Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Recreation Log in Photos

If you missed my post about the ridiculous amounts of paperwork required by my state and my agency, check it out for a little background.  I decided to go all "sassy pants" on them with the required monthly Recreation Logs for my infant child.  But now I'm wondering if I should do a photo diary instead.  You know how a picture speaks a thousand words and all...

Activity = Reading his new book
Therapeutic Value = Language Skills
(It should be noted that I am promoting a MULTI-lingual curriculum)

Activity = Typing at the computer
Therapeutic Value = Small Motor Skills & Hand/Eye Coordination

Activity = Getting ready for his ballroom dancing class (gotta love the bare chest, huh? ;-)
Therapeutic Value = Umm... Promoting security in his masculinity?

Activity = Thumb-sucking
Therapeutic Value = Also Hand/Eye Coordination & Self-Soothing

Activity = Bonding with a new "friend"
Therapeutic Value = Social skills

Activity = Tummy Time
Therapeutic Value = Strength Training
(It's not easy holding your head up when it weighs more than YOU do!)

Activity = Wearing his "Country Boy" outfit
Therapeutic Value = Exposure to different ways of life (as Monkey is a "City Boy")

Activity = Sitting in his bumbo
Therapeutic Value = Motor Skills & Discovering New Things (aka. his feet!)

Activity = Practicing his version of the "Bitter Beer Face"
Therapeutic Value = Communication Skills & Learning Cause & Effect (seeing as how Mama ALWAYS reacts to the "Bitter Beer Face" :-)

Activity = Getting ready to rip a fistful of fur out of Kitty Cat Tommie's backside
Therapeutic Value = Learning Cause & Effect

I wish I had taken a picture of him playing in his own poop when he had that diaper blowout the other morning.  I was too busy gagging and trying to get him cleaned up.  He, on the other hand, was having a grand old time!  Creative expression and all...  :) 

Yep! I think I might be onto something with this photo diary idea!  I wonder how this would go over at the agency...  Hmmm...  :-) 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ridiculous Paperwork

Anyone involved in foster care knows about the absolutely ridiculous amount of paperwork that is required.  Medication logs for each individual medication, status reports, forms for every doctor/dental visit, clothing inventories, placement paperwork, etc. etc. etc.  (I deliberately used three "etc's" because there is so much more I haven't listed. ;-)  I'm normally a complete and total anal-retentive nut a pretty organized person when it comes to all the required paperwork.  Heck!  My agency has asked me a couple of times to teach a documentation class the next time I'm between placements!  But I received an email request from my agency director last Friday that even I, the Documentation Queen, thought was over the top.

Hey Agency Foster Parents,

I have noticed that most of the foster parents that have been here a while are not completing the monthly Recreational Logs for their kids.  Likely, you were never told!  If you are new then this is just a friendly reminder that Recreational Logs are due by the 5th monthly.  I have attached the log and you are welcome to handwrite or type it - whichever you prefer.  If you would like copies just let your case manger know and she can bring them out.  You do not have to document every little thing they do but it is nice to show CPS (and the Judge should a case go to adoption) that the child has regular planned activities.  If you should need any help determining the Therapeutic value for a particular activity please feel free to e-mail, call, or ask the case manager when they come out on their next visit!  Thanks for all you do for our kids - have a great weekend! 

~Agency Director (aka. "New Girl")

I assumed this was just a mass email and was meant for parents with older foster children.  I have a 4-month-old.  He doesn't have much of a social life and really doesn't do a whole lot.  I emailed New Girl and said as much.  "Is there a minimum age on this?  Monkey is four months old.  He doesn't do much other than eat, sleep, and poop.  :-)"  I should have known better...

I was informed by New Girl that, yes indeed, I must fill out a monthly Recreation Log for my infant.  She went on to say that they'd like to see 3-5 activities per day as well as the "therapeutic value" of those activities.  She suggested using daycare as a "social skill," tummy time as a "motor developmental skill," etc.  I, however, being a complete and total Little Miss Sassy Pants, have decided to get more creative with my logs.  If I have to fill out yet another log every month, I'm going to enjoy myself!

