids back.  But she said something that made me realize that these people don't live in the same world that I do.  She said, "DSS's minimum standard is that you keep your kids healthy and safe.  And if you end up in a situation that you can't do that, there is probably some other underlying issues that caused you to get to that point in the first place."  Hmmm, that's true.  She also said, "I'd like to say that they would be back with mom in the next several months, but I don't know..."  Wow.  Especially for a situation where I thought Evie would only be here a month or two. 

Evie's questions have definitely calmed a good bit, but there still continue to be annoying ones.  For example, tonight we had spaghetti for dinner.  She knows what spaghetti is.  We had the same exact meal originally the other night with my mom and sister and that night she exclaimed, "Yay!  Mmmm!  Spaghetti!"  Tonight she said, "I think this looks like spaghetti..... What is it anyway?"  Ummm, spaghetti. 

And last side note: Tank's guardian ad litem called me today to set up a meeting.  I have had him literally four days, and she is calling.  I have had Evie four MONTHS and have not heard a single thing from a guardian ad litem for her.  I don't know if she just doesn't have one assigned, or if they are just slack about contacting me! 

Evie is settling in well with the baby.  She loves him and gives him a kiss in the mornings when she gets out of the car to go to school. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Changing Rules and a Fire Drill

They sprung on me that Evie and Tank couldn't sleep in the same room - after I already had the baby sitting in my kitchen.  The paperwork from when I was getting licensed last year said, "Children 6 years and above must not be in the same room with children of the opposite sex."  But apparently they have lowered the age to 4.  So Tank ended up sleeping in my room Friday night until I could get space cleared in the third bedroom (Thank goodness for my mom and sister to watch the kids while I got everything somewhat organized!) 

Also, we had a fire drill as we have to do when a new child is placed, or every three months.  When I have done the two previous fire drills with Evie, I have reviewed with her ahead of time what to do in the case of a fire.  This time, I just sprung it on her as I was walking upstairs and she was about to walk downstairs with her shoes in hand.  She FREAKED OUT and started jumping around in place and had no clue to go downstairs to the door.  Once I told her to go downstairs, she was running and fell on her butt and started crying (she was ok).  I told her to go ahead so I could get the baby.  Maybe I sprung it too fast, but that really was closer to what would happen in an actual fire anyway, so I'm kind of glad it happened that way. 

My living room looks like a baby exploded in it... between the new baby gadgets, and all the clothes I have been washing!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Roller Coaster of a Week

It's been a roller coaster of a week, ending in this:

Meet Tank. (Blog name chosen for reasons that may or may not be obvious from this picture... but the child is four months old and weighs 20 pounds!)  Remember the four-month old that I said no to last weekend?  That's him. 
After I got the call last Saturday night, something told me that I should double-check with Evie's daycare to see if they had any unexpected openings for some reason.  And that if they did, I should call the placement worker back to make sure that they had found a permanent place for Tank.  Then Sunday afternoon, I was thinking about the fact that TT had said she would take another baby, and I wanted to check in and see if anyone had checked with her about fostering him.  I texted her and asked if she had gotten a call, and she said, "He's in my backseat as we speak."  I told her about my feeling that I should check with the daycare and then the new feeling that I should check with her. 
Tuesday evening, I got a text from TT asking if I ended up checking with my daycare about openings (I had, for future potential placements, and they said no space).  I asked if she had gotten him into her daycare, and she said that the situation looked like it might turn long-term (I think they had made it sound like it would just be a week or two), and the babies (Tank and Twin) both deserved more attention than she physically could give them as one person.  I said I would love to take him, and would check with the daycare to see WHEN the next spot would be opening up, and maybe she could hang in there until then.  The next morning, I also remembered that there is a daycare LITERALLY next door to Evie's that also takes ABC vouchers, and told her I would check with them to see if they had a spot.  I checked, they did, and by noon on Wednesday the plan was for me to pick him up on Thursday evening.  I went to my storage unit at lunchtime and got all the baby stuff.  Then by 2:00, when I talked to the caseworkers (mine and the child's caseworker who finally got assigned that day), the plan had changed.  Court was Friday (today) and the plan was for Tank to go with his biological dad, pending a negative drug test.  I said, "Wait a minute, I don't think TT would have been initiating a move if she knew this."  And I didn't want him to have to move Thursday night if he was just leaving Friday.  TT agreed it was best for her to keep him one more night.  So the plan changed to: he will either go home with Bio Dad on Friday, or he will come with me on Friday. 
The result - he is not going with Bio Dad (I don't know what happened there), and he is now here with me.  They said there are two other relatives that are wanting him, so it may only be another two or three weeks.  However, I have read enough of other foster parents' blogs to know that when things like that are said, they should be taken with a grain of salt!  So I'm just loving on him for whatever time he happens to be here!  It was kind of eerie, because from shortly after I got the call, something weird just told me that he was going to end up with me anyway. 
We made the transfer (and caseworker visit) before I picked up Evie from school to make things less chaotic.  After the caseworker left, Tank properly broke me in with a poopy diaper that exploded out of the top, getting poop all over the changing pad cover, his clothes, his back, and me!  So bathtime came early today. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


