Sunday, May 29, 2011

Monkey's Two-Week Update

Well, it's been an interesting two weeks with Chunky Monkey.  Gotta love the first few weeks after getting a new placement and getting some idea of how the case is going to go.  Monkey's also a super easy-going baby despite some health issues that have come to light over the past week or so...
  • We've had some very scary episodes of Monkey choking after feedings.  Believe me when I say, you DO NOT want to see your baby's lips turn blue at any time.  I've gotten calmer and better at knowing exactly what to do to help him though.

  • Turns out Monkey has tracheomalacia (aka. a "floppy windpipe") as well as reflux.  The windpipe issues lead to him aspirating his feedings which in turn leads to all of the choking.  Fortunately, the reflux seems to be a bit better by thickening his feeds and the airway issues are a little better now that he sleeps elevated.  (Yeah...  Spoke too soon...  Just had another choking episode.  NOT COOL!!!)

  • Monkey has made several new friends over the past couple of weeks.  He loves Ka-Diva and Buddy.  He has one particular teacher a daycare who he seems to like to flirt with.  And he has a couple of BFFs...  His giraffe and his ducky chime.  :)  I have to be careful when he plays with them though because he tends to get overly-excited and can't control his breathing (another issue with the airway problem). 

  • Monkey is super ticklish, talkative, and is just now starting to try to "laugh."  You know how babies do that HUGE smile and inhale really loudly?  Well, he's doing that a lot now.  Super cute.  :-)

  • His 14-day evidenciary hearing was this week.  Both mom and dad were finally located and both attended which was a good sign.  It's still early, but it looks like this case shouldn't be very long term if the evidence is accurate.  Dad actually looks pretty good, but he wants Mom to do what she needs to do before bringing Monkey back into the situtation.  CPS is looking into a couple of potential relative placements for him until Mom can work her service plan.  From what we can tell, the majority of the problems stem from Mom's "habit" and the problems that causes between Mom and Dad...  Monkey's just kind of stuck in the fallout.  :(  I hope that one of these relative placements works out for him.  I think in this case, it would be better for him than being in foster care.

  • Still haven't heard from Monkey's caseworker...  No contact what-so-ever...  I did, however, get a personal phone call from Monkey's attorney!  That NEVER happens, so I was thrilled silly that she called and even gave me her cell phone number so I can call her at any time with questions or concerns.  I'm glad Monkey has someone from the system who wants to be hands' on in his case.

  • Monkey had most of his initial doctors appointments, WIC, ECI, and agency appointments this week.  So far, nothing scheduled for this coming week (unless I finally hear from his caseworker and they want to do a visitation with his parents).  The next appointment will be his service plan meeting the following week at the house.  What's another group of people coming to my house, right?  They seem to live here anyway...  Glad I always have the Scentsy going and it at least smells clean and homey!  ;-)

  • Next hearing in 45 days if he doesn't get moved to a relative placement before then. 
Please keep my little Chunky Monkey and his family in your prayers.  I really think that this particular family can do what they need to do to get their stuff together and be good parents for this sweet baby.  Just the fact that they are both willing to work with CPS and to take the help that they are offering says a lot.  And the fact that Dad is trying to put the baby first by not insisting he be returned before Mom is in a better place shows that he has a good head on his shoulders and wants to do the right thing for Monkey.  I really do hope a good relative placement can be found for him.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"The Bigger and Better 'Saturday Crew'"

So ever since Heaven's birthday back in February (* EDIT - BAD ADOPTIVE MOMMY!  Heaven pointed out that I made a boo-boo...  Banana's birthday is in February...  Heaven's is in April.  Hey!  I'm on medication!  What can I say!?!  Heaven knows that I love her even if I tried making her older than she really is ;-), we've started a weekly tradition.  Every Saturday (I think we've only missed one!), Heaven, Booger, Banana, Buddy, and Ka-Diva come to my house and we spend the day hanging out and doing one fun activity.  We've done everything from walking to the park a couple blocks from my house and "exploring" the "woods", to watergun fights, to Easter Egg decorating, to decorating stepping stones, and more!  I'll be going back and posting our Saturday adventures as I have time because I don't want to forget anything.  :-)

It's been a little complicated trying to maneuver everyone around.  The day tends to start with me driving over to Heaven's to pick up her, Booger, and Banana.  I bring them back to my place and get them settled.  Then I head over to my sister's house to pick up Buddy and Ka-Diva.  We do the whole thing in reverse to get everyone home.  It's a little hectic, but it's worked out pretty well.  That is, until I got Chunky Monkey.  That's thrown a little kink into things because my car isn't quite big enough for three carseats!  The Saturday Crew is bigger and better with the addition of my little Monkey, but we're having to be a little more flexible with transportation. 

