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.
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.
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?
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.
It has been several weeks since we have posted. Been busy keeping up with the day to day.
An update for the oldest of our foster kiddo, as we posted on the 14th of May the plan is still for him to go live relatives in the area. We were told he would be out of our home by the end of May. We are now one-third of the way through June and he is still living with us. It is unclear when he will be leaving us.
An update on our youngest. She turned 1 on May 9th, as we have posted. She is standing but has not started to walk. She eats lots of different foods. One of the brightest changes has been a development of a personality. Today we received an email from her worker telling us that the parents have notified the state that they wish to end visits and take steps in severing their parental rights to their baby.
Lots of mixed emotions in the Covert household today. As we understand it, the court hearing in July will still happen. Then there will be a second hearing 30 days later. From that point there is a whole host of other stuff that we are not sure about. We will keep you all posted.
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.