Thursday, January 29, 2015


Court that was supposed to be tomorrow is continued.  (For those not familiar with the foster care system, that basically means that they are not having it at this time and that it will be rescheduled.)  This court date was basically an interim date anyway, after court in December, to reconvene and determine the results of the home inspection and if the kids could go home.  But in light of the issue that surfaced this week, the kids are not going home right now so court would just be a waste of time.  I would expect the next court date to be scheduled no less than eight weeks from now. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

So Close

Court for Evie is this Friday.  Up until this week, it was looking fairly certain that the kids would go home at this court date. 

Then today.  Today the caseworker tells me that something else has been brought to light just yesterday.  So now it is looking fairly certain that the kids will NOT go home on Friday.  At best, it would be next week after things are cleared up.  Otherwise, it may be several months or more. 

Court should be interesting.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dear Tank

Dear Tank,

The days leading up to you leaving me, and the day I had to let you go, were torture.  But your aunt called me the day after you left to let me know how you were, and then again a few days later to let me know that your surgery went well.  And I think because of that, the days since you left haven't been nearly as hard as I imagined they would be. 

But I still miss you.

I miss the sweet smile that was constantly on your face.

I miss the way you would open and close your fists, and flex and extend your feet, when you were excited or happy.

I miss your chubby little big wrists and ankles.

I miss the way you would grab my face and bump your forehead against mine and then laugh.

I miss hearing your sweet babble when you woke up in the mornings.

I miss all of your tickle spots - pretty much every inch of your body, but especially your collarbones and your belly.

I miss singing you "The Rainbow Connection" at bedtime. 

I miss your viral-video-worthy laugh when Evie would sing to you.

I miss the way you would light up when I walked into daycare to pick you up, even when you were sick.

I miss how you would dance on your knees while playing your little piano.

I miss how excited you would get when you saw the cat, or any dog.

I miss how you could hold your own bottle, but would let go as soon as I touched it, especially at night.

I miss how you would snuggle into my chest to go to sleep.

I miss how cute you looked in your little monkey or dog matching hat/glove sets.

I miss your infectious laugh and sweet constant smile.

I miss you.

As I write this and tear up, I realize that maybe it hasn't been so hard because I've tried not to think about all these things. 

I have a bag of your stuff that I found after you left, so I hope that I can get to see you soon to give it to you. 

But mostly I hope with everything in me that you are happy and thriving and being loved and snuggled just as much as you were here. 

Love you always,
Mama A

The 100th Post - Nightly Phone Calls

Evie has talked to her mom every night at bedtime since she has been here.  There have been many times that it has been inconvenient.  And I sometimes have wondered if it's really good for Evie to talk every night and bring up raw emotions of missing her mom.  I definitely had gotten to the point months ago where I decided that I definitely would not make nightly phone calls the norm with the next child that is placed with me.  But that is what Evie is used to, and it wasn't really causing a problem (other than being somewhat inconvenient sometimes), so I was not going to change things on her. 

There have been a few times we have called in the car, or at someone else's house, because we weren't going to be home until late.  And even once or twice where Evie only wanted to talk a minute or two because she was really tired, or wanted to go play with a friend.  But it was never a problem. 

Then there was New Year's Eve.  We were at some friends' house for a party.  Evie pretty much got on the phone and said she wanted to go ahead and say her prayers and hang up, because she wanted to go back to play with the other kids.  Her mom got upset and started crying because Evie didn't want to talk.  Then her grandmother got on the phone and told Evie that she needed to talk to her mom because she never gets to see her, and that she had hurt mom's feelings and needed to apologize.  Then when mom got back on the phone, Evie got upset and started crying, saying that she wanted mom.  I nipped it in the bud and pretty much just hung up the phone before she got even more upset.  I found out the day after New Year's that the family had called the caseworker worried about Evie from that phone call, saying that there was cursing in the background (we weren't even in the same room as anyone else), Evie was the only child there (every couple there except one had a child), and that there was drinking and we were going to drive home (we were staying over at their house). 