To be honest, (and I'm a little embarrassed to admit this), I am seriously contemplating getting an SUV with third row seating.  Yes, I am single.  Sure, half of the time I don't even have a foster child.  But it would be AWESOME to have the flexibility to fit all seven of us in one vehicle and be able to actually go to places that are farther than walking distance from my apartment.  These kids are in my life for the long-haul, so I should be a good Aunt Tammy, Mimi, and Mom and accommodate my kids, right?  ;-)

Anyhoo...  I digress...  ;-)  Back to today's adventure and our "Bigger and Better" Saturday Crew...

I wasn't sure who was coming today with the holiday weekend and all.  Christy had just brought the twins over and I was getting them and Monkey ready to swim when Heaven called and said that Booger and Kelly were dying to go swimming (I don't blame them.  It was close to 100 degrees today!).  Kelly was off this weekend, so our group grew from our original six to eight with the new additions of Kelly and Monkey!  Buddy and Ka-Diva were really excited because they are in love with Heaven, and they think that Kelly is really cool because he plays with them whenever he's around.  "Did you see that Kelly can do HANDSTANDS in the water!?!"  ;-)

We spent a good 2 1/2 hours in the pool this afternoon and had a blast!

My favorite 6-year-olds on the planet!

Ka-Diva and me...  And I thought she was smiling...
Girl is the "Funny Face Diva!"

Me and my handsome nephew...  :)

Ka-Diva with two of her favorite people...
She loves her some Heaven!
(and what I wouldn't give to be as relaxed as Banana!)

Buddy with his Heaven...

Heaven, Banana, and Booger...
(Note Kelly - goggles and all, playing in the background ;-)

Ah...  The rough, rough life of a 3 1/2-month-old...  ;-)

And my little Chunky Monkey...
Swimming is exhausting stuff!

Gotta say, as far as I'm concerned...  This is the way that foster care should be.  People coming together for the love of some amazing kids...  Best part of the day for me was when a random guy asked if Buddy and Ka-Diva were Booger's big brother and sister and Heaven replied without pause...  "They're cousins."  :-)  Have I mentioned lately that I love my life?  :-)

Friday, May 27, 2011

"Foster Friday" - Panel Introduction

At long last...  "Foster Friday" is here!!!  I'm so excited to have put together such a wide range of people who have been touched by Foster/Adopt Land.  I hope that our thoughts, opinions, and experiences can provide a good support system to each other, help newcomers in the foster/adopt world, and maybe help others not directly affected by foster care gain a better understanding of the system and the special needs of our children.

I'm anxiously-awaiting a few more introductory posts, but I wanted to go ahead and give everyone a sneak peek at the amazing families participating in the "Foster Friday" panel.  If you are a foster/adopt parent and/or family member and would like to participate, please message me an introductory post (a little about yourself and family. Why you decided to foster/adopt. Who you've foster/adopted. Ultimate goals foster/adopt goals, a link to your blog, etc. And a picture that I will post with each of your entries.)  In the meantime, enjoy meeting our current panel members, and check back for further introductions!

Debbie - My husband and I have been married 8 years and spent 2 1/2 years trying to adopt which we did in April 2008. We adopted our daughter through an agency in TX and have an open adoption with her birth mom and family. She has been in our home since she was 16 days old and her first two weeks she stayed with a wonderful interum foster family whom we are still in contact with today. Our daughter is biracial and I have loved learning to care for her hair and often wonder what I'll do if I have a daughter with straight hair.

We always pictured ourselves fostering one day but never imagined it would be this soon. Our daughter is only 3 years old and we wonder how it will all work out but we're moving forward one step at a time with the process. We are currently waiting on a final background clearance and then will complete our home study interviews and will be waiting for our first placement. The easiest way to share the 'why' of fostering for us is the need and if not us then who. We're willing and able so there's no reason not to.
We will be open to sibling set of 2 ages 0-6. We want to foster and would love to have as many children that need a home pass through our doors before finally finding the 1 or 2 children that need us as their forever family.

Diane - Even as a young girl, I always enjoyed being around and taking care of kids.  My goal in life was to grow up and be a mom.  I learned a little about foster children through two families in my church that took care of them.  After several years in a successful professional career, I decided I was spending way too much time working and felt called to do something more meaningful.  That something became foster parenting.  The initial plan was to help a few kids and move on to the next stage of my life.  Seventeen years later, it has become a passion.  During those years, I have been a single mom to 17 foster children (ages 2 days to 5 years) placed with me in 13 cases (3 sibling groups). I have also provided respite for close to two dozen other children for one to ten days.

I have adopted two of my foster children (now ages 12 and 8) and am in the process of adopting a third (now 14 months). My first four foster children moved on to non-relative adoptive homes. Two others went on to be adopted by relatives. The other eight returned to a parent, although two later disrupted and the child in each case was eventually adopted by non-relatives.

