3 Weeks and 1 Day Later

We have another foster placement.

On Wednesday night, we added a baby girl to our home.

She is now 8 days old and one of the tiniest babies I’ve ever had, but oh so precious.

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She went to the doctor today and is up to a whopping 5 lbs 8 ozs.  I’m not sure how much she weighed when she was handed to us, but I know she lost weight in the hospital which put her under 5 lbs.  I’m just glad to know she’s gaining, although I expected she probably was since her eating has gotten better in the very short time we’ve had her.

Lili and Naomi are “thrilled” to have a baby in the house.  I’m also happy that she’s here, although feeling pretty tired.  It’s been a very, very long time since I’ve done the up every two hours routine 🙂

Having a newborn in the house has also been a learning experience for the girls.  We’ve been able to talk about babies and how to best meet their needs.  We’re also taking a picture of Baby Girl each day and will put the pictures in a photo album so we can see just how quickly and how much she changes.

So far, so good.

Quiet Phase

Our little foster son left this week to go live with his grandma.  Baby brother wasn’t released from the hospital until a few days after grandma was granted placement of the boys, so our plans for the baby never grew to fruition.

This all happened on Tuesday.  Now it’s Friday and other than a couple of phone calls of possible placements, we currently have no foster children in our care.  Our house has been very quiet the last three days, that’s for sure.

I’m ready for a little more noise and chaos again, although the idea of kids not being removed from their homes is a pleasant thought.  Granted, I realize that is just wishful thinking.  Being bombarded with phone calls about children needing homes gives me mixed feelings.  I’m excited about the possibility of caring for children who need us and at the same time I’m depressed that so many children need us.

Thus is life of a foster parent I suppose.

 

 

Things Moved Quickly Around Here

On Monday evening the girls left.

On Tuesday, I was heading back from Illinois and received two calls from our agency with possible placements.  Because I wouldn’t be home for a few more hours, they looked elsewhere.

I arrived home early Tuesday evening and later than evening got another call from our agency.   We accepted the placement, but before our agency could get us approved, another family was selected.

On Wednesday I received two more phone calls, but didn’t accept either placement.

On Thursday, the entire day went by without a call from our agency.  After dinner, our agency called again with another potential placement.  We accepted and around 8:00 p.m. CPS came to our door with a 2-yr-old little boy.  On Monday, we’ll be getting his newborn baby brother from the hospital.

Each placement is special and challenging in different ways.  You begin learning more about the lives of these children as time goes on and my heart breaks for each of them.  No child should endure neglect or abuse, but it happens all too often.

For the little boy we have now (who I’ll AC for privacy), we are quickly figuring out what his home life.  He has learned many things that we’ll be working to correct.  I’ll need to take him in for testing to determine where he is developmentally.  He is getting used to having two older children in his daily life, which is new for him.  Soon, he’ll be getting used to having a baby brother here as well.  He must get used to new rules or possibly rules for the first time.  He is trying to get to know our family in the same way we’re getting to know him.  This is a lot for adults, let alone a two-year-old.

When certain behaviors arise, I have to remind myself that he is two and going thru more than any child should endure right now.

Parenting is challenging.  Foster parenting adds another layer to parenting challenges and we must do our best to make sure this little boy and his brother are given love, stability and a chance to reach their fullest potential while in our care.  We don’t know how long we are given to positively impact these little lives, so we must make the most of each and every day.

Moving On

After getting word that the judge granted placement of our foster daughters to their grandmother, we finally found out last Thursday that they would be moving the following Monday.  To say the timing was bad, would be an understatement as we had plans to go to Galveston and then on to Illinois from there the following day.  It was a trip that couldn’t be rescheduled, so we had to make a decision on whether or hubby stayed home or I stayed with the girls while the other travelled.  Eventually, we decided hubby would stay and I would make the trip.

On Friday morning, we got up early, got dressed, packed the van and got ready to leave.  Our precious foster daughters were still asleep, so I gave them each a kiss and told them good-bye.  Not how I wanted to say good-bye, but waking them was just not an option.

I loaded Lili, Naomi and our Illinois visitors into the van and as I was putting the address in the GPS, hubby walked out with baby girl.  I saw her and tears began rolling down my cheeks.

This baby came to us at 5 months old.  She was a little behind developmentally and going thru withdrawal from exposure to meth.  I was now saying good-bye to an 8-month-old, who was sitting up, scooting herself around on her bottom (like Lili did as a baby), and who had become very attached to us.  She grew and changed so much in three short months and saying good-bye was breaking this momma’s heart into pieces.

I got out of the van with tears streaming down my cheeks and took her from hubby.  I kissed her chubby little cheeks, told her how much I loved and said good-bye.  Then we passed her to the girls so they could say good-bye.

She had absolutely no idea what was going on and wasn’t expecting her life to change yet again.  Yet is was and I could only hope that it was changing for the better since she would be with biological family.

I got everyone settled and climbed back in the van when hubby brought out big sister.  She had woken up and was sitting in the living room when he went back in the house.

Tears again began flowing down my cheeks as I watched her say good-bye to Lili and Naomi.  She was so stoic and then she turned to me.  I picked her up and she began to sob.  She did understand what was about to happen and she had very mixed emotions about it.  She had grown to love us as much as we had grown to love her.  She found her place in our family.  She felt safe, secure and loved.  Now she was saying good-bye to three of members of the family she spent the most time with in the three months she was with us.  I was her mommy for three months and she called me mommy.  Again, I had to send her off hoping her life would somehow be better.

