Monthly Archives: March 2014

Illness

“I have been sicker since the kiddos came to us than I was in all of my 20s”. Cheryl said this morning.

It seems like a never ending cycle, one of the kiddos gets sick and a few days later the other one is sick and a few days later one or both of us are sick. There has not been a set of maybe more than two or three consecutive days since mid-December that we have not been dealing with illness.

We have learned a bit from this experience. One being you can alternate Tylenol and Advil ever two hours to combat fever. The bad thing about fever is just how dangerous it can be for a little one. Their bodies go through more than our adult bodies. Additionally, if a fever is recorded at daycare the little one cannot return the following day. This is good because it helps prevent the spread of sickness, but it has been difficult on us because as I described the little ones have been trading off illness. Since they have come to us we have had at least six recorded fevers.

We talked with birth mom back in January and she told us of the illness they had come to us with, but said in general the little ones never got sick in the past. I have a feeling that daycare lends its self to spreading of the illnesses. They try their hardest to keep it out, but with 13 little mouths and 26 little hands in their room it is pretty easy to see where it could come from.

We have learned creative ways to evacuate mucus from the little ones. There is the standard nose sucker thingy. But when coupled with saline it is far more effective. We have learned how to mix breathing treatments and use a spacer for an inhaler. As foster parents, we are fonder of the inhaler option, but love seeing the relief that either provide when the little ones are having trouble breathing.

Immune systems are an interesting thing. Seems we have heard it at least a dozen times, “once those kiddos make it to grade school they are never going to get sick.” I sure hope that immune system starts building some defenses to the sickness. Working with kids for as long as I have, I have a fairly strong immune system, but still I have not escaped getting sick a few times. Nothing like my first few years in schools, but more than years passed.

The biggest thing that we have learned is the need to be proactive. Even though something might sound small now we still need to take care of it now. We are not sure how to end the cycle of illness because the place the little ones are getting the illness from is not an option.

Thank you for taking the time to read this entry. Have a great day.

Advertisements

Things

Have you ever noticed just how many things there are exclusively for ages 0 to 2? It makes sense that the clothes are smaller, the food needed is less, the lack of need to monitor time is present, but what about all of the gadgets and things that one “needs” to take care of a little one.

Car seats. Up to a certain weight or age, a human needs an accessory for riding in a car. Some recline, some sit up, some are rear facing and others are forward facing and some are a combination of those things. There are age limits and weight restrictions placed on the accessory which means that after using it for a short time you need to upgrade to a new car accessory. Moreover… there are expiration dates for how long they are good for. The very most interesting part, however is the large amount of accessories that can be added to, clip on or otherwise enhance this car accessory. Car seats, themselves are not a shock to a new parent that you might need them, but the variation in types and functions can be.

Strollers. For those parents who are out and about with little ones. Not all strollers are created equal. There are single seaters and ones that seat multiples; there are the regular and then the umbrella (compact) strollers, there are ones that let you click in a car seat and ones for jogging. You really want to test out the stroller before choosing one or another because some are more functional then others. Some collapse for putting into the car better than others. Some stroll better than others. An adult who has seen them casually walking by has no idea the complicated aspects that could have went into choosing that particular stroller.

Diaper Bags. Yep, if you are going to go out and about this is a must. One big secret… they are not necessarily only for holding diapers. Of course they do that too, but one can find compartments for wipes, food, meds, wardrobe changes, and any other number of things that are a must when away from the larger supply train at home. Many of the diaper bags have some print design on the outside which allow for accessorizing just like one might do with a purse or other item.

Crib/toddler bed. This, just like an adult bed is a good place for sleeping. However I list them here because of some of the distinctions that they make. First off, the sides to this baby bed. One needs not only the typical bedding, but also things like bumpers. Along with the crib comes the dresser which most like will house a changing table. A specific place for changing diapers and clothes. On top of that changing table sits a changing mat which also may need another piece of fabric.

Baby wipes. Very different from tissue paper or cleanex, the are moistened and are perhaps as important as a diaper. They serve many different purposes from wiping clean the little ones hands after eating to making sure the runny nose is taken care of and a million other things. The most intriguing part of the wipe itself is the accessory, the wipe warmer. It is no enough that they are moistened but the need for a warm wipe is also desired.

Eating utensils. Yes, different forks and spoons. Beyond that though you have sippy cups and snack holders. You have formula bottles and pacifiers. You have high chairs and booster seats. Much of the time that is not spent sleeping or playing is spent with the operation of eating which makes sense that there are so many things. I also think that an adult or two would appreciate a sippy cup for their own drinking pleasure.

