Tag Archives: foster parents

Learning Language in Toddler Time

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

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Pool Time

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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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What Would You Do?

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?

Update Following Court

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.

Decoding and an Update

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.

Two Will Become One, Most Likely?

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!

Change Without Annoucement

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.

A Valentine Mix-Up

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.

This Last Weekend

Weekends are the time when Cheryl and I get to be with each other and kiddos the most out of any other time of the week.  We get to get up with the kiddos and be with them all day long.  No rushing in the morning, no running late in the evening; we are home together.  It seems like we end up packing more into a weekend day than ever could into a week day.  I blame the perceived flexible schedule.  The days are our oyster and we can make of them as we see fit.

This last weekend actually started with the middle kiddo getting his cast off.  Because I have never had a broken bone I have always just assumed things about the healing process.  It seems that some of my misconceptions of them have been set straight.  The little guy was a champ taking it off.  The doctor showed Cheryl the bone and the outer part of the bone was healed, but still has a split in the inner (he said it could take another month to heal all the way.  Either way the cast came off.  Even though the little guy did not mind the sounds involved in cutting off the cast he now is not a fan of walking.  (looks like he is back where he was when it was put on).20141213_094650

Later, on Saturday morning we decided to get up and go to a couple of stores.  The boys needed new shoes and we had run low on a few stock items at home.   After a Cheryl made a pancake breakfast, we headed out.  On the way out of the complex I suggested we take the middle kiddo to get his hair cut (we have permission to have his hair cut, but we do not have permission for the other two kiddos).  We swung into the local quick hair cut shop (which is where I took the picture from Saturday).  The cut was a success and the kiddo did a great job.  I think both Cheryl and I envisioned melt down city, but he did great.

We continued our morning by going to a few shops in Goodyear.  First stop a lady’s shop.  I stayed outside with the kiddos since the aisles seem to be so close together and it is hard to maneuver the bus of a stroller we have.  Both boys and I played a little game of “roar hands” (the boys love to make growing sounds so I joined in one time and showed them how to make “claws”).  They loved it mostly because of how awesome “roar hands” can be.  Time flew by and before we knew it Cheryl was done and we walked to a large aisled electronic store.   We strolled around a bit and made no purchases (it was really just in between the first store and the shoe store).  On the way out Cheryl asked for the oldest kiddos’ hand at which he refused and instead went limp down to the floor to throw a little tantrum.  We took him outside and got him out of the funk.

We continued on our journey down the sidewalk past a small aisle grape and potato store and past a couple other stores.  We came to the shoe store and found the aisle (yes they were small aisles) for the kiddos shoes.  The store clerk informed us of the “deals” they were having.  Later we asked the same clerk for assistance and she eventually convinced us to measure the kiddos’ feet.  It turns out that even though they mostly wear the same sized shoes the boy’s sizes a bit further apart.  We found two sets of shoes in the appropriate size (both of which light up) and went to the counter to check out.  As we were waiting, the oldest one found many interesting things at eye level that he wanted to touch.  Cheryl told him not to with which he responded by touching a different item.  I told him to stop with which he responded by going limp to the floor and having a tantrum.  I took him outside (since we had not paid yet) and by the time Cheryl had finished paying he was again out of his funk.

We decided to head back to the car since there were no more shops that we wanted to look at in this direction.  We walked past the many stores we had on the way there.  On the way back, I reminded Cheryl that we wanted to go into a store that was in the opposite direction of when we first started to find a table cloth.  We devised a plan that I would stay of the kiddos in the car while Cheryl ran in very quickly (this particular store has very small and aisles that make lots of turns).  As Cheryl went to leave the middle boy 20141206_183257figured it was his time to have a little tantrum.

Later on in the day, after the kiddos all had lunch and naps and played and several more tantrums for varying reasons we decided to go to a holiday festival in the great City of Avondale.  There was going to be amusement rides and street fair vendors and live music and snow.  We clothed all of the kiddos in sub-zero type clothing and loaded the car.  Cheryl, the master parker found a great spot right next to the barricades.  Lots of vendors and a as promised a Ferris Wheel.   We walked the length of the event and back again, but no snow.  The word on the snow (other than it was not real snow) was they had to close it down because when it was being made it came out too much like ice.  At the end of the event the kiddos got to see the jolly red suited guy in passing and both boys loved their red and white light up rods.

Sunday came and we did many of the same things that Saturday had in store for us.  An extended breakfast time followed by loading the kiddos up for a quick trip in the morning to a local store (we needed to get a few last minute things done early because we had planned a trip to see foster grandma Becky (FGB).  We ran those few errands with minimal issues and back home in time for lunch before a nap.  FGB called during that time to let us know that another weekend would be better.  After nap time we had lots of time for playing on their bikes.  The little girl even stood on her own holding onto a bike.  We watched Christmas movies with the kiddos and again dinner time and bed time came.

Cheryl and I turned in around 9:30 and I promptly fell asleep; a few minutes after midnight and I hear crying in one of the monitors.  I look over at the monitor next to me and to had quick spikes of red.  “I’ll go check him” Cheryl says to me.  A few minutes after Cheryl left I followed.  “He threw up, will you check his bed and see if any got on there?”  Nope it was contained.  Cheryl and I spent the hours between midnight and 4:45 trying to help the oldest of three feel better.  Just as he started to fall to sleep I heard the little lady reminding me it was time to eat.  Guess I am up for the morning, for the week.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great week everyone!!!

First

One year ago today Cheryl and I became full time foster parents.  It feels like much, much longer than just a year.  Many of the firsts that we experienced as a parenting unit happened out of order of the tradition.

We were first time parents to two children during the holiday season to one first timer himself and a second timer to another child.  I remember sitting by the tree helping a kiddo open gifts.  The first ever birthday party we threw for a kiddo we were parenting was a second birthday party; a few months later then for her brother.  We watched the first unassisted steps taken by our two year old.  I remember the excitement we felt when we finally were able to sleep through the night; the excitement for a kiddo who could sit up by himself; the excitement for a first time roll from back to tummy (we actually experienced twice this year); the excitement for a leap frog style crawl that transformed into a speed crawler; the excitement for the first time pull to stand and then cruse the furniture.  This year we even experienced the first time of being empty nesters.  Lots and lots of first time experience that we will never forget.

The thing that I will remember most about December 11, 2013 is that was a time that we thought we had lots of ideas of what to expect. December 12, 2013 at 2:34 am life and expectation changed. We expected to step into the lives of children we have never me and give them support while their care givers fortified the things in their own lives.  Beyond that we had a lot of misconception of what it would be like to parent children.  The time and energy that one puts into evening feedings cannot be described fully.  The emotional attachments that occur in a matter of days cannot be fully understood.  It was as if we had seen all of the outsides to a building and with each passing day (and yes I mean even into today) we discover new parts of that building.  We do not know what the future will hold for us or for the kiddos who are in our care, but we do know that we will discover whatever is ahead together.

Thanks for reading.