Potential examples for my upcoming log:
  • Activity - Playdate with almost 3-year-old Booger Bear; Therapeutic Value - "Self-Preservation/Self-Defensive Skills"
  • Activity - Slept in his carrier while Mama ate at a Mexican food restaurant; Therapeutic Value - "Cultural Identification"
  • Activity - Screamed bloody murder when Mama didn't get his bottle in his mouth fast enough for his liking; Therapeutic Value - "Communication Skills"
  • Activity - Happily played in his own poop after a diaper blowout; Therapeutic Value - "Creative Expression"
  • Activity - Pulled the cat's hair out during tummy time; Therapeutic Value - "Learning Cause & Effect"
Yeah...  I think I'm gonna have fun with this!  I'm kind of thinking the agency might rescind their request that I teach that documentation training class though.  :-)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My 1st Baby

I know I don't talk about it much, but I do have another baby.  Actually, he's a teenager now.  I adopted Tommie at the age of approximately six months old, and up until I entered into the crazy world of Foster/Adopt Land three years ago, it was just me and my boy for about twelve years.

Foster care has been a difficult adjustment for my first baby.  Mostly because he's been used to having me all to himself.  And then there's the whole "babies chasing him around the house and pulling his hair" thing that drives him crazy.  He tends to hide under chairs, beds, etc. just to escape their little clutches.  And then Monkey came along.  We haven't had a baby as young as Monkey before, and Tommie had a rather difficult time accepting our new family member.  So much so that he started PEEING on everything right in front of me every time he saw me holding the baby.

You might be wondering what is wrong with my 15-year-old that he hides under furniture and thinks it's okay to pee on things in front of me, but I think it's understandable. 

Yep...  That's him!  That's my Tommie Cat!  :)  And I've got to say, he's becoming quite the little stinker in his old age.  I have to admit, I was a little worried for the first few weeks after Monkey came to us.  Nothing like having a cat give you "the finger" and pee smack in the middle of your bed to express his "feelings."

He looks angry, huh?  This was the first week after Monkey moved in.

I'm not really sure what happened to turn things around, but things started getting better around week three or four.  Actually, (and I'm almost afraid to admit this on the World Wide Web) I changed my work schedule to accommodate my cat.  I decided to work earlier so I could come home for about an hour every afternoon while the baby was still in daycare.  Tommie gets his "Mama Time" and I usually get a short nap.  :)  I changed where I feed the baby too.  Instead of sitting in the rocker, I curl up with both babies on the couch so Tommie feels more like he's a part of things.  That's also about the same time that we really started to notice Monkey's health problems, and since that time, Tommie has sort of taken Monkey under his protection and is more of a guard kitty to him.  I've even found him asleep on the floor next to Monkey's crib some nights.  Nowadays, Tommie is never far from Monkey's side...

This particular photo was taken about 3 seconds before Monkey reached up and took a fistful of fur from Tommie's backside.  Poor cat wasn't even mad... To be honest, he looked more embarrassed than anything that he let a 4-month-old get the better of him.

Why yes, that is the 15-year-old kitty cat playing with the baby's toys.  :-)  I have an awesome video of this, but I said Monkey's real name so I can't post it here.  It was another of those "embarrassed that he got caught" moments.  So funny!  :-)

Me and my first baby.  :-)

I suppose all I can say is that I'm glad the caseworkers can't interview him when they come out to the house.  Thankfully he didn't pee on anything in front of them those first few weeks.  As it is, he licked my agency director's toes while she was trying to type up my homestudy.  He buries his head in Monkey's caseworker's purse every time she comes out.  He was all over Monkey's attorney (who is highly allergic to cats).  And he somehow managed to steal the ECI lady's pen.  He can be rather obnoxious, and there's no doubt he's spoiled rotten to the core.  But he's my first "baby."  And according to the vet at his last checkup, he's not going anywhere any time soon.  :-)

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Friday, July 22, 2011

"Foster Friday" - Foster Siblings

Since I began my own foster/adopt journey, I've been connected with several friends considering foster care, and always one of their main concerns is how being a foster family will affect their biological children.   Not having biological children of my own, I've always tried to put them in touch with other foster parents with bio kids.  The "Foster Friday" panel is fortunate enough to have not only several foster/adopt parents with biological childre, but a longtime foster sibling as well!  This week's topic is dedicated to answering some of those questions related to fostering and adopting, and how this crazy, often volatile. yet wonderful world of foster care affects our children.