In addition to my three adopted children, I pick up a former foster daughter (now age 8) every weekend and for most school breaks. She is counted as part of our family. I have been lucky to remain in contact with all but three of my foster children for at least several months after they left my home. I am still in contact with five of those children.

Today I’m a single parent of four, working a little less than full time and going to law school half time.  I’ve become an expert in juggling responsibilities, time management, and prioritization.  I really enjoy helping new foster parents navigate the system.  What the future holds for me beyond this current adoption is uncertain, but my heart always has room for another child to love!

Endless Love ~ Amazing Grace - My husband and I have three biological children and one day found God calling us to do more...

For the first time in our lives my husband and I know without a shadow of doubt God's will for our lives.......Fostering.  I had always thought about fostering and felt the tugging at my heart but thought there was no way we could ever do it.  At that time my husband said no because he thought there was no way I could handle getting attached to a child and them leaving.  We found ourselves helping a family member who had entered foster care and needed our help.  After a long 18 months of helping this family member and battling through a contested adoption only to lose and see the family member returned to a bad situation we were devastated. 

We witnessed first hand with this family member how the system ....all systems can fail a child.  From the case worker, county, county attorney, all the way up to the judge we saw every aspect of the system fail for this child.  After loosing her we still continued to hear our calling to foster care.  Knowing when we stepped up to this calling we would see the system fail at times but we continue to look everyday at what we "can" do while a child is placed with us.

We have had already been approved for kinship adoption so we pressed on to become a licensed foster home.  We sold our home because it was not large enough.  Moved into a larger home and became licensed April, 2010.  We are now on our third placement and thank God for this opportunity.

It continues to amaze me how many times people say to you, "Oh that is so wonderful that you foster but I could never do that because I would get so attached to the children".  I just want to say, "Oh really, that's strange.....I've never thought of getting attached to the children"!   Instead, I always respond by telling each person that the pain we feel when a child leaves us after we have gotten attached and love the child is nothing compared to the pain this child felt in an abusive and/or neglectful situation.

Thank you God for setting our feet upon this path.......

Jennifer (aka Mama Lark) - Jennifer is the loving mother of 2 beautiful, sassy, Justin Bieber loving daughters and a cool, calm, and VERY cuddly 1 year old son. All three children were adopted through foster care as infants. She serves on her local 'Families Supporting Adoption' board and is also a Foster Parent Ambassador in the great state of Utah.

When she is not busy advocating foster care, she enjoys photography, home projects, camping, and spending time with her family- including her children's birthmothers.

Kylee - My exposure to foster care began over ten years ago, at the age of eight, when my parents made the decision to become licensed foster parents. At the time I had three older biological sisters, and with very little understanding I entered head first into this foster care world. As I innocently helped my mom feed babies their bottles in the early years of fostering, I had no idea how drastically this ministry would change my life!

Our family of six entered this journey in October of 2000 with no intention of adopting, but simply looking for a practical, tangible, ministry that we could be involved in as a family. I laugh at that now, because if there is one thing I have learned over the past ten years it is this: God's plans are so often different than our own. We were not out searching for children to adopt, but God had different plans for us! He chose to let us be the forever family to not one child, or two, or three...but to FOUR children!

So now here I sit, 18 years old and big sister to four wonderful, incredible (very challenging), adopted kids. They are currently 10, 9, 6, and 3, and all have come from different backgrounds and pasts. Over the past ten years of fostering, as well as through these adoptions, God has built within me a passion for orphans and foster children. I plan to pursue that passion by majoring in Social Work as I head off to college this Fall.

Right now though, while still at home, one thing I can do is share my experiences, as well as talk about the great need there is for foster and adoptive families. I desire to be a voice for the voiceless! I am so excited to share with y'all on this panel about what it was like to grow up emerged in the "system". I have a very different perspective of the system then many people, due to being aware about it from such an early age.  I listened into conversations, met birth mothers, helped care for critically abused children, said goodbye to kids I loved as my own siblings, and learned the many negative effects of sex, drugs, and alcohol. My blog,, is where I write about some of my memories, as well as where I chronicle this adoption journey we are walking. With a mixture of many daily joys and struggles, I can hardly write fast enough to keep up with it all!

Mama Foster -  My name is Mama Foster and I have been a foster mom ever since I was placed with my first foster daughter almost 2 years ago now. My little core family consists of me, my husband & my 8 yr. old son that I gave birth too.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but I think we started fostering to adopt. Yes, that is what is was...we were going to jump into foster care, grab our kids, adopt them, and get out.

You all can stop laughing now.

Since then I have become a real foster parent, the kind that fall in love with a child and then hand them back to their biological parent because they have no other choice. I do try to maintain a good relationship with all people involved, even the bio parents, but sometimes that just doesn't work.

