Today is the anniversary of Cheryl and I accepting into our home two foster kiddos for our very first “parenting” experience. Lots has changed in that time and I know that our lives are forever changed because of it. We hope that the kiddos who have come to live with us for whatever length have had their lives enhanced from the time that they were with us. Other parents would call this a “birthday”. There was no birth. I guess to the ones we have cared for and to my loving wife, I wish you all blessed foster day.
As we prepare for the holiday coming this Thursday, it leads me to be introspective about the things we have experienced and are thankful for. 2015 has been another unique year. I am thankful for many things and I am sure that if I sat listing them all it may sound like everything in my life. Here are three things for our “Turkey Tuesday”.
Since last Thanksgiving, Cheryl and I have said goodbye to two of our three placements, hello to two new kiddos and grown closer to our three current placements. I am very thankful for the many gifts that each child gives us. They all have their own personalities, but in their own unique way they show us what it means to love and be loved. They grow and discover the world around them and as they do they remind me of the simple things in our lives that are just as important as the more complicated ones. Seeing the world through a child’s eye has a certain level of innocence and can un-complicate a complicated decision without even trying. I am very thankful for our three little ones with us and the two littles back home with their families.
My second Turkey Tuesday Thanks is from back in April. I spent 16 days in the hospital and another two weeks on “couch rest”. During that time a lot of the slack I left behind had to be picked up. Some of the slack was by family, some by co-workers and a whole lot by my loving wife. Cheryl was a rock who went to work, came home and took care of our kiddos and found time to take care of her emotionally fragile husband. I am thankful for the family and friends who lent her a hand in taking care of the kiddos, of the house, the dogs, and her. Cheryl went to bat for me, making sure the doctors were on track, she slept on hard chairs and she held me up. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all of the slack pickers in my time of need.
The third Turkey Tuesday Thanks is for the many coming changes that Cheryl and I anticipate in the coming year. We feel like we will have a more clear understanding what our “baby puzzle” picture will look like. We have been working feverishly to set ourselves up for our “domestic dad” plan and we will have a more active role in forming the people our littles are becoming. Every year there is change and I know that nothing is ever static. Having a chance to live out our goals and our plans makes me thankful.
So, from the Covert’s house and my own blogging desk, I want to wish you a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving. And that you may remember to remember the many blessings in your life. Happy Thanksgiving.
One year ago today LR came to live with us.
We did not know her, we did not know where she had been and who she had seen. We did not know her personality. Her had not experienced her laugh. We had not experienced her active tendencies. She came to our home and changed our year and our lives.
Today we still live in limbo. Today she has a grasp of our heart. Today Cheryl and I wish her a very happy one year fostering anniversary. We are very excited to see what the next year holds.
On facebook today I saw a post of a baby climbing on the top of a fence. The caption read something like, “this is what happens to the baby when I am watching them and also trying to make dinner”. (I may have mis-quoted that, but it is the gist of the message). Many week day evenings I find myself trying to balance the time with the kiddos with the ever pressing need to feed, bathe, change and all of the other little things that goes along with caring for two one-year-olds and a three year old.
Most days after work looks something like this… leave work right at 3:30 with a slew of stares from fellow co-workers wondering why I leave right at quttin’ time. I can’t stay any later, the three young minds deserve contact time with their parenting unit. Not an excuse, just my priority.
Onto the road down the 303 around to the 10 and into the front doors of daycare by about 3:55. I go to pick up B-Rad (the oldest). The “teacher” unloads a few facts about B-Rad’s day and will give me one, or two or three items to take home. Love the keep sakes, but also get dirty clothes and a sheet about his day. On a good day I can get B-Rad to carry his few items, on other days he is not in the mood. Onto the two girl’s room. We enter after the slow paced walk of B-Rad (no he does not normally walk slow, but for some reason down that hallway he moves like a snail). LR will almost always run to me and ask to be picked up. Our other girl walks holding B-Rad’s hand. As we start to go their teacher will hand me two or four or six things of the girl’s to carry and unload a few facts about their day. On the good days B-Rad will help carry and LR loves to hold her paper. On other days I may have up to four plastic bags of things and papers in my hand. Any way you dice it up we all walk to the van.