Diane - My adopted daughter (now 12) was almost four when she was adopted during the same time that two younger foster siblings (sisters) were being reunified with their mom. Up until those few months, the three girls did not have any concept of being foster children and had no reason to believe they were not full sisters, since they had each come to me younger than 18 months old and had been together about two years. My daughter had a crash course in biological parents, foster families, adoption, reunification, and more. As a four year old, who was mature for her age anyway, she understood more than some adults about the whole process. Since that time, she has openly desired to continue to be a foster family, was happy to adopt a brother four years ago, is thrilled we are adopting again, and talks of adopting as an adult. She is a loving big sister and, although now a typical (pre-)teen, willingly helps with the younger children, especially young foster children.
My son (now 8) was adopted when he was three and struggled when we had a foster daughter just a year younger than he was (at age 5). He did not like to share his mom, and the competition was almost too much to take. Since then, we have had two infant/toddler boy placements, and he has done much better. I learned that he needs to be significantly older than a new child to deal with the situation. He willingly accepts the little ones and wants to teach them. He asks about their future, how long they will be with us, and wants to make sure they are okay. He is a good big brother and should make a good father some day.

Debbie - We haven't had any foster children yet but we have a 3 year old daughter so I thought I could answer part of the question. How do you hope to see your child grow/change?
I hope that we'll see her heart grow for people in need as we are able to touch foster children in our home.

I hope we are able to teach her that it's better to give then it is to receive. Giving love when love is not returned can be a hard lesson for a 3 year old.

I hope she learns to love with an open heart with no concern about the medical, physical or behavior problems that a foster child may bring in to our home.

I hope that she'll learn to love unconditionally when a child comes in to our home and still be able to love just as unconditionally when the next child comes in to our home.

I hope she'll adjust to not being an only child quickly. I already know she's going to be a great helper.

I hope that even though she's young she's able to tell us how she's feeling with the changes that will come.

I hope we're able to guard her heart through the loss. And at the same time I know she'll help heal our hearts through the loss because she's a sensitive girl who loves to love.

Mama Foster - When you first decide to foster you have a lot of people who will ask you "but what about your biological children?" meaning how do you think it is going to effect them, if you feel like you will be able to protect them from the negatives that come along with foster care, ect. I have seen so much good come from my son being a big brother to foster children that i would definately not hesitate to tell another mom that wanted to foster to try it. My son has way more compassion that i think he ever would have, he has more of a grasp on real life-the sometimes very hard life-that other children have that he knew nothing about before meeting our foster kids. I can almost guarentee that he will grow up to be an adult that sees the needs of others, instead of just focusing on himself.

Now, that is not to say it is all easy and perfect. There are, i believe, somethings you need to take a good hard look at before bringing a stranger into your house.

#1 i would highly suggest not taking in foster children older than your current youngest child. I do not have any scientific proof that this is best, all i can say is that it has been what is best for our family.

#2 taking in a sibling group larger than your bio children may make your own child feel left out or out numbered. I have seen sibling band together when in foster care, which isnt a bad thing, but it may become an issue of them vs all the other children in your home depending on their personalities.

#3 i didnt realize the emotional toll it would take on my child when kids left. It has been sad and hard to watch five children come and go. I do my best to keep an open dialoge with my son and let him grieve how ever he needs to but it still breaks my hert to see him upset once the grief hits him.

Yet again, i have to add that foster care is not a natural thing. It is hard on everyone, but i know it has made us all better people...

My son included.

And last, but most definitely not least...  If you've ever worried about or wondered how the challenges, trials, and tribulations of fostering or adopting might affect your biological and forever children, hear what our very own Kylee has to say on the subject. 

Kylee - My involvement with foster care has only been as a bio sibling, so that makes this topic one that I am very excited about! Our first placement came to my family about ten days before my 8th birthday. At the time, I was the youngest of four kids, so having a baby in the house was an adjustment. I remember at my 8th birthday party, my mom spent much of the night upstairs with a screaming, very abused 3-month-old baby girl. Thus began my life as a big sister to many foster children…

Growing up with foster siblings in my house was one of the best things my parents did for me. I was exposed to a lot at an early age, and saw the repercussions of drugs, prostitution, and alcohol very early on. Caring for babies who were born drug exposed and loving on kids from hard places, helped me see some of the downside of the things that the world deems as “glorious”.