When our son died, someone described the pain of losing a loved one as an open hole in your heart in the shape of that person.  The edges are raw and painful in the beginning.  Then over time the edges began to heal, but that hole remains to never be filled again.

Fortunately though, the heart grows bigger, so there is always room for more love.

My heart grew with these little girls in my life, but now has two more holes.  Pieces of my heart, in the shape of two beautiful little girls have gone with them.

When we got home Tuesday evening, the girls were gone.  The house feels much larger and is very quiet, yet no one can take away the memories I have of the time we were together.

They have moved on and now we wait for our lives to be filled again with other children who need the love and safety of a new home and family.  Not children to replace our precious little girls, but children who will help our hearts grow as we learn to love and accept them into our family.

Foster care means moving on, while never forgetting those who have touched our lives.

 

Foster Care Changes

Last week we were informed that the girls would be leaving us this week.  It’s now Thursday night and they are still with us.  We don’t want them to leave, so we’re happy things didn’t work out as we were told.  However, today we were informed that they will be leaving Monday.  Inspections and paperwork will be completed tomorrow and we will be given a pick up time for Monday.

We are very sad to see them go, but what makes this even more difficult is that we had plans to leave tomorrow for a trip to the beach and then to Illinois from there.  Our summer visitors from Illinois have been here for the last couple of weeks and it’s time for them to return home, so plans had to change.  Instead of traveling together as a family, hubby will be staying home to take care of our foster daughters while Lili, Naomi and I hit the road.

Not the best timing, but foster care changes happen and we had to be flexible for the sake of these little girls that were entrusted to us.  If we were to all go to Illinois, they would have been put in respite care and then taken from respite and moved to grandma on Monday while we are gone.  That would simply be cruel.  They deserve to stay in the home they’ve known for the last three months until they move to be with their other siblings and grandmother.

So tonight will be the last night I spend with these precious little girls.  They will forever have a piece of my heart and I send them off hoping that they know how much I love and care for them.

 

Coming and Going

On May 9th, we received a call asking us to take in two little girls as a foster placement.

After almost 3 months in our home and lives, they will be leaving.  They will not be returning to mom and dad, but will go live with grandma.

I have a ton of mixed emotions about this move, many are selfish, but some are legitimate concerns.  Still, I have to hold on to the hope that all will work out well for these little ones and that we’ve been a positive influence in their young lives.

Sometime between Tuesday and Thursday, their case worker will come to pick them up and take them to grandma.  Until then, we will continue to love and care for them

We will miss them dearly and cherish the time we’ve had with them, then sadly, it won’t be long after that our agency calls us with another placement.  Once again we will be caring for children who need a safe and loving environment while their parents work on challenges in their own lives.

This is the life of foster families and foster children across America and as much as I wish there was no need for foster care, I’m happy we are able to be one of the thousands of homes for these children.

It Took Longer Than I Planned

I said I would be back, although I really didn’t plan on waiting this long to come back.

Life has been a little hectic and quite honestly, it’s a little challenging to blog right now.  Not because there is a shortage of stories and information to share, but because I have to be careful about what I share regarding my foster children.  Obviously, I can’t post pictures.  I can’t give out their names.  I can’t share details.  So let me share the latest.

Things have been going well.  Very well in fact!  Of the six foster children we’ve had, these two have been the easiest.  Not that any of them were terribly difficult, but challenges and foster children just go hand-in-hand.  Heck, challenges and children in general just go hand-in-hand 🙂

Little Bit came to us at 5-month of age.  She was a bit behind developmentally and I had never seen a baby spit up as much as she did.  After a change of formula the spit-up is greatly reduced.  Not that it’s stopped altogether, but it there a definite improvement.  We’ve spent a lot of time holding her upright, giving her a lot of attention and plenty of  floor time.  It appears to have paid off as she is not only on target developmentally now, but is ahead in some areas.  Good stuff!!!!

Big Sis also came to us with some struggles, primarily in speech.  We have seen some definite improvement with her as well, although she will likely need some speech therapy this school year.

She and Naomi have hit it off quite well, which is both good and bad.  They enjoy playing dress-up, playing with Barbie, singing, dancing, playing video games and swimming.  Swimming has been her biggest achievement to date.  She was scared the first time she got in the pool, but can now swim across the pool with ease.  She is also able to jump in, turn around and swim back to the side.  We’ve working a bit on diving down to get boys off the bottom of the pool and treading water.  Both are still a challenge for her, but she is really starting to get floating on her back.  We still make her wear a life vest in the pool when she’s playing with the girls, but when we’re in with her, we take it off and let her practice her new-found swimming skills.

Like I said, having children around is not without challenges.  Probably the biggest challenge is getting the middle two to not leave others out when playing and getting Naomi to be less bossy.  Naomi has really enjoyed having an older sister role, but there is a learning curve and she has struggled a bit on that curve.

Both Lili and Naomi have been very helpful with the girls and the baby is quite fond of both of them.

Sadly, we don’t know if they’ll be with us much longer.  On Friday, there will be a hearing to determine placement.  Only one of their parents was charged this time (sad to say this wasn’t the first time the parents have had their children removed).  As a result, they have requested that the children be returned to the non-offending parent or given to grandma.  Honestly, we don’t know what to expect, but are trying to prepare for the call that we need to pack up their things so CPS can remove them from our care and turn them over to parent or grandma.

Foster care certainly isn’t easy.  On one hand, you want them to be together with family  On the other hand, you question whether or not family is the best choice for them.

Until then, we’ll continue to love them, provide them stability and enjoy our time together, however long that might be.

Stay tuned for updates.