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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?

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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.

Inward

Today is our third class in becoming licensed to be foster parents.  In the last two weeks (we did not post after last week’s class) there has not been a lot of outward shows of movement.  It has been familiar like the ebb and flow of so many other months in the last almost eight years.  It feels very much like the “hurry up and wait” of the past.  

We have had a few inward pieces of progress; the first of which has been in finding a suitable location for child care.  Earlier in the process we had made a decision to go to one place however that location does not meet the DES requirements which sent us back to the drawing board.  Because we are more like casual onlookers into the foster world then the full throttle ones we drew upon finding another place to the ways we knew how; you guessed it first a Google search.  We found lots and lots of places but every time we would research a bit further they all did not meet the needs that we have.  Finally the good old fashioned phone coupled with a lucky Google search led us to two very good possibilities both close to the path to or from work.  Some time in our future we want to go to tour the facilities in person, maybe one un-booked Sunday in the next few weeks.

A second glimpse of inward progress came last weekend after class.  We took some time together to reconnect.  Sure we do lots of things together and do not have lots of non-work related time apart.  On Sunday we had some good old fashioned bonding time.  Somewhere in the middle of all of that togetherness we thought of how special it is going to be in just a few short weeks to have another person in our home.  Home will feel different, but during that time that we were together we remembered how the different is something that we have been working towards.

The Saturday before last (which was the last time we posted) we ventured over to mom’s house to conquer another inward planning side of making ourselves ready.  This is more for the physical needs of preparing a home for children.  All of the things that a foster child needs as they are coming to a new place to live with different people.  In class, the presenters talk all about the importance of having a few comfort things.  Show the kids around, make sure they know they are safe and give them a chance to explore.  Because we have never been parents before we do not have all of the things that a parent would have had.  None of the toys, or the cloths or the diapers or the furniture or any other the other things that a parenting unit might have.  More over we do not really know the age or the sex of the child/children that will be living with us.  The typical thing for new parents to do is to have a “baby shower”.  After lots of brainstorming and debate we have decided to have a “welcome to parenting party”  even though we know that some feel this is some sign of greed.  Everyone will have their own opinion of our choice but for those of you who have followed our journey can see that it is just another piece of our puzzle.

Today, like last Saturday and the Saturday before that we will drive to Mesa (which sounds like an outward sign).  This drive already feels like routine.  Already feels like the high and lows of a reproductive cycle.  Just the thing that we do in the normal way and flow of trying to be parents.  For almost eight years we have found some much normalcy in going through that cycle.  One difference between this circle and the others in the past is the closeness that we now feel to finding an outcome of something other than a BFN.

To come… weeks 3, 4 and 5 of classes; home study (which we have not been scheduled for); welcoming to parenting party, placement and the life with helping to raise a child/some children.