That being said, I believe it is incredibly important to involve your bio kids in the everyday life of foster care. Allow them to help in age appropriate ways. I think a large part of my passion for foster care/adoption is due to the hands on ways I helped out. I fed the babies bottles, changed their diapers, and when I was old enough (and ONLY when I volunteered), got up with the babies in the middle of the night. Bonding with them and loving them in that special way allowed me to see from a young age the need they have to be loved! I saw the hurt, but I also saw the way these kids changed as they lived in a healthy, safe environment. I know lots of foster parents are afraid of placing too much on their children, but I cannot stress enough the importance of having everyone in the family do his/her part.
My mom was good about telling us kids when there were court dates with our foster siblings and what was going on with their case. I often times went with my mom and foster siblings (we always cared for children much younger than I) to parent visits and met their parents/relatives. It was important for me to see the whole picture and know what was going on in these kids lives, whom I had grown to love so dearly! I understand that there are some things that need to be held back from your child(ren) for their own protection, but just know, if your kids are curious enough, they will find out. I was that child who quietly sat at the top of the stairs and listened into the discussion when our caseworker came to visit : )

Lastly, know that your child will love deeply. As a child, I sat in my mom’s arms and cried my little eyes out when a foster sibling would leave my home. That doesn’t mean your child is being scarred for life, it just means he/she is learning to love in a beautiful, tender way.

I was changed by growing up with foster siblings in my home. It is an experience that I would never, ever change. I have so much to say about this topic, and not enough space to write it out. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me at

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Guest Posting and a Giveaway!!!

Yesterday, Penny posted Part Two of my guest post over at Foster2Forever...  And now I'm thinking it might be time for a giveaway!!!  Because who doesn't like free things, right?  :-)

So...  When I get to 50 followers, "Giveaway Time" it is!  I've been picking up one or two followers a day, so it shouldn't take too long.  But... if you aren't a follower and want to get a chance to win faster, feel free to become "official."  ;-)  Besides, it makes me feel loved to have members of an adoring public.  (J/K!!!  Well, sort of...  ;-)

"So, what can I win," you might ask?  I think to coincide with my guest post on managing the crazy, busy schedule of foster care appointments and my tip of having a "super-cool, mega-sized day planner," I will be giving away that very thing...  It's time for me to purchase a new one for myself, so I'll just buy two.  And one of them can be yours!

(Not the actual planner...  I haven't found this year's "perfect" planner yet.  Rest-assured, it will be AWESOME.  I am slightly OCD, and tend to have rather high standards for my organizational products.)

How it will work...

If you want to be in the running for the "Super-Cool, Mega-Sized Day Planner," just leave a comment here.  I will choose a winner on July 31st (provided I've reached 50 followers by then...  Hint, hint...  ;-).

Good luck!  :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Time Has Come...

Why, yes, my friends... 
That IS a wadded up napkin doubling as protective driving gear. 
Perhaps the time has come to purchase a
sunshade for my car.

Not that it would help.

Day 15 of 100+ degree weather, and IT IS HOT!

Crossing the threshold into the "steam sauna"
that was formerly known as "the great outdoors" has
become somewhat unbearable.

The humidity makes you sweat standing still.

Stepping into the "oven" that was once your
automobile...  Not so enjoyable.

I believe one friend's car announced an
"inside temperature" of 138 degrees at one point.
(Hence my need to break down and purchase a sunshade.)

Although, I hear there is hope!
Apparently we are expecting a "cool front" on Tuesday!
High temp of "only" 99 degrees!!!

That is SO wrong!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Superhuman Baby Powers - Part Two

After my initial post about the superhuman powers that my child possesses, he seems to be morphing even more into some sort of "Superbaby" with abilities I didn't even know were possible for a 4-month-old!  Over the past week, Monkey has developed the following "superpowers."

  • Subliminal mind control - I don't know how he does it, but every single night, Monkey somehow manages to coax me out of a sound sleep, out of my bed, and down the stairs to heat up a bottle and go into his room to feed him...  Only to walk in and discover a soundly-sleeping baby!  I don't get it!  But I think it must have something to do with his next superpower...

  • The lung capacity of a blue whale - Monkey has never been a "crier."  He is, however, a whiner of epic proportions.  When he isn't squealing his dog whistle squeal, he is usually "talking" to himself in "whine."  I played the clarinet in school, and we had these things called "endurance contests," where you blow into your horn and see how long you can hold a single note.  Monkey does the same thing.  With his voice.  "Uuuuuggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....."  I timed him once.  25 minutes 37 seconds.  One continuous whine.  IN HIS SLEEP!  That, my friends, is impressive!

