Friday, May 31, 2013


When we became foster parents, I swore we would have great relationships with the parents of our kids. We wanted to support them. We wanted the kids to go home. And then we got the kids, and I fell in love with them. Turns out, it is a whole lot easier to theoretically support people who have damaged children you love than it is to actually support them. And yet, hubby and I have stayed true to our ideals, having as good a relationship as possible (which is not always actually that great) with the parents of every little one we’ve cared for.

That was easy with A&N. Their parents weren’t in our state and we had infrequent contact. It has been harder with SuperD, but we’ve worked hard at it. I’m fortunate to have a great relationship with Monkey’s mom and dad. That said, because Monkey is a baby, our relationship has been limited to good communication during her twice-a-month visits.  We don’t do phone calls, obviously. But now I’m being asked to push it to the next level. Monkey’s mom is requesting a phone call on non-visit weeks, just for an update. And our social worker told her she could come with us to get Monkey’s ears pierced (which is happening at mom's request/insistence) if we were okay with it. Which I’m not, really, but since she spoke with Monkey’s mom and not me, I don’t feel like I have a choice.

What I do have is an opportunity. I can practice what I preached. I’m not thrilled about it. I’m not all that comfortable with it. But I’m also not this baby’s mom, much as I want to be, and I think more frequent contact will be a good reality check for me. And I do believe my support can and will make a difference in Monkey’s mom's life, which can ultimately only be good for baby girl. It's hard, but I'm choosing to love and respect the other mama who loves this little one as much as I do.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Emotional family visit for Monkey today. Looks like hubby and I will be taking on a mentoring role with her mom. I suspect this case will do a complete 180 and the kids will go home in the fall.

And I seriously wish I could post pictures of her adorableness as she tries to figure out how to crawl.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Home again

Just got back from a much needed min-vacation with my mom. Hubby manned the troops at home and made it look easy. While taking care of the kids alone, he dug up and replaced the mulch in the backyard, set up my new hammock (!) and begin to build a tree fort for SuperD. I am so lucky to him! Now it’s my turn, as he’s off on a last minute business trip for the next three days.

For the record, SuperD was an angel while I was going. No arguing, minimal impulsive behavior. Hubby said SuperD’s anxious chatter was at a minimum and he was able to entertain himself for long periods of time. The minute I got home, it was disregulated city around here. The long, sweet hug I got from my little boy when I got makes it all worth it, though.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


For the second time in six weeks, we had a goal change hearing continued because the guardian ad litum was sick. This time, Monkey's GAL was actually there but her siblings' was not. I'm not sure why they didn't proceed with Monkey's case, since it is basically separate from the other kids. They also scheduled the new date for THREE MONTHS from now. I've never heard of a continued date being scheduled more than 30 days out because of deadlines for funding. I don't have a lot of confidence in our city attorney, who didn't speak up once. The social services supervisor looked appropriately ticked, though, which made me feel somewhat better. Mom did mention that she has started making appointments for services. I just don't know if that will be enough, or if it will be too little, too late.

I really just hope God/the universe/whatever entity is in charge of taking care of children is paying attention and ensures that the right decision is made for these kids, no matter what that is.

I'm going to pour my second glass of wine now. I hate court days.

Preparing for court. Again.

Today we go to court to find out of Monkey’s parents’ rights are going to be terminated. I couldn’t sleep last night, I was so anxious. I kept envisioning getting to court and being told that Monkey is being transitioned today. Right this minute. Go home and get her. I have no idea why I’m feeling this way. I’ve never had this kind of anxiety about a placement before. Nothing has happened to indicate that an appropriate kinship placement has even been identified, letalone approved. The court documents actually identify us as a prospective adoptive family. Still, I feel like the other shoe is going to drop and we’re going to have to say goodbye to this little one.

Maybe it is partly because her social worker is the least communicative one we’ve had? All of our other workers have made a point to visit the kids a day or two before court and give us an idea of what’s going to happen. I like this worker. She’s good at her job and she loves the kids, but she is by far the least interested in giving us information about what is happening in a case. Which is her right. But, jeez, I just want to know what’s happening with my baby!

