Language development is one of the most intriguing things I can think of. I remember as a young child sitting in history class, maybe in sixth or seventh grade listening to my teacher teach on some ancient civilization. I remember it because of the un-thought out question that I had. The statement was made that the civilization did not have a written language. Before the teacher could explain further my hand sprung up and I was called on to ask “if they did not write things down, how did they communicate?” Yes I very un-thought out question. Being able to communicate is the the same thing as being able to write.
Read more here: http://www.oaksacorns.com/baby-puzzle/learning-language-in-toddler-time
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.
Earlier this month we updated that one of our foster kiddos was going home with a great aunt. We have since heard from his family, letting us know he is doing well. The family he has gone to live with will care for him and knowing that he has a simi-permanent home is satisfying even though it is still a bit heart breaking, not getting to see him grow and develop.
On to our own home, on the tenth of July we welcomed into our home a brother-sister set of foster kiddos. The brother is two months shy of three and the sister will turn one on Saturday. Transition and adjustment takes time. We (Cheryl and I) are used to other kiddos. I fun thing is getting to know new little ones. Even in the face of struggle we get a few giggles and smiles. The brother-sister duo has a court date two Fridays from now so possibly there will be an update coming.
The sole remaining kiddo from October is also still with us. Yes that means we have an 11month old, 14 month old and an almost three year old. The veteran kiddo is doing well. We have seen her first steps, although she is not anywhere near a full time walker. She says lots of baby talk and what I swear is “hi”. At the end of meal time she signs “all done”. She loves to climb things and is a big time dare devil. She also has a court date this coming Friday so there will most likely be updates coming from that as well.
There is never a dull moment in our home. I will try to do a better job of posting on a regular basis. Thanks for taking your time to read and support us.
At the end of April Cheryl and I had our monthly visit by our case workers for both of our kiddos. The workers had agreed to both meet at the same time because they were coming from the same office and would be able to use the car pool lane in rush hour traffic. It worked well for us also because it combined two meetings into one.
The monthly visits are for the purpose of the workers having contact with the kiddos. They can see them in Cheryl and I’s home and also so they can ask about the progress of the kiddos. There is a form of questions that we go through and by this point we know the questions that will be asked so things run pretty smoothly. The worker for our younger kiddo went first. Everything has been progressing well for her and the conversation went quickly. Then the worker for our older kiddo’s worker went and we reported the same type of progress we had seen in past months.
At the end, the older kiddo’s worker told us that by the end of May he would be going to live with relatives. The worker told us that she did not have more details for us, but that she would let us know as the time got closer. It is good news for him as it is a mid-step back to his home. As always, it is hard on Cheryl and I.
In the last two weeks, we have heard no further news about when the transfer will happen. We understand that the logistics take a lot to hammer out and that it all does not happen overnight. Still, it is hard to feel like we are an afterthought to the communication loop.
On a side note, our kiddo who went to live with his dad in early April will be coming over this weekend to visit. We had hoped he could visit for his sister’s birthday, but schedules did not work out. We are excited because our now oldest placement still asks where his playmate is and when he might see him. Transitions are so hard for these kiddos.
Thanks for reading. Have a great day!
In a moment things seem to change without announcement.
As I wrote in an earlier post, our normal respite family who takes our kiddos when we need child care took on other responsibilities and is no longer available to us. Last weekend we had a chance to meet a new respite family. They can only take the baby (so we will need another family for the boys). They live in Mesa, which is on the other side of the valley from us. We drove to their home last Sunday and met with them. They are a nice couple, married around the same time as us, hospitable. They told us many of their experiences within the system. Getting to hear their accounts and stories of the goods and bads of fostering (they have actually adopted one child) was an interesting re-affirmation that at the very least Cheryl and I are not taking crazy pills and living in some other reality. In addition to getting to hear their own story we also had a chance to see where the baby will sleep and eat and all of the other things. Sometimes sudden change can lead to an unexpected surprise. We will have to a chance to meet the other respite family this coming weekend.
Just the other morning I woke up to the fussy sounds of the baby wanting her morning change and meal. Most mornings she is up before the boys and this morning was no different. I went into her room and she was still half sleeping. Because she was still half asleep I left her in her crib while I picked out her outfit for the day. Daycare always asks us to send her in “footsies” because of her protest to keeping on shoes and socks. That morning I chose a “onesie” and pants. I remember looking through the selection and the many messages on the front “Daddy’s Favorite”, “Mommy Loves me”, “Mommy’s Favorite” and so on and so forth, so many of the baby clothes that the many stores out there carry have person specific messages. On this this particular morning it had a picture of a whale a something about how Daddy loved her. So many things have changed in the kiddos lives since they have come to live with us. Keeping them focused on hitting their developmental stages is important to us. After court this last week we have to keep that in mind the most. It is not a competition to make the cute clothes ring true but about helping her learn to walk and getting the boys to learn to use the potty.