  • The ability to store massive quantities of baby food in ways similar to that of squirrels preparing for winter - With Monkey hitting the 4-month-old mark, his pediatrician gave us the "go ahead" to begin introducing baby foods.  He hasn't quite gotten the hang of it yet, as he seems to store the entirety of his meal within the confines of his cheeks.  I didn't realize what was happening until it was too late.  His mouth appeared to be empty!  That was until I discovered his next "superskill..."

  • Projectile spitting - Well, not "spitting" so much as "waiting until he appears to have finished his meal and then choosing the exact moment that I put down his spoon to sneeze the hidden contents of his cheeks across the room."  I have found Stage 1 bananas and rice cereal 10 feet away!  And I have to admit, I am still rather perplexed as to how those peas ended up on the ceiling behind his highchair.  True talent, you have to admit...  But perhaps Monkey's most amazing skill is...

  • His Houdini-like ability to escape from virtually any restraining device. - I don't know how he does it, but I have had to "retire" nearly every piece of baby equipment that Monkey had previously enjoyed up to this point.  I have awoken to the sound of ripping velcro every morning this week as Monkey attempts to unstrap himself from his Tucker sling.  He tends to look rather smug and proud of himself each morning as I walk into the nursery to greet him.  I can no long put him in his bouncer because he immediately turns on his side, slips a leg out of the harness and attempts to pull himself over the top to the floor.  His swing has become some kind of amusement park ride where he thinks it's sole purpose is to allow him a feeling of "flying" as he leans forward over the edge, spreads his arms wide, and squeals in delight.  "Nothing on earth can hold Houdini a prisoner!"  Oiy!!!
In addition to his superhuman abilities, my child is also becoming quite the environmentalist.  Water conservation appears to be his calling as he has single-handedly filled our community swimming pool with the 10,000 gallons of drool that escapes his mouth each day.  I haven't had to shower in a week due to the never-ending spit "baths" I have received every day.  We are also in the midst of a nasty drought and I believe we are on Day 14 of 100+ degree weather.  With water restrictions all over, I have been tempted to lend Monkey out to family and friends to "water" their yards with his saliva.  I think we might be able to rig up some kind of harness/pulley system and let him "fly" over the grass while his drool dribbles down to the dry ground below.  That is, if he doesn't escape the harness first!  ;-)

Yep!  My kid is special!  I am quite the proud mama.  What can your kid to?  :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What Does a Full Day of CPS-Related Appts Do to a 4-Month-Old?

After guest posting about the Never-Ending Foster Care Appointments over at Foster2Forever, Monkey and I had one of those crazy appointment-filled days today.

8:00am - 10:00am : Visitation with parents (they were no-shows)
10:00am : Home visit from the Invisible CPS Caseworker and my Family Specialist (aka. "Nice Lady")
10:45am : Quarterly Inspection with Nice Lady after the Invisible CPS Caseworker left
11:30am : Monkey to daycare for a few hours so Mama could go grocery shopping in peace
2:00pm : Status review hearing...  I couldn't make it to the hearing because of our 2:30 appointment, so I am anxiously-awaiting news tomorrow from the Invisible CPS Caseworker and Monkey's attorney to see how it went.  Curious to find out if his parents showed up for that!
2:30pm : WIC appt.  I was pleasantly surprised!  Absolutely NO WAIT.  I didn't have to sit in the sticky chairs.  Only one other mother and her child in the waiting room.  And they increased what Monkey is qualified for, so now he gets about $200 of formula and baby food each month!  And the best part is that I don't have to go back until October, and I don't have to bring him with me next time!
3:00pm - 5:00pm : Went to my sister's to visit with her, my mom, Buddy, Ka-Diva, Pooper, and Butterfly.
5:30pm : FINALLY made it home!  The photo above is Monkey after I took the sleeping baby out of his carseat and moved him to his pack-n-play.  Poor baby didn't even stir...

(Note - Pretty certain this photo is okay because you can't see his face at all.  I hope so...  Because he is stinking cute! ;-)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Guest Posting at "Foster2Forever"...