Getting three littles in a car is a balancing act. B-Rad is usually good about standing and waiting while I place one of the girls into their seat. The other girl is the trick in all of this. Most of the time we come out to “LR’s side” and I place our other girl on the floor of the van while I buckle in LR. If it happens to be the other side I place LR on the floor of the van and buckle in sister. LR is not one to patiently wait and by the time all of the buckles have been buckled LR has taken out DVDs or moved the garage door opener or the remote or tried to drive the van. Once both girls have been buckled into their seats I will turn my attention to B-Rad. Almost always he will have gotten himself into his seat. On really good days he will have also started buckling himself in, however more times than not, this process has not yet begun. B-Rad throws a large fir each time he needs to be buckled in. Life returns to a bit of normalcy once we have started the car (and more importantly the DVD).
We drive home back onto the 10, off on Sarivel and up Cotton to our home. The process of getting out of the car seems much less cumbersome to me… probably because it is happening inside our garage and not in a parking lot where there are lots of other dangers. Once inside, the baby gates to the kiddos room and into the kitchen go up so I can feed the dogs. At this point LR has a mini meltdown on most days. I have tried to let the kiddos into the dog feeding area, but it is shared with too many breakable/pull over on top of one’s self/hot/dog doors in the area. A little meltdown is better than the alternative.
We are usually in our front room by about 4:15-4:25. We spend the next hour or so playing, reading, dancing, or what ever comes our way. Around 5:40 I start dinner. I have tried this process lots of different ways, but my favorite and least dramatic is getting all of the kiddos into their high chairs. Giving the kiddos all drinks. While they start on that I start the oven or the stove top or both. Once I have that going I bring around fruit to the kiddos (usually bananas). I go with the back and forth or a little prep and a little interaction so that dinner can be ready for Cheryl when she get home around 6:10.
Once dinner has been eaten Cheryl and I tag team on bath time. All of the kiddos in the bath, we scrub from end to end. LR likes to stand in the bath tub which usually results LR slipping into the bath tub. When she is sitting she often times tries to drink from the bath water. B-Rad has an affinity for getting soap in his eyes. No matter how we wash him or poor the water to rinse it always seems to happen. Those fifteen or so minutes comes through the spare bathroom like a hurricane. Water all over the floor, but we get clean kiddos.
Changed for bed and it is out to the front room. Cheryl has commented to me that it is really hard because on many evenings she sees them for less than an hour. Those minutes after all of the daycare, the driving, the fussing, the eating, the bathing and the changing are the minutes we get to really show the kiddos how much we care for them.
It is in the little things. The balancing act seems like if you tried to stop and just listen it would fly right passed us. The other evening, before Cheryl had gotten home and before I had started dinner we had one very precious moment. Cheryl had called and LR was in my lap. I answered and after a minute I held the phone up to LR’s ear. Cheryl must have said something and in the clearest of voices LR said, “hi.” It is those moments that we treasure so much. The other things are just things that we get through during the day, but those little moments can last a life time.
Cheryl and I plan to make a few changes in the coming months so we can remove the “hour in the morning and hour in the evening” life and keep the little moments. We are looking at rearranging the other things in our life so I can stay home to raise the kiddos until it is time for them to start kinder. Lots of sacrifice. Our baby puzzle has seen lots of changes to it from when we start this blog. We are excited to continue down this journey.
We had a typical monthly visit from our worker last Friday. This was the first time she had come to our home since the kiddos have come into our care (46 days). She had to meet earlier than I could make it home for the whole meeting. By the middle of her visit, I walked into the on going conversation. By that point the worker had expressed to Cheryl that she need to know by September 8th weather we would adopt the kiddos. As I said, we have only known them for about six weeks. We have done very little in the way of discerning and have been concentrating a lot more on LR’s case. We spent a lot of time over the weekend talking about it. We know we can’t force a feeling in that short amount of time. Instead, we are going to respond that we are open to building a relationship with the kiddos and are willing to consider making adoption. We thought we had more than a year to make this decision with how the courts had been talking. Changes may be on the way for the Covert’s because if our response is not what the case worker is looking for than she may disrupt placement. Never a dull moment.