Currently we are fostering because we have seen the need and cannot turn our backs on it, despite how much the system makes us want to. We have had 5 foster children so far, 3 are still with us. We also have one failed foster/adoption under our belts as well. We ended up choosing not to adopt him before he moved in, but trust me, it felt like a failure.

I am just a regular person who decided to do foster care. I ended up falling in love with a bunch of little people that are trapped in a world most people want to pretend doesn't exist. Often I want to pack up and move on as well, but I can't. These children that I have fallen in love with (that includes all foster children, not just the ones who have lived in our house) have no option to leave, so I decided to stay here and do whatever I can to protect that as much as I am allowed to.

You can follow our journey at

Penelope - My name is Penelope and because I married at age 40, I struggled trying to conceive for 2 years before our fertility doctor told us that all my eggs were gone and should realistically look at adopting a child.

We began the process to become foster parents in Jan 2007 hoping to adopt through our state’s foster care program. After a move back to our hometown and struggles with state licensing staff, we were licensed as an adoption-only home in September of that year. Not the dual-licensed foster to adoptive home we had requested. After complaining to the right person, we became dual licensed in February 2008 and officially became foster parents of 8-month-old Stinkpot on March 4, 2008.  Surprisingly enough, we adopted this "foster only" boy over a year later on my husband’s 50th birthday in August 2009. An adoption success with our first placement!

Through this journey, we have also been foster parents to 4 girls (age 2-12), having to say goodbye and wonder how they are doing.  We currently have a 20-month-old baby boy (Lil Bit) that we foster and will adopt him after he becomes a U.S. citizen!

On my blog,, I share our struggles and joys of being foster parents and eventually becoming a forever family!

And last, but not least...  ;-)

aka. Mimi - That would be me!  Single lady with an obnoxiously-spoiled cat, daughter, sister, friend, cool aunt, honorary "mom", honorary "grandma", bio mom to none, but foster mom (aka. "Mimi") to six kiddos and counting over the past 2 1/2 years...

After struggling with endometriosis for most of my adult life, I made the decision to have a hysterectomy at the age of 30.  Finally pain-free after 12 years, I knew that I had made the best decision possible even though it meant that I would never be able to carry a child of my own.  I spent the next 4 years trying to find a way to become the mom that I always wanted to be.

The idea of fostering always terrified me.  I couldn't bear thought of losing a child who I loved as my own, but this little voice kept telling me that this was something that I could do to make a difference.  I went into foster care after many, many prayerful years.  I finally began to trust that God wouldn't have planted this seed in my heart only to leave me hurting and devastated, so I threw myself into loving these kids with my whole heart.  I'm not sure if I can say that I've ever fully felt God's presence until I began this journey.  But I can feel the change within me as more and more time goes on, and I know that can only be His promise to heal the hurt as I love these kids and let them go.  With each child who comes into and out of my life, I've found that I have a stronger sense of peace, a more compassionate heart, and a faith that I had always HOPED to have, but never really knew that I could find.

One thing I do know is that God is healing my heart beyond what I had ever hoped or thought possible.  Yes, it does hurt when my children leave my home and my arms, but His promise to heal that hurt has proven true time and time again.  And after every healing, I find myself more and more excited and filled with the anticipation of loving another one of these children who so desperately need me for however long I'm blessed to have them in my life. 

Most days I think "I Must Be Trippin'" when I talk about all of the craziness that is Foster/Adopt Land in one breath, and how much I LOVE MY LIFE in the next. Because I DO love my life, and I wouldn't change a thing.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Today's "Hooray of the Day..."

Today's "Hooray of the Day..."

HOORAY for Route 44 Diet Cokes
and nice diaper bags the size of my car!!!

You keep me well-caffeinated,
Girl Scout-prepared for every imaginable baby
and CPS-related situation,
and allow me to look ever-so-cool
by carrying around a diaper bag for a purse.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Wow!  I was curious to see what I was doing two years ago today, and I realized that my life is kind of paralleling what was happening then!  Two years ago today, the Booger Bear had been with me for one week.  This year, Chunky Monkey has been with me about the same amount of time, and I am pleasantly surprised at how much I seem to have learned in the past two years when it comes to Foster/Adopt Land and how things work.

2009 - Getting into a good daily routine and frantically studying "Baby's 1st Year" books in a desperate attempt to figure out what the heck I was doing.
2011 - Getting into a good dailiy routine.  Surprisingly calm and confident.  I think I'm actually starting to know what I'm doing!  :-)

2009 - Still hadn't worked out daycare and had no clue what I was going to do.
2011 - Have an AWESOME daycare on "standby" and Monkey was in his class on day two!