I was thrilled silly when Penny over at "Foster2Forever" asked me to guest post this week. I kind of felt like I had won the lottery or something (mostly because this is the first time anyone has ever asked me to guest post, so I was giddy. :-) And when she asked me if I might have anything to say about the number of crazy appointments that our foster children have to go to, I nearly blew Diet Coke out of my nose from the involuntary laughter that ensued. My Facebook status that very morning was something along the lines of, "My 4-month-old has a busier schedule than I do!!! ...and so is the life of a foster child... Craziness!" Do I have anything to say? Why yes... Yes, I do! :-)

Read Part One of "The Never-Ending Foster Care Appointments" over at "Foster2Forever," and stay tuned next Monday for the thrilling Conclusion.  ;-)

"Foster Friday" - Just Like a Boyscout - Always Be Prepared

I'll just begin by saying that "Yes, I do realize this post is late."  We'll just call this "Foster Friday Several Days Late" and leave it at that.  :-)  This week has been a crazy one in Foster/Adopt Land (for almost all of us I think), so not too much going on in this particular post.  I haven't even had a chance to write my portion, but I don't want to postpone it any longer, so here it is!  I will come back at a later date and add my contribution.

Being a foster parent requires families to have the mental and emotional flexibility of a contortionist and a "level of readiness" of the Armed Forces on high alert.  This week's "Foster Friday" touches on being prepared...

"Just Like a Boyscout - Always Be Prepared"

Diane - Being prepared is not so difficult after fostering for many, many years. I only accept children four and under, so I have pretty much all of the baby paraphernalia needed at this point. The physical stuff is now simple to gather (assuming I can remember where I put it away). I have three closets that are each over half full with clothes, plus a stack of boxes with the remainder, sorted by gender and size. I can pretty much outfit any child under five for at least a week by pulling something together (okay, I do admit, my first newborn boy did wear pink for a week until I got some infant boy clothes). Rooms are rearranged after placement occurs, if necessary.

I have a relationship with the pediatrician (and a couple of specialists) so the child usually makes it into the doctor within the first week. I used to have a relationship with the daycare, always confirming an opening existed before I added myself to the placement list. Now I have an awesome nanny, so I discuss placement with her before accepting. I also have an amazing support system of friends, so I can easily make a run to the store for any items like diapers, formula, or lice treatment that I might need!

My kids and I discuss adding a foster child to our home before I put our family on the placement list. They know and start mentally preparing (and asking WHEN over and over)! The hardest thing for me has always been not to get too excited over every call about a potential placement. Either no calls happen, or I get lots of calls that don’t materialize. Mentally preparing is an emotional roller coaster every time the phone rings. I prepare a lot by praying, asking God to bring the right child(ren) into our home. The more I open to Him, the more prepared I am for our new addition(s).

Mama Foster - I have TOO many bins of children's clothes of all sizes.  I try to keep clothes around that are for the age range we have agreed to take.  I always have a few boxes of wipes around and an extra toothbrush.  I keep extra sheets handy and a high chair and toddler booster seats.  Right now I have 4 toddler car seats sitting in the garage waiting to be used and an empty bedroom ready to be occupied.
Realistically, if you have extra money to spend on stuff you might need that is all you REALLY need.  You can always run out and get diapers.
When I get a child I usually buy them new PJs and shoes first.  
Oh...and sippy cups.  I am obsessed with sippy cups.