As we were driving to school this morning, Evie said, "Who is Homick?" 
I was thoroughly confused.  "Homick?  I don't know what you're talking about."
"You know, Homick Donald had a farm."

Monday, September 8, 2014

Four-Month Old

I got a call over the weekend for a four-month old. 

When Evie started her new daycare last month, I specifically asked them if they had any openings in their infant or one-year-old rooms (I am licensed for two, but can only take a child old enough for a bed, and a child young enough for a crib).  They said they wouldn't have any openings until November. 

So I said no to the baby.  If our daycare had space, I totally would have taken him. 

Turns out, TT said yes to him.  In addition to Twin (three months old).  Pray for her.  Poor thing's not going to get any sleep! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Meet Your New VP

After the craziness of the last Foster Parent Association meeting, we got a letter in the mail saying that there had been some changes in leadership and GoodOlBoy President and his wife (the treasurer) were no longer in office, that the VP was now the president, and that elections for a new VP and Treasurer would be held at the next meeting. 

Well, that meeting was today.  (I went into that meeting saying to myself that I would not get caught up in the craziness.)  And one of the DSS workers nominated me for the VP position, and no one else would take it, so I accepted the nomination.  (Of course I would!  *sarcasm*).  And TT seconded.  So I turned around and nominated her for Treasurer.  And she accepted. 

And we are now the new VP and Treasurer.  Great.

The end.

Emotions (cont)

I got a voice message from Evie's 4k teacher yesterday afternoon saying that Evie left the classroom in tears because she didn't want to go to her daycare, but wanted me to get her.  I felt guilty because I don't normally work on Fridays but I had to go into work in the afternoon to catch up on some paperwork so there was no way I could go get her until about 4:00.  But when I picked her up from daycare, she offered the information that she was crying at school (before I even asked) because she wanted her mom, and "I haven't even gone back with her yet."  So it had nothing to do with me picking her up, she just wants to go "home" to bio mom.  I guess she is having reality hit her that this is more than just a brief situation.  From what the caseworker has said, it will probably be several more months at least.  Anyone have any suggestions on how to help her get through this?

Monday, September 1, 2014


Oh, boy, the emotions are running high here in the last couple of days.  Well, I guess just the crying emotion.  Evie has been crying a lot in the last couple of days, which is pretty out of character for her.  She went through a period of a couple of weeks back in late June/early July when she would cry at the drop of a hat, but she's been pretty emotionally stable since then. 

But yesterday... yesterday... she bawled twice because my nephew wouldn't play with her.  I reminded her that sometimes people don't want to play the same thing (like when she didn't want to play princesses with my goddaughter, causing the goddaughter to cry/pout).  Then she fell asleep on the way home.  I could tell she was really tired when I got her out of the car because she was pretty disoriented so I walked her up to her room to finish her nap.  When she laid down, she started crying and saying that she wanted her mom.  I knew she was tired, so I sat there and rubbed her back until she stopped crying and could go back to sleep.  But then when she woke up, (she usually just walks downstairs when she wakes up) I heard her bawling in her bed that she wanted her mom.  Then this morning I was combing her hair out in the bathtub, and she suddenly started crying that it hurt (it was a little more tangled than usual but not much). 