2009 - Booger had a cold.  I caught the cold.
2011 - Monkey has a cold.  I am catching the cold.

2009 - Freaked out because there was a big problem with Booger's Medicaid and I couldn't get a straight answer or any help.  Frustrated because according to CPS Minimum Standards, I needed to get him to the pediatrician within 14 days of placement, but no one would see him.
2011 - I have a Medicaid number, but no card for Monkey.  I don't care though because I'll just have them send a voucher to the pediatrician if I don't get it before his appointment.

2009 - Spent an entire day trying to track down a pediatrician that accepted Medicaid and new patients to no avail.  Had a panic attack because I was certain they were going to take my license away if I didn't get the baby in to the doctor within the 14 day timeframe.
2011 - Had a couple of pediatricians in mind, but neither was accepting newborns.  Luckily, my daycare director (have a mentioned how AWESOME this lady is) knew of one, called them to see if they were taking new patients, and let me know.  I called and had Monkey scheduled for his checkup within 10 minutes!  The entire process only took about 45 minutes!

2009 - Booger had been with me for a week, and I still hadn't met or even heard from his caseworker.  I was panicking and hounding my agency like crazy.
2011 - Monkey has been with me for a week, and I just found out the name of his caseworker last night...  Still no contact from her, and I really don't care.  It keeps things simple.  Maybe they'll just forget that I have him and leave us alone.  :-)

2009 - CPS tells me that they can't locate the Booger's mom and that he will likely be available for adoption.  I go into his placement thinking that there's a good chance he will be my son permanently.  I believe them, and spend the next 10 months on pins and needles only to be completely devastated when I lost him.
2011 - CPS tells me that they can't locate Monkey's mom and that he will likely be available for adoption.  I think they are full of doggie poo and are just trying to tell me what they think I want to hear.  (You can tell that I've been slightly jaded by the system over the past couple of years. ;-)  I don't believe a word of it, other than the fact that they can't seem to locate his mom.  I'm more curious than anything to see how his case develops.

2009 - I DVR'd American Idol
2011 - I DVR'd American Idol  (I guess some things never change! ;-)

"Nice Lady"

Well, New Girl might be on the verge of driving me to a stiff drink, but I've met someone new at my agency who I think I might actually really like!  :-)  I hereby dub her "Nice Lady..." and here's why...

Nice Lady is the new Family Specialist at my agency.  She works with the foster parents and the kids once placement has taken place throughout the duration of their case.  She was scheduled to come to the house today for Chunky Monkey's 7-day follow-up when the floodgates of Heaven opened up and did this about 5 minutes before I was supposed to go get the Monkey from daycare to bring him back to the apartment:

(A little difficult to tell depth, but that's actually about 5-6 inches deep on the sidewalk)

I had just called her and left a message telling her that I had a river in front of my house, and wasn't about to bring Monkey out in that weather when she called me back saying that she was already in my parking lot because her previous appointment hadn't taken as long as she thought it would.  That's when she asked if she could just take off her shoes and swim in since she was already here and we could figure out when she could see Monkey later.  :-)  I liked her already!  Not afraid to get a little wet and actually demonstrated a little common sense when it came to the baby...

She waded in and proceeded to give me all sorts of good information!  Monkey's temporary Medicaid card, his caseworker's name and all of her contact information (seeing as how I had yet to hear from the woman), a few more details about the case, etc.  We actually got quite a bit accomplished!  And then she completely won me over by saying, "You know...  Monkey's daycare is close, right?  Why don't I just stop by there on my way home and see him?  I can see him here at the house next time."  OMG!!!  I LOVE YOU, NICE LADY!!!  You just saved me from having to take another afternoon off work!

Yep.  I like this woman.  She even responds to emails within a couple of hours and does that "active listening" thing where she repeats what you told her so you know that she got it.  New Girl might be a royal pain in my backside, but fortunately, I think that Nice Lady will serve as a buffer and might keep me from unleashing Bipolar Girl on the woman.  :) 

Hmmm...  This leads me to a "Hooray of the Day!"

HOORAY for Nice Lady!!!

You ROCK!!!


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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Not the Sharpest Tool...

New Girl's light doesn't burn too brightly sometimes. 

I sent her an email yesterday with all of my FMLA paperwork that I need to turn in to my HR dept with every placement. 

I said, "Hi New Girl...  I've attached some FMLA paperwork that I need to have for my work (It covers me for missing work for foster care-related home visits, dr. appts, etc.)  Everything is already completed.  If you could please just sign and date the last page and email it back to me, I can get it into my HR dept."

New Girl's response:  "I assumed you needed me to sign your FMLA paperwork?  I have attached it."

Ingenious assumption considering that is exactly what I asked for in specific detail.  Hence the "if you could please just sign and date the last page and email it back to me" portion of my original message...