I also think it's because I'm anticipating how hard this is going to be for Monkey's mama. I'm . dreading sitting in the courtroom when/if the judge approves termination. I'm sure there are some parents, somewhere, who deserve for that to happen. But this mama isn't one of them and I hate that she's going through this.

In other news, Monkey had her early intervention assessment yesterday. She (barely) qualified for services in speech therapy (at 8 months old!) to address the feeding issues we've been having. For a chunk-a-monk baby, the girl hates to eat! I'm hoping we'll see some progress there. And the physical therapists and caseworkers kept pointing out ways in which she is clearly attached to me, which was nice to hear. :)

Monday, May 20, 2013


We’re gearing up for some big milestones around here.

Monkey is inching her way closer to sleeping through the night. Last night she only woke up once. She’s also soooo close to crawling. She does that rocking on her knees things all the time now and gets so frustrated when she can’t figure out what to do next. She babbles all time time, laughs and giggles, smiles constantly. Her little face lights up my world every day.

This week, we go to court to determine if the judge will approve TPR for her mom. As far as I know, her biological father has not been identified. I have no clue what the TPR process looks like for an absent or unidentified parent. Need to ask cw about this this week.

SuperD is about to finish his first year of preschool. This is huge for our very anxious, routine-driven 4 yo. I’m not sure what this summer will look like. I need to get him registered for a few summer camps, mostly for my sanity. But he’ll be home with me most of the time. It should be fine. But he’s a lot to handle, so I’m a little nervous about it.

As I’ve said, TPR has started on his mom. We go back to court in July to find out if the judge will approve TPR for his dad. Since I know they’ll both appeal, we’ll have at least one more court date before TPR actually occurs. I’m thinking the soonest that would happen is September or October? I know there’s no point in trying to figure out timelines in foster care. The systems is going to operate on foster care time, which is guaranteed to be slow and inconvenient.

Some of our upcoming milestones are fun, but I’m pretty nervous about others. I usually handle change well, but I HATE uncertainty and not knowing what’s coming.  

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My brother is in town for a few days, helping me with the kids while hubby is on a much-deserved mini-vacation with his dad. As usual, things have been chaotic and busy and fun around here.

Because I am a terrible planner, yesterday was more on the chaotic side than the fun side. My cell phone broke. I wasn’t surprised, as every.single.time. hubby leaves town, something breaks. Usually it’s the car, or the fridge, or the toilet. But my cell breaking is a significant enough hassle that it totally counts. We took it to a cell phone repair place that didn’t have my part, so we drove 40 min. away to another one. They informed me it would take two hours to fix. I thought we were going to be gone for an hour, max, and we were looking at 3-4 hours away from the house at that point. With no snacks, no diaper bag, no bottle. Awesome.

We ended up having an impromptu picnic at a city carnival then hung at Barnes and Noble for a while. I had to pop into a store and buy a bottle and some pre-mixed formula for a cranky Monkey. On the drive home, baby girls was fussy. Usually if she fusses in the car, I kind of chant soothing words at her. It never stops the crying, but it makes me feel like I’m doing something. This time, when she started crying, SuperD turned to her (in his car seat) and softly said, “It’s okay, honey. Honey, honey, honey. It’s okay, honey” over and over and over. So sweet.

They couldn’t fix my phone yesterday, but they did get it fixed, so we have to trek back over today.  Sigh

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mother's Day recap

So, SuperD was very, very disregulated all last week. Lots of acting out, running away, overstimulation, on and on and on. Yesterday, hubby and I met with SuperD’s therapist to talk about next steps, and she felt that Mother’s Day could have been the reason for the extra behavioral challenges. I had already thought of that for the particular level of obnoxious he was on Sunday. We didn’t introduce the idea of Mother’s Day to him until Saturday night, so I wasn’t sure it explained the rest of the week. We don’t have cable and he only watches Netflix, so he didn’t see anything about it on TV. As far as I know, they didn’t do any activities in his HeadStart preschool around the holiday, so all I can think of is that maybe his teachers and the other kids talked about it? I’m not sure. Or maybe he was just having an off week. Regardless, we weathered it and am hoping for a better week this week.