Toys. One certainly would expect children to have toys, but much like the car seats the toys are limited to age range and vary far and wide. One lovely piece of furniture that we have found that has let the little man practice his sitting up is a bumbo seat. Just gives him extra support for sitting up and he loves to be able to play from there. Lots of noises and colors and all sorts of sensory experiences for the little ones to learn from their surroundings.

I am sure I have missed at least 10 other things I had in mind when I started writing. Because we are new at this, we most likely have taken on too many of the gadgets that the kiddos need. More than one person has pointed out to us the amazingly large amount of things we have collected. We have a purpose for all of the things, probably scared that we will get somewhere and do something and feel like we are missing that one thing. About six weeks ago we took the kiddos swimming for what we found out later, their first swim time. We went to Target first. We opted to not grab a cart because it was going to be a quick in and out. By the time we had made our way through the store both of us had our arms full of stuff and cloths hanging from the stroller. The best part about collecting so many things is now we have it for the future and oh by the way, the little ones love to swim.

Thanks for reading.

By The Numbers

98: The number of days the little ones have lived with us.

70: The number of days since the last state run supervised visit.

46: The number of days until the next court date where we should find out a whole lot more about the kiddos path to reunification.

37: The number of days until the little girl’s second birthday.

25: The number of days until the little boys’ 8 month birthday which is more significant when said it will also signify the day when he will have lived 50% of life with us.

3: The number of days until supervised visits resume, thanks in part to our squeaky wheel.

2: The number of kiddos depending on the fostering team to get things right the first time because to them it is not a time at all, but their lives.

One of the very most difficult parts of fostering has been the unknown. There are very few things in life that are a certainty and I am sure that some of our unknowns are not different than any other parenting setting. We are given information, it seems, on a need to know basis at times. No one knows the direction and there is no map. Even though we have a finite date in May it is possible the little ones could leave us before that date, it is possible they could leave us on that date, it is possible they could stay with us longer, and as our daycare has pointed out it is possible that they could leave us on a day that we had no idea it is the last. We have lots of people telling us what the typical is. The reality is, there is no crystal ball, we do not know. For this reason; every time we drop the little ones off the daycare or another place of care we do it understanding it may be our last time.

Regardless of the unknowns, we will do our best to continue to share our experiences.

“… like gold”

Last summer, on our vacation, we were visiting friends from the norther country ( not Canada, norther NV and CA). We had decided to visit Lake Tahoe with the people we were staying with. At the time I remember all of the things that needed to be packed in the car. There certainly was a lot of stuff for two grow adults and a toddler. Beyond the folding chairs and cooler with food, there were at least two, maybe three bags for the toddler. Interesting. Anyways… We headed up to the lake and on the way we realized… we had forgot a pacifier so before getting out of the biggest little city we stopped at a local super market; objective lunch and pacifier. Then came the comment that spurred my train of thought for this blog post, “these things are like gold.” I accepted the comment and did not argue the point, after all who was I to argue about things parenting.

Fast forward to about a month ago. The baby monitor’s single green gentle light flashes a few green bubbles and then full on whaling red. It is about a thirty second transition from sleeping to baby’s room; that nights objective give the little man his pacifier so he will fall back asleep. Into a darkened room with a full on crying baby and over to the crib. Little man is fine, but needs to be rocked. I pick him up. Wait where is the pacifier. No not close to where his head was a quick scan observes. I brush my hand across the mattress coming up with nothing. That can’t be, one more frantic pass comes up with nothing. Ok, there has to be one on the side table in the front room so I walk out into the front room which is where the rocker is. No, not a pacifier to be seen there. Wait, ok the cupboard, we just bought like 8 of them a week ago. Relief for the still crying baby. Open up the cupboard, two empty pacifier holders without pacifiers. No pacifier and still a crying baby. Ok I can do this, get a crying baby to stop crying, just by rocking ( which does happen, but only when he is in the right mood… not sleepy mood). I start back towards the chair and Cheryl walks out of the room, “here let me.” Little man passed to Cheryl who begins to rock him. No I am not going to stand and watch Cheryl rock him, I am finding this pacifier so back to the room. It must be on that mattress, it must. Two, three, four passes of the hand over every inch and corner, nothing. Hum… he had it when…. I got it, down on my hands and knees, under the crib I scan first straight ahead, then one side and the oth… yes, there it is, as I stretch to the center of the area underneath the crib. Success, I found it. I take my prize back to Cheryl and proudly hold it out. In her arms she has a sleeping baby who is ready to go back down.