Seriously...  New Girl doesn't seem to be the sharpest tool in the shed or the shiniest apple in the bunch.  Her light doesn't seem to burn quite as brightly as the rest of us.  I think I might have confused her a bit because I also went on to mention that I would have all of the paperwork that she needed completed by Friday.  I now know not to send emails on two different topics or New Girl will get lost along the way.  Poor New Girl...  :(

I will chalk this up as another life lesson in demonstrating patience and hope that I can deal with her on a daily basis without asking her if she needs me to help her locate her lost marbles.  That probably wouldn't go over very well.  ;-)

Little "What's His Name..."

Things are going really well so far with my little Chunky Monkey.  :-)  He's a very easy-going little guy.  Only cries when he's hungry or needs a diaper change.  He loves being on the move, so we go for walks, lots of rocking, swinging on the porch swing, etc.  I've been tempted to start running red lights because he HATES to be stopped in the car.  ;-)  He coos and babbles, smiles at me, and loves when I sing to him (poor child is clearly tone deaf or he would know that I can't sing ;-)

Most of his initial appointments are scheduled...  Pediatrician, ECI, WIC, home visits from my agency, etc.  I'm still waiting on his caseworker though.  I haven't heard a thing from CPS since they dropped him off on Sunday.  Not a huge shocker, but it would be nice to know if they ever located his mother or if he's going to have visits at all.

The one thing I have had some trouble with has been when it comes to giving people Monkey's name.  It would sure be nice if I knew how to pronounce it!  I have asked multiple people how on earth you pronounce his last name to no avail!  There seems to be this random letter thrown in there that is throwing everyone off.  I went so far as to track down my company's translator, and even she couldn't help me!  As I've been setting up appointments over the past few days, Baby Boy's name has been "First Name, Middle Name, Let-Me-Spell-It-For-You."  Definitely rather embarrassing to tell people that I don't know my own child's last name.  Let me tell you, you get some pretty interesting looks.

Fortunately, I found out today from the WIC office that Monkey's last name was misspelled on all of the CPS paperwork.  The random "L" in the middle of the name that was throwing everyone off is, in actuality, an "I".  Definitely helped out in the pronunciation department.  :-)  And while I am certain that I am butchering the name in the cultural sense, at least I can attempt to say something before I end with the S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G of my little Monkey's name.  ;-)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chunky Monkey...

Baby P (who I think I might dub "Chunky Monkey" for the blog :)
has been an easy baby so far...

2-months-old and in 6-month clothes!

Got some good smiles out of him this morning...
Loves to babble and coo...
Loved taking a morning walk...
Very quiet crier (which is nice,
but I have to sleep with the baby monitor on High so I can hear him!)
Slept for 4 hour stretches last night, so not too bad...

Heading to daycare when he wakes up to get him all registered.
Luckily, I'm Facebook friends with the Director,
so she knows he's on his way.
There was only ONE SPOT LEFT and he got it!  :-)

Let the CPS madness begin!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Baby On the Way!!!


I repeat...


2-month-old baby boy in route as I type!!!
This is one VERY HAPPY Mimi...



Saturday, May 14, 2011

Stepping Stones...

So this week's Saturday Crew activity was to decorate our own stepping stones.  Christy and I had done this once when Buddy and Ka-Diva were about three years old, and they loved it.  Heaven and I thought it would be fun to get handprints of the kids and let them decorate their stones.  It didn't quite work out the way we'd planned, but we had fun anyway.  :)

The day before, I picked up Heaven and the kids, and we made a little trip to Hobby Lobby to buy our supplies.  You would have thought that Booger had never been in a craft store before.  "What is that?!?  I want to see it!  Can I touch it?  I want to try it!"  We looked at just about every single item in the store, and Banana and Booger even had a fashion show!

Cha-cha-cha CHIA PET!!!

Pretty girl!!!

Our little cross-dressing Booger Bear...
(Poor boy had a run-in with the potty the night before and got a WHOPPER of a black eye.  :(  It was rather mortifying taking him in public.  We were certain someone was going to call CPS on us.  I would have been so embarrassed to have to tell the cops that, "Yes, Officer...  I am a licensed foster parent."  UGH!)

The big day arrived, but started off a little rough.  Booger Bear is deep into the Terrible Two's, and he started of the first 10 minutes at the house in timeout twice!  He is quite the little drama king when it comes to his timeouts, but he does them.  He totally knows better, and he knows that Tammy doesn't put up with physical stuff.  No warnings.  Straight to timeout.  So what possessed that boy to put on his "mean face" and take a little swing at me, I have no idea...  But he knew what was coming the second I gave him "the look" and led him by the hand to the "timeout" corner.  "I WANNA BE A NIIIICCCCEEE BOOOOYYYY!!!  I NO WANT TIMEOUUUUUTTT!!!  I WANNA BE A NIIICCCEEE BOOYYYY!!!"  (sob, sob, hyperventilate, whimper, cry...)