I should have ended the nightly phone calls right then and there.  But I'm a soft-hearted person, and felt that it was really the grandmother that was stirring things up, so decided Evie could talk to only her mom and dad on the phone, and only if no one else was around.  I did decide that if we were ever out of routine again (not at home or not going to bed at a normal time), we just weren't going to call because it had just caused problems. 

Then there was another situation last weekend where I texted saying we wouldn't be calling because I wasn't going to be home by bedtime, and they started questioning who was staying at the house with her while I was out. 

I decided the routine was no longer going to be that we call every night, because calling every night meant that they were getting information EVERY NIGHT about what we were doing each day, and I felt like that information was starting to be used as ammunition against me.  I feel bad for Evie because she was so used to the routine of calling every night.  She has cried every day this week at school or daycare (always over something little, not specifically missing mom or not being able to call her).  And even though it looks very likely that Evie will go home after court next Friday, I just didn't want something to come up in that two weeks that was really going to damage me.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Music Monday: Help!

Along with my post today, here is a song to go along for Music Monday:

Asking for Help

I recently read this article entitled, "We Need to Stop Saying, 'Let Me Know if You Need Anything'." It talks about how instead of saying, "Let me know if you need anything" when we know that someone needs something, we should just DO something instead.  The author also discusses how he didn't want to put people out by having them do menial tasks for him and his wife in their time of need. 

I can relate.  There are lots of things that I could use help with, but I'm not going to ask for help with most of them.  For me personally, part of the reason is I don't want to be rejected.  It doesn't bother me for someone to say, "Oh, I'm sorry, that time/task/etc just doesn't work for me" (partly because that person is probably going to follow up with, "But I can help at this other time/with this other task/etc.")  I DON'T want to hear a response with the undertones of, "Yes, I COULD do that, but it's just not something I'm comfortable with" or "Mmmmm, I just don't think so."  I'd rather just do it myself. 

I'm not going to ask for random help with little tasks (like those on my honey-do list for my dad when he said he was coming to my house for the day to do stuff), unless someone very specifically asks for me to give them a task.  And I'm only going to ask for help keeping the kids if I REALLY have something I want/need to be gone for. 

But being a single parent is HARD.  Being a single foster parent is even harder since there is no second parent to share in ANY of the responsibility, like take the child every other weekend or occasionally pick him up from daycare when I have to work late.  Single parents who have no second parent in their lives fall into the same boat. 

I'm still not really going to ask for help.  But here are some things that would be tremendously helpful to me.  If you know a single foster parent, they probably would be tremendously helpful to them, too. 
- Come hang out with the kid(s) for an hour while I go to the grocery store.
- Come to my house and do dishes, laundry, vacuum, or clean the bathroom.
- Ask what random task around the house needs to be done.  There is always something extra that I don't have time for, after the day-to-day tasks get done. 
- Invite my child for a playdate with yours, either with or without me.  I could use the alone time, but I also could use the adult interaction.
- Have the kid(s) stay at your house overnight on Friday or Saturday (or even come get them first thing in the morning and take them to your house) so that I can sleep in for a few hours.
- Bring us a meal that we just have to throw in the crockpot, or just heat up.  This is especially helpful in the first few weeks after we get a new placement.  Remember the overwhelmed feeling you got for the first month or two or three after you had a new baby, as you tried to find a new routine and get used to the personality of this new little being in your house?  Well that happens EVERY time we get a new placement.  That little being probably won't be here forever like your baby will be (and may only stick around a few weeks), but the adjustment period and the floundering to find a new routine that works for everyone is just as real and difficult.  I don't get home until at least 6:00 almost every night, and just have time to heat up leftovers, or get something out of the crockpot.  Sometimes I cook a casserole or something after the kids go to bed, so we can have it ready for the next night.
- Invite us over for dinner.