Maybe it's because she's due a visit with mom (one is scheduled for tomorrow).  Maybe it's because she's out of sorts because she has been home with me for 4 1/2 of the last 6 days (home sick a day and a half last week and three day weekend now).  Maybe my patience is thinner because I have been home with her for 4 1/2 of the last 6 days.  I'm hoping it's one of those things, and that having a visit with mom tomorrow and getting back on a regular school/work schedule for both of us tomorrow will help get things back to normal around here. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Random Goings-On

A couple of weeks ago, my new friend "TT" (the other single foster mom in my neighborhood) came over to visit with her 3-month old foster daughter "Twin" (I chose this blog name because she has the exact same skin complexion as Evie, and also has the same name as Evie's brother; I thought "Sister" might be confusing because she is not actually related).  I had taken the afternoon off of work to take Evie to school orientation, so we were home early and able to entertain visitors at a normal hour during the week.  TT went through a couple of boxes of infant winter clothes I had (thanks mostly to Becky, Amy, and Priscilla) and borrowed about half of them.  I'm glad that my semi-hoarding tendencies are helping a fellow foster mom out!  It was nice to have some adult conversation, especially with someone who understands the craziness of foster care.  TT seems like a very positive person (I try not to surround myself in any negativity), and I have a feeling that this is going to be a great friendship. 


The next Tuesday afternoon (Evie's first day of school), I got a text from TT saying that she was just told that day that she couldn't bring Twin to an adoption meeting she was going to that night, and asking if there was any way I could keep her for a couple of hours.  I was planning on taking Evie out for ice cream to celebrate the first day of school, but figured I could just take the baby along, too.  (I decided to go ahead and do dinner at the ice cream parlor, too, since it would be 6:00 by the time we got there).  I ended up meeting her in the parking lot at my work at about 5:15, and she said, "She'll be ready to eat about 6:00, and just so you know, she hates the car."  Twin screamed for the whole 15-minute ride to pick up Evie.  We went and had dinner and ice cream, I fed the baby while we were there, and I must say I handled the juggling like a champ.  ;)  Twin was much happier on the way home, probably because she had a full belly. 


I usually go to Zumba at the gym on Friday mornings, but a couple of weeks ago I decided to sleep in (or go back to bed after taking Evie to school).  Instead, Evie and I went to "Family Zumba" that evening because my favorite Friday morning instructor was also teaching that night.  She had a great time, but complained that she was tired after about 40 minutes of class.  The instructor totally called her out on it, though, and then she picked up the pace again. 


I had to take the afternoon off again this week to pick up Evie from school at 2 and then return for preschool testing at 3.  We went and visited my friend in her classroom at the intermediate school next door in the interim.  The testing only took less than 30 minutes, so I looked at the gym schedule and I saw there was a dance class for 3-11 year olds, so we headed over and she had a great time at the class by herself while I ran on the treadmill upstairs.  They started and ended the class with "Let it Go", so I'm sure that that helped.  Afterwards, we went over to visit TT and Twin.


Speaking of Let it Go, THIS.


Evie has pretty much had a constant cold for the last almost six weeks.  She'll get better for about three or four days, and then the coughing, sneezing, and yellow snot is back.  I'm now wondering if it's more allergies than cold.  But whatever it is, it has sent her into asthma flare-ups, and she has been on three rounds of steroids to control (once at pediatrician, once at pediatrics after-hours care clinic, and once in ER - at 2 am after coughing every 1-2 minutes for two hours). 

We have also made an additional trip to the after-hours clinic when one Sunday at the grocery store Evie's left eye began watering constantly and the skin on her entire forehead and cheek around the eye turned red.  When she complained that her throat also hurt, I started worrying that maybe she was having an anaphylactic reaction to something and didn't know how to articulate that her throat was closing up.  Freaked me out.  They said it was probably a sensitivity to something she touched in the grocery store, and sent us on our way with allergy eye drops and a prescription for Zyrtec.  It all cleared up by the next day. 

THEN I got a call from the school yesterday to go pick her up because she had a 100.6 degree fever.  I brought her home and the fever was down below 100.  She slept for 3 1/2 hours, and the fever was back up over 101 when she woke up.   She still had a little bit of a fever this morning, so I kept her out of school again today.  She has mostly felt fine today, but her temperature has fluctuated a bit, so I'm not sure what's going on. 