In the meantime… we will look forward to the changes that happen suddenly and sometimes without announcement. Thanks for reading.
Cheryl and I are involved in a number of things in our community both professionally and within the community at large. Much of the time we are able to be a part of these groups within the context of our day, while the kiddos are at day care or while one of us is able to be at home with them as the other is not. When the community group involves both Cheryl and I we have two options 1)’ making sure it is family friendly and we all go 2) finding care takers to take the kiddos for the time. When it is the second option it is not as easy as picking up the phone and asking this family member or that close friend because the care givers have to have a minimal amount “security clearance”.
One such event (with option two) is coming up this weekend, yes over Valentine ’s Day. Knowing of our needs Cheryl and I asked our licensing agency to help us find respite care way back at the end of December. We had all the kiddos scheduled to go to our usual home. About a week and a half ago our licensing agency emailed us telling us that the family we had scheduled with were no longer available and we were out of luck.
What did that mean for Cheryl and I? Scramble time.
With only about two weeks before a Friday evening, all day Saturday and most of the day Sunday what type of person could we ask? That short of notice over a weekend when something special is going on we will have to ask someone to re-arrange their plans. So to answer the question we could only ask people who we thought would be forgiving that we would ask on such short notice and would still be willing to help out. We reached out to our Engaged Encounter group (the community group we will be involved in this weekend), however because of the specialness of the weekend all group members are in the same boat as we are, helping with the weekend. After them we had a short list of people and finally found our saving couple Crystal and Scott Bott who, because of the job backgrounds, meet the “security clearance” and were wonderful enough to rearrange their time so we can be there for 30 engaged couples.
One large topic that I don’t think Cheryl or I talk about enough on here is the need for personal and community time. As we have gone through our baby puzzle journey some times that need gets pushed to the back burners. There is always another diaper to change, another sippy cup to fill, another boo-boo to kiss, another dirty front room to clean up, another load of laundry to put over, another sink full of used bottles to scrub, another banana to slice, but there is only one full time partner through it all. For those of you on your own baby puzzle journeys (no matter where you are) take some time to remember that all parts of your relationships, your mommy roles, and daddy roles all need a little bit of nurture and care for.
And if I did not say it enough THANK YOU CRYSTAL AND SCOTT…
Thanks for reading.
Cheryl and I are part of an engagement preparation ministry. As part of this ministry, we talk to couples who are preparing to be married. During the talking there are lots of different topics and themes are part of their preparation. Being a part of this group has been a strengthening point for the two of us. Even the idea of being foster parents, in part, came from another couple who had fostered themselves who are also a part of this ministry.
Late last night and this morning I spent a little bit of time reflecting on one concepts of the weekend; the idea that loving your spouse is a choice rather than an innate reaction. Moreover, the process that choosing to love is an essential part of the relationship. The choice nurtures care and support and fosters devotion and respect. It is that idea that I may not feel like I can do it, but I do it because I know it is needed. As one other couple says “I may not like the decisions or actions, but I still choose to love.”
The choice to love is ever present in the choice to foster. We have no innate connection to the children in our care. They come to us “as they are” and how “as they are” we may never know the fullness of what that means. We don’t have a movie with the highlights of their lives; we get second, third or fourth hand stories that so much of the time has a secondary motive. Likewise, the accounts of devotion, care and concern that we express can be looked at with scrutiny by a myriad of people believing we would only say or do or think something because of our own selfish motives. Even in the face of this perception, we must choose to love. We have to keep the focus on the needs of the children even when we hear that others think the children are not our primary focus of care.
The outward signs of progress and development are our goal. Getting over the illness, getting past the fears, learning to play nice and how to share shows the choices that are being made. The kiddos in our current care have been here for a short amount of time, but the beginning developments are what keeps us plugging away. We certainly are not perfect and do not know many of the answers to the questions that we have.
The best part of our choices are that they are not just for the kiddos, but the chance to show each other the love we choose to have for each other. It is so hard to hear the “thank yous” or the “you all have such large harts” type comments because of the reward of showing my devotion and care for Cheryl. If you have read the many blog posts from start to here you know that being foster parents is our chance, like many of you, to parent (unlike some of you that chance may not be present without the fostering). We may not be the kiddo’s parents, but we are offered that chance to impart the same type of skills we might have if we had ever been graced with biological children. Our choice to foster children is one way I show Cheryl I love her each day.
Finding the time
Three weeks ago at this time Cheryl and I sat in a dining room on a cruise ship. We listened to clink-clank sounds of hundreds of dish going to and coming from tables. We watched over worked servers have to dance to the Gangnam Style song. Earlier that day we had made the decision that we were ready to fill the void of children once more. We had both promised each other to take a few months away from the role of parenting, but now realized what we truly needed was a vacation. The value of getting away and recharging is often lost when we get engrossed with the day to day things. The biggest part of void that I would say in our vacation was we had no little ones to share the experiences with.