A lot of times, I think that, unlike many single parents, I CHOSE this path, and so I just have to handle it on my own.  Not only am I going to try to stop telling people, "Let me know if you need anything", I'm also going to try to actually ask for help more often.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tank Tidbits

- I had sent a note to the family member with a list of Tank's schedule, foods he has eaten already, medical information, and other stuff they may need to know; as well as my phone number and a statement of my desire to be kept updated of his progress and how he is doing.  She already called yesterday to touch base, so I'm hopeful that I will be able to continue to be a part of his life in some way. 
- When I started looking at pictures of him the last few days he was here, I realized that although I have TONS of pictures of him, I have only a handful of me and him together (and no REALLY good one).  I tried to take a few before he left but none of those turned out great either.  I regret that I didn't get on the other side of the camera more often, and I will have to remember that with Evie and future kiddos. 
- My baby is having surgery tomorrow, and it kills me that I can't be there.  He is going to be coming out of anesthesia with someone he has known for less than three days, and I just pray that things go smoothly. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

I'm the Lucky One

This morning I strapped sweet Tank into the caseworker's car and watched him drive away ran inside and had a good cry.  (Side note: The caseworker had NO CLUE how to get the carseat oriented properly, or how to strap him in correctly.  This is not the first time that kind of thing has happened.  Carseat installation and safety really should be a mandatory training for all DSS workers.)

About 30 minutes before the caseworker was set to arrive, Tank started getting really fussy.  I gave him a jar of food, but he was still fussy.  I knew if I laid him down in his crib, he would fall asleep.  But I wasn't letting that baby out of my sight for one minute today until I had to.  So we snuggled, and he finally fell asleep in my arms five minutes before the caseworker was supposed to be here.  Thank goodness she was late, so this is how I spent my last thirty minutes with him:
This is my first experience with goodbye in the foster care system, but I know it won't be my last.  I knew this was part of foster care when I signed up for it; but that doesn't make things any easier.  I also even knew that it was just a matter of time before I had to give Tank up, but I still cried all week.  Oh, how it hurts.  But I would not trade one minute I got to spend with him to take away the pain right now. 
Lots of people have told me how lucky he was to have me in his life.  But that baby was a blessing and a JOY to have here for almost four months; and in reality, I was the lucky one to have been placed with him.  I was lucky that I got to have such a sweet soul in my house for four months.  That I was the one that got to watch him blossom from a baby who pushed away when you held him to one who turned around to snuggle into my chest when he was ready to go to sleep.  That I got to watch him learn and grow, to see the first time he rolled over, got up on hands and knees, transitioned back to sitting, started crawling and pulling up to his knees (and twice to his feet), and started clapping.  That I was the one that got to see other milestones - his first baby food and his first tooth.  That I got to listen to that infectious laugh every day he was here.  That I got to see his little personality develop.  Even that I was the one that got to nurse him when he had four ear infections in eight weeks, and to change all the nasty diapers that came with the antibiotics. 
I will cherish every snuggle, every belly laugh, every smile, and every facial expression for the rest of my life. 


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Three Days

I found out today that they will be picking Tank up on Friday morning to go live with his relative.
Even though I knew what I was getting into when I became a foster parent; and even though I knew this particular goodbye was probably coming any day now, I spent most of the evening in tears. 
I plan to spend the next three days soaking in every minute of sweetness from that baby that I can.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Emotions - Again

Evie is going through another phase of crying a lot, starting after a visit with mom on Tuesday.  She woke up in the middle of the night that night crying that she wanted her mom.  Last night we were over at some friends' house for New Years Eve, and when we called her mom, she didn't really want to talk because she wanted to get back to playing with her friend.  Her mom started crying, and then the grandmother got on the phone and fussed at her for not talking to her mom; which then made Evie start crying once mom got back on the phone, and saying, "Mommy, I want you!!" (I'm certain all stirred up from the grandmother's fussing - she was totally fine and happy before that.)  (We call her mom every night, but be certain that after that drama last night, we will not be calling again on a night that we are not home and in routine.)  Tonight when talking to her mom on the phone, she started crying and asking when she was going to get to go back home with her mom. 

This usually goes in waves, so hopefully she'll be settled out again soon.