We have an appointment with the pediatrician in the morning to discuss if we need a different control plan for the asthma, to discuss the possibility of this being allergies vs head cold, and also now to see if we can figure out what the cause of the fever is.  I actually have an inkling suspicion it may be walking pneumonia because her breathing is crackly, too. 


We went up to Greenville to visit a friend of mine last weekend, and then went to an apple orchard in North Carolina with her and her three girls.  The trip was the same day as the ER middle-of-the-night visit.  I decided to go ahead and go because she was feeling better and had steroids to control the wheezing, and my friend's husband is a pediatrician so I knew we were in good hands up there, too.  The girls had a great time together, and Evie was fine.

 She didn't end up going to sleep Friday until almost 10:00 - when regular bedtime is 8:00 - but still got up at normal time of 7.  So she ended up falling asleep on the way home from the apple orchard, and slept for almost FOUR hours, when I had to drag her up out of bed.

And the girls put on a dance show.  So fun.


Evie LOVES school.  Last Sunday (the first weekend after she started school), she said no less than ten times randomly, "I'm so glad/excited/happy I'm going to school tomorrow!" And often tagged on, "I miss Miss A [her teacher]!"


Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

First Day of School

Evie had her first day of school on Tuesday.  We had been to Orientation last week so she met the teacher and saw her classroom.  She was very excited about going.  I took her to school and told her that she would ride the bus to daycare after school, and I would pick her up after work from there.  She said she wanted to ride the bus to get to school, especially when she saw the bus in the neighborhood.  I walked her in, took a picture with her teacher, she sat down in the hall with the rest of her class, and I was off. 

I meant to call the daycare in the middle of the afternoon to check to make sure she got there ok.  But around the same time (also running between patients), I got a text from the other foster mom in my neighborhood (she's going to have to get a blog name because I'm sure she will keep showing up) saying she needed a last-minute sitter for her baby, so I was trying to coordinate with her about that. 

When I got to the daycare, the director said that Evie was on the wrong bus, but that the driver of the "wrong" bus brought her to the daycare anyway and all was well.  When I investigated the situation, here's how it went down.  I looked at a bus route list at Orientation, which said she was supposed to be on Bus 25.  Bus 25 was what was written on the tag on her bookbag (telling everyone where kids are supposed to go), and that was the bus she was put on.  However, at some point between Orientation the week before and the first day of school, the routes had changed and Bus 25 no longer went to her daycare.  I understand that things change, but there has to be some process for letting parents/teachers know what the changes are.  The teacher said a new list was put in her box, and she got it on Tuesday afternoon; and that no changes were highlighted, it was just a list.  I called the bus company today, and asked what their process was, and the only thing they could say was that the principals had the new lists on Monday.  I will be writing a well-worded letter in the next few days to the bus company and the principal to see if they can come up with any better process than that, so four-year-olds don't end up on the wrong bus in future years. 

Overall, she enjoyed her day at school, and she is already singing a bunch of songs that she has heard there (and making up the words/tune when she can't remember them).  She said she cried on the bus the first day (I don't think due to the route error, just because she had never been on a bus by herself before), and that she didn't make any friends the first day (I think because she didn't know any of their names).  But she loves it after a few days, and is very proud that she has walked into school by herself the last couple of days. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Where Do Babies Come From?

Evie started 4K today.  Full details coming. 
But in the meantime, here's a funny story from this weekend. 
We were driving in the car, and randomly/out of the blue, Evie said, "I wonder who brought me to my mom."
She has periodically mentioned the investigator who removed her from the home; and asked who is going to take her back to her mom and how the process will be.  So I thought she was referencing this in some way. 
So I asked, "What do you mean?"
"Well, I think it was either Jesus or a bird [I'm assuming she meant stork], but I don't know." 
Made me laugh.  Kids are so funny even when they are not meaning to be. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Master Artist

I found this the other day:
Evie colored it in the first few weeks she was with me.
It really floored me.  I had forgotten that this is how she colored. 
It made me also remember that when she first came, when she would draw, it would be a bunch of random lines and scribbles.
Now she draws flowers and butterflies and people and cats and houses.
And writes letters of the alphabet.
And she colors like this:
Look at all the different colors, and how she stays in the lines. 
And that post-it at the top of the page?  It's covering up where she wrote her name.
I can't believe all the changes she is making!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Music Monday: The Best of What's Around