Two weeks ago at this time Cheryl and I were getting ready to take care of our nephew for a few hours on Thursday and then again Friday evening. Nephews at an older age as he is are pretty independent and can be entertained with … well with simpler things like a video game. No judging, it is actually something that he looks forward to when he comes to our house so yes a video game playing he and I did. Cheryl had a late evening meeting so we (my nephew and I) played together and then by himself, I even let him stay up almost twenty minutes past his bedtime. He loved the game and was engaged.
One week ago at this time Cheryl and I sat in our front room playing with two 1+ year olds and rocking a third infant in our arms. We had Cheryl’s mom visiting her new foster grandchildren. Many of the experiences we had with the kiddos who left us had also been had with foster grandma. We planned to get all the five of them together later that weekend. The most interesting thing about having two 1+ boys is they entertain themselves in a way that both find a game that seems random to me, but makes perfect sense to them. Both boys love love love our dogs who are also part of the play group.
Today I sit here at this time waiting for an assessment team to come out and determine the services needed for the infant. We did not realize that she needed this done still and will have the same person who came six days ago to check out the younger of the two boys. The first days of a placement is different than the many days following because everyone who is/should be involved with the children need their own face time with them. In another week or two things will slow down just a bit (or at least that is how it proceeded with our first placement) as there will be a schedule in place. We have been to doctors, we have seen our own fostering licensing person, we have seen workers (CPS people), we have done assessments and we have done for “ice breaker” meetings with the children’s parents all in nine days.
One week from this time I will be in my front room with the little ones getting ready for dinner. Cheryl will be at a meeting. Our schedules will be in better working order, our lives more routine. One week from today will be our 9th wedding anniversary. Don’t feel to bad for us that we will be apart. If we had no kiddos in our home I would also be at work. Apparently November 5th is some type of have your employees work after hours day. On any accord, I will either be at home preparing dinner and caring for three kiddos or I will be presenting to parents while also taking care of three kiddos who will need to be getting ready for bed very soon after.
In all, it is a pleasure to find the time to take care of these children while their biological families get the affairs in order. The void that exists without them is at the very least relaxing, but still be feel just a little piece gone. Having time to spend with family (like our nephew) is good, but there is no reason that time has to be one on one. Time spent getting our own cases (and yes even though 2 of our three placements are siblings they are separate cases) in order means that the proper support an care are available for the safety, wellbeing and development of the kiddos. One big reason that we wanted to be foster parents is for the chance to parent. Our relationship holds this as part of our bond and we are very happy to also be able to share our special day with these children.
One big part of our puzzle is just simply, finding the time.
Yesterday was the four week mark since the little ones left our home to live again with their mom.
The hours, days and even first week felt so surreal, no way had they left our lives for good. We would find ourselves saying things we would only say for them like our songs or our nicknames. We would find ourselves doing things around the house like they were there. There empty rooms we called by name even still while they sat empty. Yesterday morning I turned to Cheryl and said to her that today was the four week mark. She was shocked and could not believe it had been that long. I too cannot believe it has been that long.
We both went to work, each of us about our own day. Around noon (I think about 11:40) my office phone range with the information plate saying Cheryl’s number. “Agnes says she is putting our name in for a little three month old girl and another year and a half year old boy. What do you think,” Cheryl said as I answered the phone. What do I think? I think this is what we had talked about. This is what we decided we were called for. Are we ready? What should I have done this last weekend to be better prepared? How are we going to be able to pick them up? “Yes, let me know what you hear,” is all I really mustered up.
So much to do at work, for work. Let me type up an emergency set of plans… just in case. Last time we had actually received a similar call and in the end the children had been placed with a different family so there is no need to alarm the people I work for just yet. From what we have been told, many people who foster have at least one parent who stays home. Twenty, thirty, forty minutes wade by. ALL of the little task I thought were an emergency seemed to get done easily and with plenty of time to spare. I went back to the other tasks of the day.
Ten minutes later the phone rang again… again Cheryl’s number popped up. Cheryl conveyed that our foster agency had told her that the little boy would be coming to live us. Also, Cheryl had talked with the CPS worker and she would be at our home at 1:30… thirty-five minutes away. I quickly checked in with a co-worker who needed something and also talked with my supervisor to let her know I needed to leave. Yes, twenty eight minutes to make it home; should be just enough time.
I spent the afternoon introducing our new addition to our home. One experience that I had not thought through completely is the fact that when you are parenting you get to a point where you expect certain behaviors, certain reactions. A new addition means a whole new set of rules about what to expect. I think the coming weeks we will really spend that time understanding out new set of expectations.
In the afternoon we were able to set up daycare. We came up with a game plan to get to the doctor’s (by the end of the week). We are set and ready for a new host of experiences and challenges. This weekend also we will have guests as Cheryl’s mom will come to visit as well as the two little ones who once called our house, home. Thanks for reading.