After his two minutes were up, and I reiterated why he was in timeout, and explaining that we do not hit ever, got my "I'm sorry" and my hugs and our "I love you's" out of the way, he went back in with all of the group and exclaimed "I was in timeout."  So what on earth possessed that child to then kick at me not three minutes later?!?  Repeat of the first timeout.  But he was a "nice boy" after that.  :-)  I know it's frustrating for Heaven and Kelly because Kelly's grandparents let Booger get away with murder, and he knows it.  Fortunately, it only takes one or two reminders that Tammy doesn't play those games and he's usually a little angel when he's over here.

So after all of the initial "who's in charge" timeout sessions, we got to work on setting up the stepping stone supplies outside on the patio.  It was a gorgeous day for it!

Turned out a weeeee bit messier than we'd anticipated, but Banana was super-cooperative (until we decided to take her picture. ;-)

Fortunately, Mimi is always prepared (isn't that the Foster Mama motto?), and Banana got a good scrubbing in the baby bath.  I have a feeling Heaven was probably finding clay in places for a week though.  ;-)

Buddy and his masterpiece...  He was very meticulous with his work.

Ka-Diva proudly displaying her own masterpiece...

Booger Bear working on his very own stepping stone.  He is very excited to be a "big boy" now and to be able to do a lot of these projects on his own.  :-)

Heaven's many attempts to get Banana's footprints just didn't turn out quite as planned.  I'm sure she was mortified to have a messy stepping stone because she's a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to her artwork.  :-)

The kids all seemed to take the same approach to decorating their stepping stones as they took to decorating Heaven's birthday cakes.  Buddy loaded up on the "sprinkles."

Booger was sitting next to Buddy and trying to copy his every move with the "sprinkles."  (Booger has been Buddy's shadow since Day One :-)  On top of decorating with the "sprinkles," Booger also attempted to eat them (just like he did with the birthday cake.)

Ka-Diva once again took the neat, clean, minimalistic approach and turned out the one and only perfect handprint of the day!

The finished products out of the molds...

A 3-D view of Buddy's stepping stone...  I wouldn't recommend stepping on this one though.  ;-)

As we were in the process of getting everyone cleaned up, I stumbled across Buddy as he pulled "Green Eggs and Ham" off of the bookshelf and began reading it (in its entirety) to the Booger Bear.  Gotta say, I was a very proud Auntie!

The kids loving on Kitty Cat Tommie...
IDK what was going on with the boys and their goggles.  ;-)

Poor Banana was worn out!  She laid in that position and only opened and closed her eyes for 20 minutes straight.  :-)

And by the end of the day...  Mimi was worn out too!!!  :-)

Just another successful adventure of the "Saturday Crew"...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Two Years...

Exactly two years ago today,
this two-toothed, happy baby boy
came through my door and changed my life forever...

I was Booger Bear's mommy
for 10 amazing months,
and I am very, very blessed
that his parents have allowed me
to be such a huge part of their lives today!

Mimi loves you, Booger Bear!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"New Girl" is Frustrating Me...

So I just sent a polite, yet "I mean business" email to New Girl at my agency.  It's been about a month since she came to do my Quarterly Inspection, and still...  NO PLACEMENT!!!  Not only have I not had a placement since Thanksgiving, but I've only received one potential placement call in the two months that New Girl has been at the agency (and it wasn't even in my age range!).  She can't honestly tell me that there has not been a single infant entering into foster care in two months.  Especially not where I live!

So I asked her (ever so politely, of course) to please make sure she is calling me for potential placements in my neighboring county (which happens to be even larger than mine) because I am right on the border, and I increased my age to 24 months because I have finally started stocking up on 24 month clothing.  I also let it "slip" that I had been getting 2-3 potential placement calls a week when the last Program Director was there, and that I've never had to wait this long for a placement before.  I'm hoping that will help spur her on and get her behind in gear a little bit.  Nothing like a little friendly competition with your predecessor...

I will give New Girl a month.  One more month...  And if I don't start getting at least one potential placement call a week, I'm outta there!  I'm considering going straight through CPS and eliminating the third party agency altogether.  They are (well, were) great when it comes to getting things taken care of when I had placements, but if they can't get me a placement, what's the point?!?

It's just very frustrating when you have the desire and the means to love and care for these kids, and you're still not given the opportunity.  Hopefully something will come up soon.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

"Foster Friday" Panel Preview...