I was listening to this Dave Matthews Band song last week, and one line really struck me. 
If you hold on tight to what you think is your thing, you may find you're missing all the rest. 
I've always liked the rest of this song
"Turns out not where but who you're with that really matters"
"And if nothing can be done, we'll make the best of what's around"
"See you and me have a better time than most can dream"
I've always been one to make the best of the situation, to believe that everything ALWAYS works out the way it is supposed to in the end, to surround myself with positive people like myself who would make me laugh in a terrible situation rather than help me stew in my misery, and to truly love and enjoy life. 
But that one line If you hold on tight to what you think is your thing, you may find you're missing all the rest hit me the last time I heard this song. 
I have always believed that one day I would have a husband and kids.  (Side note: I have never felt an overwhelming desire to BEAR those children.  I always knew that kid[s] might come to me in a non-traditional way.)  Maybe I still will have that.  But my vision of kids linked with a marriage prevented me from taking the leap into foster parenting for a long time.  I felt like if I made the decision to do the "kid" thing without a husband, I was also actively making the decision to give up on the dream of having that husband.  But what if THIS is the wonderful life that was planned for me?  And better yet, what if THIS is the path that leads to the partner that is meant for me?  What if I would have missed out on the best part of life ("all the rest") by not making this decision ("hold on tight to what [I] think is [my] thing")?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Was That ME Talking Just Now?

I have had two instances today where I heard myself talking out of my child's mouth.

Evie was fixing us some fake sandwiches with her M*elissa & D*oug set.  She told me she was putting tomato on mine. 
Me: "But I don't like tomatoes." 
Evie: "But you have to eat them.  Remember I had to eat that red stuff [peppers]."
Me: "Yes, sometimes you still have to eat things even when you don't like them."

Evie was brushing and "braiding" my hair.  Of course it got tangled in the process, and then she pulled it really hard with the brush.
Evie: "Did that hurt?"
Me: "Yes"
Evie: "I'm sorry.  But we have to get the tangles out."
[Oh, how many times I have told her that while brushing her hair... especially in those first couple of weeks!]

At least she's listening!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I Don't Understand

Evie had a visit with her mom today. 

Side note: From other blogs I have read, in some other states, the foster parent is required to transport the child to and from the parent visits that are supervised by DSS.  And/or the child is required to be at court dates, and the foster parent is required to transport them there, too.  Not in my state.  The social worker transports the child to parent visits, and neither the child (nor the foster parent) is required to be at court.  So for anyone looking into fostering, realize that every state is different in terms of what the foster parent's responsibilities are. 

First of all, her half-brother who lives in another state was there.  He is staying with his mom for the week (this is at least the second time this summer that he has been here to visit).  I DO NOT understand how a child is staying - especially for an extended period of time - in an environment that was deemed unsafe for Evie and her brother J.  I do not understand how DSS is allowing another child to stay there.  And I don't understand how Mom is okay with having her two kids watch their half-brother stay with her, when they aren't allowed to stay with her themselves. 

Second of all, Evie came back with about ten pieces of clothing from her mom, ranging in size from 2T to 5.  The child is almost five years old, and was in the 75th percentile for both height and weight even when I got her.  I understand if maybe you don't know what size your kid wears, especially because they haven't been with you for the last three months.  But why in the world would anyone think that a size 2T would fit the same child that a size 5 would fit?!  AND even though there is some variation in sizing between brands, etc, two of the items were the exact same skirt, one in size 2T and the other in size 4.  Common sense says at least one of these will definitely not fit. 

I guess having common sense doesn't usually land your kid in foster care.

You Live, You Learn

About a week and a half ago, Evie's daycare called me - at 3:30 - and said they didn't think she felt very well... that she hadn't eaten lunch or snack, had been coughing all day, and didn't sleep at nap because she was coughing too much.  When I picked her up, she looked and sounded pitiful.  She was coughing non-stop, her eyes were red and watering, and she could barely keep them open.  I took her to the doctor, she was having an asthma exacerbation, he gave her some steroids, and she was feeling much better by the next morning.  Just in time for me to end up with a low-grade fever and feel like crap all weekend. 

She had a follow-up appointment a week later (Friday), and the doctor said she sounded good even though she was occasionally coughing once or twice at a time. 