Before he became a little terror on Sunday, SuperD was super cute about Mother’s Day. Hubby got up with the kids and took them out to get me flowers, a balloon, notepads (he ALWAYS steals my grocery list notepad, so he got me about 20 to make sure I always have one!) and breakfast tacos. He also got me a new tea kettle as my old one melted a few weeks ago. Then SuperD his everything in different spots around the house before letting me come out of the bedroom to be surprised. SuperD then brought me each gift from its hiding place and opened them for me. It was adorable.

As an added bonus, A&N’s grandmother called and had the girls tell me happy mother’s day, which was so beyond sweet. And then yesterday I got a card in the mail from them with new photos and outlines of their hands. I am so, so blessed to have such a great relationship with that family. I know they’ll always be in our lives. Last year, we didn’t really acknowledge mother’s day because we knew A&N were leaving and it just didn’t feel right, so this was the first time I’ve ever been celebrated as a mom. I know it’s a made up, Hallmark holiday but it still felt pretty good to be acknowledged.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

With kindness and love

I interact with other foster parents a fair amount, both online and in real life. I have found that this contact is essential for me in dealing with the daily stress of foster parenting. One thing I have noticed throughout these interactions is that foster moms are brutal. Not with the kids, never with the kids. Not with the caseworkers (to their faces, at least). Not with bio-families, no matter how much they push our buttons. No, there’s really only one person we’re rough on. OURSELVES!  

Man, if we make one small mistake, we beat ourselves up about it for days. If we get frustrated and snap at a child or don’t know how to handle a particularly off-the-wall behavior, we fret that we are the wrong caregiver for that child. We think maybe they’d be better off with someone else. And then the guilt sets in. We made a commitment. Disruption would be so hard for the child. I shouldn’t be feeling this way about this hurting, scared, confused baby. We feel afraid of the challenge we are facing in these kids. Then we are frustrated with ourselves for being afraid, for not wanting the challenge, for thinking it is too much for us. It’s a complex, vicious cycle of emotions.

The other thing I see over and over amongst foster mamas is unbelievable kindness to each other. If someone is beating themselves up over something publicly, you better believe a whole crew of mamas are going to come forward with support, validation and personal stories to normalize those feelings. It is so easy for us to accept and love each other, to support each other with words and acts of kindness. After all, we know how hard it is. We get it. And we don’t want to see any other foster mama suffer when we know they are actually an amazing human being.

As Mother’s Day approaches, I am pushing myself to treat ME with the same kindness, love and support that I see reflected within the foster parenting community. Instead of being my own worst critic, I’m going to try to be my own best supporter. I challenge other foster moms (and dads) to do the same. Love yourself the way you love the kids, with an open heart and an emphasis on the positive. You deserve it!

Not a Hallmark moment

Today is Monkey’s last family visit before Mother’s Day. It is also her last family visit before court, at which her mother will possibly have her rights terminated. I’m expecting it to be emotional. Monkey’s mama is mentally ill. She’s not abusive, not intentionally neglectful. She just doesn’t quite have the capability to be a mama to her children, even though she wants to be more than anything. And she lack the support network that would make that possible. I wanted to commemorate Mother’s Day somehow, but struggled to figure out how. Eventually I settled for a very generic Mother’s Day card, which I signed with Monkey’s handprints and footprints. I’ll pick up some flowers on the way to the visit, too. Hallmark definitely doesn’t make a card for this situation.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Having an off week

SuperD is very, very disregulated this week. And it's only Monday! We’re not sure why. As far as we know, there haven’t been any major triggers, no routine changes. He’s just being squirrely. Running away from us (and his teachers), major tantrums, tons of annoying attention-seeking behavior. I know what we need to do. I know how to parent this. It’s easier if I can point to a reason, though. Having him be this anxious for no reason is disconcerting. And sad…he has no clue why he’s acting so out of control, and it isn’t making him particularly happy. Hoping we get through this rough stretch quickly!