We seriously go through pacifiers like they are going out of style. Trip to Target most likely will yield at least one pack of pacifiers. Some of them end up at daycare (a week ago we brought home 7), some of them end up in the car, and if we are not looking some of them become a precious treat for our fur babies. The little man loves to take and with all of his blowing power push it out of his mouth and other times will wave it around with so much joy. The biggest problem I have with this is, I can only maybe account for about 60% of the pacifiers which leads me to wonder if there is some type of pacifier thief or perhaps pacifier gnomes who harvest said pacifiers, repackage them and then sell them back to Target. At this time I can say with certainty, I know where three pacifiers are and that by the end of the weekend we will have gone to Target and bought at least one more set for the coming week.

On a more serious note, it still amazes me the amount of stuff one needs for such a small person (or persons) but that is a topic of another time. Thank you for taking the time to read and have a great day.

The Squeaky Wheel

One quick update. After a few weeks of pestering, we found out today that our request for visit to begin has been granted. We had been told it was at least another month out, but someone came available. We are so excited for the little ones because of the need for bonding time. Not a lot has changed from our last post, but one piece of good new is so wonderful to get. Thanks for reading and all of the support and prayers and everything everyone has given to us. We are so very grateful.

Heartbroken

“I think that’s best, anyways!”

Since becoming foster parents we have all but fallen off the face of the earth. As written about in our last entry, it is in part because of lack of time but also because it feels like there are no outlets. I don’t mean family or friends. We have had so many helping hands give us aid, support and advice. It has been those people who have kept us ticking. No, I am talking about the other responsible parties within the foster care team.

Almost three weeks ago now, we became frustrated that visits had not been set up by the providing body yet. During our foster classes we had taken to heart the things that were talked about and one big topic is the idea of bonding. Because our role as foster parents is to provide a bridge for the family unit until reunification can happen we were very concerned that the valuable time for bonding with birth mom was not being allowed. We had volunteered to supervise visits but with recent circumstances we had become much less comfortable with this. So three weeks ago we emailed called and begged for visits. Response? There are no parent aids available and will not be available for some time.

Shortly after our requests and pestering a worker had to do a visit. When did they chose to request the visit? On their way to our house. We are fine with this because our home is transparent and we have nothing to hide. I would not even have bothered to type it here except that the worker sat out in her car for 30 minutes before coming in. I know this because a family member was visiting and had gone out to pick up something and later mentioned that she saw the worker in her car when she had left. A last minute appointment who then proceeded to make us wait.

This week, extended birth family member came into town for a number of reasons including visiting the little ones. After much debate, discernment and discussion the two of us chose to transport the little ones to be with their family (the government agency still cannot provide visits) our licensing agency advised us against this decision but the state agency approved the visiting family member to be the safety monitor and stated they believed it would be safe. Our final decision rested back on our belief that the best thing for the little ones is to have bonding time with their family. The government agency was ok with it so were we.

Thursday the little ones and their birth family visited for three hours. It was a perfect time for us to drive and get a second high chair. Just enough time to get the dogs fed, high chair bought and a bite to eat and back with a happy family unit. At that time, we decided on 2:00 pm for a visit on Friday.

Friday came around and birth family made it for pick by 2:15. At that time we talked about the weekend visits. Birth mom complained about having to wake up early two days in a row and wanted to make the visit for the afternoon. Even though we wanted to give a full day for bonding, birth family wanted less than half a day. Perfect, plan made. Pick up time rolled around and then past by another 15 minutes. Fine, fine life goes on and the little ones were back to us.

This time birth family member came but no birth mom. She informed us that they were too tired for a visit Saturday. We expressed concern because of the time commitment that being a parent has on an individual. Birth family member told us that it was not our place to have such a concern and became confrontational with a few other comments. At that time our focus was keeping the little ones in a safe situation so we graciously accepted what was said. We talked on our way home and after we got home there we decided we were no longer comfortable taking the little ones to see birth family member. As we wrote the government agency worker to let her know this was the direction we were going a series of texts came our way from birth mom ( who was too tired to drop off her children but not to text). After sending our email to the government worker we expressed that we would not be able to transport the little ones to visit on Sunday. She responded by writing, “I think that’s best, anyways!”

Heartbroken! This word best describes us. Heartbroken for the government agency who is over worked and understaffed. Heartbroken for the birth family for all that they have to go through. Heartbroken for the children whose future dependent, in part, on those who are taking care of them now and in the future. Heartbroken because we do not have the input and return on that input we desire. Heartbroken because as much as we do it is not enough for these little ones. Heartbroken we are not more. Heartbroken because we do not think any of this is the best, but anyways… heartbroken.

Thank you taking the time to read about our journey.