The last couple of days, her coughing has increased and I have had to use the rescue inhaler in the middle of the night.  I decided to go ahead and take her to the doctor this morning to try to catch it before it turned into another asthma exacerbation.  He said she only had one little wheeze when he listened, it probably was just another cold, and just to use the rescue inhaler four times a day for this week. 

Then I picked her up from daycare today, and she was coughing non-stop.  This evening she looked exactly what she looked like a week and a half ago - her eyes swollen, red, and watering.  I guess there may be another doctor visit in our future tomorrow morning. 

I am not the kind of person to run to the doctor the minute there's a little something wrong with me.  I don't want to be the kind of parent to go running to the doctor unnecessarily, either.  But I don't want to mess around with the asthma... and obviously she needed to go the other week when she ended up on steroids.  Apparently trying to stay on top of things today is not going to prevent a doctor's visit tomorrow.  You live, you learn. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Foster Parent Association Meeting

Oh. my.  That's the best way to sum up this meeting.

I wanted to go to the meeting for several reasons:  I wanted to connect with other foster parents in the area.  I wanted to get continuing education hours (I was told when there are speakers at the meetings, you get credit for hours), and/or to find out where I could get hours.  I wanted to get any "inside" information to the workings of my county's foster care system. 

When I walked in and introduced myself by my first name, another girl asked me my last name.  She said, "Oh, you're the one who lives in my neighborhood!"  The licensing worker had told me there was another foster parent in my neighborhood, but couldn't give me her number because she hadn't gotten permission.  I had given her permission to pass my information on, but no one ever contacted me.  Turns out this other foster mom is also single, started her licensing process about the same time I did (but received her license about three months before I did), and lives about a ten-minute walk away.  We exchanged phone numbers and said we would try to meet up sometime this week. 

And then it all went downhill from there.

The meeting started about 15 minutes late, by Mr. GoodOlBoy President.  I gather that there were elections at the last meeting for secretary and vice president (but not for president and treasurer?  I'm still not exactly clear on this), and GoodOlBoy was saying that he would like to conduct business by the executive committee (i.e. officers) meeting and deciding things, and then conveying them to the association.  That didn't sit well with many of the members who said that any business of the Association should be discussed with all of the members.  He said for example, where and when to have the Christmas party just had to be decided by the officers because you will never please everyone.  (I agree; but feel that people still want to have input, even if that is not what is ultimately decided.)  I think people started saying that they would like to investigate some other possibilities for Christmas party venue for this year.  And the two DSS workers that were present (that are not "association" members) suggested to have it in the next town over (about 15 minutes away) to possibly draw interest from foster parents in the other end of the county (We live in a rural county that is spread out over about 1200 square miles.)  GoodOlBoy explained that he had connections and had already talked to them about helping out with the party; he couldn't just go back on them; and that if he weren't involved anymore, many of them would not help the Association anymore because "they trust GoodOlBoy President" (often referring to himself in the third person and by first and last names).  This went on for AN. HOUR.  I was never sure exactly what was trying to be accomplished or what was going on, but he kept saying things like, "You listen at GoodOlBoy President" and "I know what I'm talking about."  He said that if things got moved to a different location, "things would get corrupt."  (I have NO CLUE what he meant by that!)  Even though it was strange, and there was no direction, never did anyone raise their voice or walk out of the room or shake their finger at anyone. 

So after an hour of this, someone said to table this until the next meeting so that we could have our DSS workers do their talk for our continuing education credit.  After they were done, GoodOlBoy asked the DSS workers to leave.  He said he would never again conduct Foster Parent Association business with non-members (i.e. DSS workers) present, that they had no business saying things about trying to move the Christmas party venue, etc.  He said that "never in my 20 years of doing this have I had a meeting get out of hand like this one"; when someone asked how specifically he thought it got out of hand, he said that everyone was making random decisions about the party and stuff.  He said that "I'm going to have to do a lot of praying about this" and "I honestly pray you guys vote me out" (he has been part of the Association for 20 years, and I'm gathering president for a really really really long time). 

I kind of hope he gets voted out, too.  This is the first meeting I've been to, but it seems like this county's Foster Parent Association needs some change.

Again, Oh. my.

At least I got SOMETHING out of the meeting - I got connected with another single foster mom that lives in my neighborhood.