RachelWe have only had one placement so far, and he was placed with us as a newborn. Today he is 6 months old and, by the time you are reading this, we will be in court with him, sitting before a judge to determine whether or not the process is being moved along to terminate his biological parents' rights.
Instead of telling you what physical items you may need for a foster child, I'll tell you what you'll need in your heart:
1. Patience with yourself. Every new placement is a huge adjustment. You will feel lonely and angry and scared and wondering, "Why on earth did we decide to do this?" Be prepared with a list of other foster parents you can call, most likely crying.
Our first placement included Baby Man's older brother, and the murderous screaming, 6 hours a night, every night, for the 3 weeks that we had him, had me nearly going insane. I actually called the director of the agency and told her there had been a terrible mistake made, and would she please send someone to take these children back?
In hindsight, I would have been horrified, under normal circumstances, to do all that work and training at MAPP class, trying to show the agency what wonderful foster/adopt parents we would be, and then to call the DIRECTOR OF THE FREAKING AGENCY crying after 2 days of our first placement.
You do alot of things you'd never expect you'd do when faced with a new placement.
So, be prepared for that.
2. Patience with the system. Most states (except the very lucky few who have privatized systems, mine included), have horrible turn-around time when you need help with one thing or the other. Take 10 deep breaths before you open your email, make a phone call, or go to the bathroom. EVERYTHING you do will be tinted with your annoyance with the state in helping these kiddos.
Breathe in and out alot.
3. Patience with your placement. Think about it - you've been ripped from the only home you have ever known, usually with a big scary cop giving you someone's old teddy bear, and your parents were screaming, crying, and fighting as you left. You're now thrust into this totally new home where everyone automatically expects you to be happy that you are there.
Why are they at their happiest when you're just freaked the heck out? What kind of sadistic people are these?
You go into your nice, newly prepared room and promptly throw a fit.
They don't know what to do with you, and neither do you.
But hey, you're a foster kid, and these foster parents of yours are trained Boy Scouts. They're prepared.
They'll speak soft words to you, offer you a brand new stuffed animal, still with the tags on, whisper your name until you fall asleep. And they'll do it tonight, and the next night, and the next.
They do it because they see the fear in your eyes, and the loss. And trust me, they have lost along the way, too.
You'll make a bond, you will. It will just take some time, some tears, some screaming...
and lots of chocolate pudding.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Superhuman Baby Powers

It's a bird!!!
It's a plane!!!!



In the 7 1/2 weeks since Monkey came to me, it is becoming increasingly clear that my newest child has special abilities unparalleled by mere mortals.  I know most parents tend to think that their children are exceptional in every way.  That whole "love is blind" thing that causes otherwise rational people to enroll their rather unfortunate-looking 2-month-old in modeling school because they smile when they pass wind...  But in Monkey's case, I don't think I'm exaggerating in the least little bit!  ;-)

  • My baby is capable of producing deadly natural gasses with such potency and force that they have the potential to irradicate entire rebel nations.

  • My child becomes an octopus with superhuman strength upon placing him on the changing table.

  • My child has the ability to break glass and bring people to their knees with his voice alone as he has mastered the fine art of squealing at ear-piercing decibels that rival that of the finest dog whistle.

  • My child can render virtually anyone (with the exception of the totally hairless) powerless with his hair-tangling, vice-like grip.  Want to see a grown man cry?  Just let my child at his underarm or chest hair...  Works every time.

  • My child has secret weapons known as "lobster claw toes."  His razor-sharp toenails seem to grow at a rate that not even the most vigilant Mama can control.  If his hair-tangling, vice-like grip doesn't rendor you helpless, his lobster claw toes will.

  • Yes, MY baby has Superhuman Baby Powers!  What can YOUR baby do?  ;-)

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sure Signs that Mimi Needs Some Sleep

With all of the craziness the past couple of weeks, I didn't realize just how tired and stressed out I really was until this week...  Sure signs that Mimi needs a good, loooooong nap:

  • I added formula to my raspberry tea.  Not almost added formula...  But actually added formula.

    • I tried to lock my cubicle with my car clicker.  I went so far as to get all frustrated that my clicker had stopped working again and remembered to "use the key" before I realized that my car keys weren't likely to work on my office cubicle (especially considering it is a cubicle.  As in no door to lock).
      • Upon reading further on the side effects of Monkey's congestion/allergy medication, I momentarily came to the brilliant conclusion that "Yeah...  I should probably stop giving it to him.  I do have a lot of those side effects."  (Note that I said that I have a lot of those side effects.  The baby who is actually taking the medication seems to be just fine.)

      • I created mass hysteria in the Finance Department when I got into work on Monday and insisted that someone had come in over the weekend and switched my mouse for an old, used one.  I was so emphatic that the other girls in the office came to the conclusion that someone had done the same with theirs.  I called the IS Department and expressed my frustration.  After they insisted they had no part in it, I decided that it must have been our favorite office prankster.  I outed him on Facebook.  He called, whining, ;-) and swearing he didn't do anything.  After spending the better part of my day trying to track down the evil-doer, I started to realize that my mouse just might actually be my mouse after all.  I did just get a new computer at home over the weekend.  I probably just got used to how that mouse felt and went a wee bit crazy when I got to work.  Just a wee bit...

      And the biggest, surest sign of all that Mimi needs a long, long nap...

      I LET MY CROPS WITHER ON FARMVILLE!!!  TWICE!!!  Now if that's not a sure sign of sleep-deprivation, I don't know what is! 

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