Since announcing my plan to begin "Foster Friday" last week, things have really taken off nicely.  I am soooo excited about the way the panel of Foster/Adopt parents and family members is coming together!  We're up to 11 panel members so far (my goal was 12, so I'm thrilled silly at how quickly the group developed!), and I'm so excited to have put together such a wide range of people who have been touched by Foster/Adopt Land.

Quick glance at who we have:
  • Single & Married foster/adopt moms
  • Experienced and Newcomer foster/adopt parents
  • A foster/adopt dad!!! 
  • Foster grandma and my personal respite provider
  • And a long-time foster sibling
I can't wait to read about everyone's experiences and get their thoughts on different foster/adopt topics!

I was also very happy to have an official "Foster Fridays" logo created by my good friend, Lori, owner of Happy Daisy Designs.  I knew I wanted a logo for the panel...  But not having the patience to sit down and figure something out myself, I thought I'd ask Lori to come up with something for me.  The only idea that I had was, "maybe something to do with butterflies?"  I thought that would be nice because I always think of my kids as my little butterflies.  What Lori came up with was perfect!!!  My little butterflies coming from a piece of my heart...  I love it!!!  In fact, I love the concept so much that I think this might be the idea for my next tattoo.  And I'll add butterflies for each of my foster kiddos as they come into my life (I think I might be in a world of hurt if I end up fostering dozens of kids though ;-).

And so...  It seems that "Foster Fridays" will be taking off as scheduled!  Stay tuned Friday, May 27th for an introduction to each of our panel members.  And I'm still looking for one or two additional members if anyone is interested!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Foster Friday" Panel

Over the past 2 1/2 years since I began navigating my way through Foster/Adopt Land, I've been very blessed to have developed a fantastic support system of family, friends, and fellow foster parents.  For me, the support and encouragement that I've received from my online foster parent friends has been invaluable!  There's just something about being able to share in the lives of other people who are going through (or who have gone through) the same things you are that offers a sense of "normalcy" and calm to an otherwise crazy life.

Last week was the two-year anniversary of my first placement, and I've been thinking a lot about how much I have learned over these past two years.  I'm also reminded daily about how much I still have to learn about this crazy world that is Foster/Adopt Land! 
So I started thinking...

I would like to start a blog segment called "Foster Friday."

It would be a panel of foster/adopt parents (current, former, just beginning) posting on different foster/adopt topics every other Friday...  I know it is always helpful and interesting for me to see other parents' experiences and opinions on different topics, and I'm sure it would be an eye-opener for others as well. 

I would email everyone with the topic of the week two weeks ahead of time so parents would have plenty of time to send in their posts.  I'll probably also send a list of topics that I plan to use at a later date just so they'd have a heads' up.  My hope is that the "Foster Friday" panel can be another support system for other foster/adopt parents and help answer some questions that newcomers or others considering fostering might have.

Here's where you come in!  If you are a current or former foster/adoptive parent and would like to be a member of the "Foster Friday" panel (or if you know of someone who might be interested) please let me know!  Just comment here or email me at the email address in my profile.  My hope is to get a dozen or so parents so there is no pressure to submit on every topic.

I know that I love sharing stories about my fostering experiences, and I hope that my online foster mama buddies wouldn't mind taking a little time to share their experiences on "Foster Friday" with me!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Who Are You, and How Do You Know Her Name???

When I first started fostering, I never even dreamed about accidentally running into a member of one of my kiddos' bio families out in public.  That is, until the day I had taken my Immobile Munchkin on a walk around my apartment complex and a complete stranger called her by name!

My first instinct was to go all "Mama Bear" on the lady.  "Fight or Flight" mode kicked in, and I was prepared to protect that little girl by any means possible.  "Step away from the baby, lady!"  I kept my cool though, and waited to see how the situation played out. 

The woman didn't seem to really know her, and the Munchkin didn't seem to recognize the woman.  The lady just seemed genuinely concerned about the sweet baby in the hot pink body cast.  But who the heck was she, and how did she know my baby's name?!? 

That's when it finally occurred to me that the Munchkin's name was actually one that is commonly used as an endearment, and the woman just happened to choose that endearment when talking to her.  Kind of like, "Oh, Honey...  What happened to you?!?"  But "Honey" was the baby's given name... 

I kind of felt like a moron after being tempted to maul a complete stranger for speaking to my baby, but it did get me thinking...  What would I do if I did accidentally run into a member of one of my kiddos' bio families while running around town?  Fortunately, I was on really good terms with Angel and Booger's families, and Little Miss and Itty Bitty's family lived in another county so the chances of running into them were slim.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see what I do if the situation ever comes up.  I am perfectly capable of being nice...  But I can also go totally "Bipolar Girl" on anyone who appears to pose a threat to one of my kids.  :-)

What about you other foster/adopt parents out there?  Has it ever happened to you?

(Happy 3rd Birthday, Munchkin!!!)
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