One month ago the court hearing was pushed back one month, today we had a hearing for LR. A change in the case plan from reunification to severance and adoption was issued by the judge.
Cheryl reported that LR’s dad’s attorney requested to be dropped from the case which was not granted. The judge believes that the attorney’s is still needed for the pre-trial conference. That attorney reported that the father’s wishes are to have his rights severed. LR’s mom’s attorney stated that mom does not share the sentiment. The pre-trial conference was set for September 21st @ 10am and the judge indicated that if both parents do not come that day he may sever at that time.
Cheryl and I plan to take the day off together. Nothing is set in stone about the future of this case. However August 24th, 2015 is a change for LR’s life. We ask that all of our friends, family and faithful readers pray for God’s guidance in the coming month and for whatever is in store for us.
Today we had LR’s brother and dad over for pool time and BBQ. Keeping the kiddo’s family unit in place is important to both Cheryl and I and brother’s dad. They are forever brother and sister. Having the chance to keep them in each other’s lives will hopefully give them identity as they grow. It is interesting because this was not a visioned family unit before we started fostering, but now seems to be the most natural idea we can think of. Happy Saturday everyone.
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About two weeks ago our new placement kiddos were assigned a new case aid and parent aid. These workers are responsible for dropping off and picking up the placement and for monitoring parent/child interaction. They also work with the parent(s) on a slew of skills needed for parenting. They play an important role in successful re-unification.
We have had a few interactions (phone calls and texts) with the case aid. She is a bit short however we are understanding. The situation (and reason for the post’s title) lies in interactions with our daycare workers. On Monday it was reported to them that every time the kiddo’s are picked up the younger smells. Yesterday the case aid came during a meal time. The daycare worker tried to give the case aid a piece of toast (not jellied toast, just bread that had been toasted). The kiddo started to freak out because when the worker refused. She finally let him take back his food and made a comment to our daycare worker that she was just going to get him into the car and take the food away. Then this morning when dropping our two infants off we were told by our the infant worker (a third worker reporting) that the case aid is very rude to her.
We love our daycare and also believe that the kiddo’s deserve a chance to be with their parents. Cheryl and I do not want our daycare to become disillusioned of us because of poor treatment of others. We also do not want a case aid who is short with us for reporting poor, unprofessional behavior. I personally am leaning towards ignoring the reported problems until the lack of professional behavior is directed at me or Cheryl. The problem that I have with that plan is the poor treatment of hard workers. Also, my fear that the poor treatment is also present to the kiddos when we are not around.
What would you do?
Very quick update.
Today we had a court date scheduled for LR. This was a pre-trial conference and we were told by the DCS worker and the GAL that there would be requesting a change in the case plan. Instead of the proposed agenda we found a new judge. The judge continued all of the agenda items because they are retiring soon and since there would be a new judge for the remaining parts of the case they pushed all of the items to August. So in a short statement, the update that I alluded to before actually did not occur.
On another note “LR” stands for “little roo” like “kangaroo”. Thanks for reading and the large amounts of continued support we receive.
I am going to start using “nicknames” for our kiddos so I do not have to refer to them as “the kiddo from October” or the “oldest kiddo” or the “youngest kiddo”. It is a concept that another blogger her at wordpress uses and is easy enough to follow. So
“oldest kiddo brother” = “OKB”
“younest kiddo sister” = “YKS”
“kiddo from October” = “LR” (my own nickname for her)
Tonight our worker for LR will be visiting. Cheryl and I always get nerves when someone from DCS comes to our home and not for any other reason other than the unknown. We have heard lots of whispers about a case plan being changed. We may hear more about this tonight. As I said in my last post, LR’s court date is coming up this Friday.
Monday OKB and YKS had their first visit. Some times in the past we have noticed other placements would struggle after the visit, but the kiddos seemed to do well. Their case worker dropped off lots of things that belong to OKB and YKS. It is hard to see the state by which they are delivered. Maybe it is just one of my sticking points or that we have had other placements go home, but no one’s belongings should travel in a trash bag. We were fortunate to find an organization in the valley that provides new bags (along with a bunch of other things) for kiddos in the system. I think one of the largest problems people have is just not knowing about the many services that the community will step up with.
Well that is it for now. Lots of things coming in the near future. Thanks for reading.