Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow!

And just like that, the decision has been made to place Daisy and April here TOMORROW!

Rather than chance that the foster mom changes her mind (yet again) and having to punt at the last minute next week, the caseworker will be officially moving the girls in mid-day tomorrow! The plan is that a parent aide will take the girls to their current school on Tuesday so they have a chance to say goodbye to their teachers and friends and they will begin school in our town next Wednesday! The caseworker is coordinating school registration as I type (or she had best be, LOL). I have been in contact with the school and made my teacher requests as well. I think its going to be a tough year academically for the girls. From what I understand Daisy already has an IEP and has a number of limitations. The foster mom reports that April is slipping through the cracks while all energy is focused on her older sister. I am grateful we have a good school system and hope that they will be open to working with me for the best outcome for both girls.

I called and scheduled eye exams for the girls and left a message with our dentist to get those appointments scheduled for December as well. I have set up appointments for April’s therapy intake and first appointment and have a call in for Daisy’s therapist. I have outlined the services we would like in place once we attend the disclosure meeting on Tuesday. Busy work, mostly, but they give me a sense of accomplishment in a very chaotic time.

The only major thing left to do at this point is pick up a twin mattress from a friend and get the rooms switched around. Tink moved out a couple of weeks ago (a story for another post) and Daffy was planning to take over her room because its larger and has 2 closets. We stalled the switch because we have had the respite teen here this week and thought she might enjoy the privacy. The plan is that Daffy and April will room together and Daisy will have her own room (Daffy’s former room). The idea behind this is that the 2 bio siblings cant shouldn’t room together because of their incessant conflict. I dont want to put Daffy and Daisy together (although they would LOVE it) because I fear they will “gang up” on April. Daffy understands their conflict and this is her chance to shine! She has never been a big sister and she is VERY eagerly looking forward to this.

Of course I know the novelty will wear off, but I am hopefully that we will have a few weeks of excitement and little girl giggles under our belt by that time. Having positive memories will make things easier during the challenging times!

I am very excited to begin the next portion of our journey… t minus 22 hours…

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Whirlwind

Ooooooooh boy, things have been a whirlwind of activity around here! Here is a quick run down (which I am sure will change after the office opens this morning)…

Friday afternoon I got a call from our resource worker. She had finally connected with Daisy and April’s cw. The girls foster mom had just given her “two weeks notice” that the girls needed to be moved. The resource worker let me know that 2 families were being considered as a match and she set up a disclosure meeting for 11/13 and gave me the foster mom’s phone number to connect with her to discuss the girls and get a better idea of what is going on with them right now.

Over the weekend, I spoke several times with the foster mom. She shared both the bad and the good. I was relieved to hear her say that she fully supported the girls coming to live with us. (If I find any extra time in the day, I will post details about these calls.)

On Monday, I received a text from the foster mom saying that she had told the cw that she wanted the girls out by the end of the week! Whaaaaaat? Panic set in. I emailed our resource worker twice and then called her on Tuesday morning and left a voicemail. Her supervisor called me back later in the day and we discussed the urgent nature of the case. This worker authorized us to offer respite to the foster family for THIS weekend hoping this would buy us time with the foster mom.

Yesterday morning I heard directly from the cw for the first time. We discussed how best to transition the girls. I said in a perfect world we would have a month, but that the current situation is clearly not ideal and things need to happen more quickly. The cw considered whether or not to move the girls to a group home briefly to properly transition them, but the down side would be ANOTHER placement and ANOTHER school before coming here. As it is, we will be the girls 3rd home  and 3rd school THIS SCHOOL YEAR! I find that unacceptable. Ultimately, we hashed out a plan for respite this weekend with the girls returning Monday afternoon and then MOVING IN next Friday! YIKES! She gave me some tasks to complete including giving our school a heads up, scheduling therapy, dentist appointments and an eye appointment for Daisy. I don’t think I could fully accept what I was hearing. Does one family really get two happily ever afters?

As a side note, at this point, I referred back to my blog to find out the specific date that we met Donald and Daffy last year for the very first time. 11/6/11. The MOVE IN date for Daisy and Daffy was set for 11/16/12. Coincidence? Naaaaaa…. just another sign that this is the right match. I am sure of that. 😉

Yesterday afternoon the cw called again and shared that the whole plan was “falling apart” [insert glass crashing noise here]. She said that the foster mom had now reported that her husband may be having surgery next week and that the girls could not stay until the 16th. The cw said she and the agency would be looking for a respite home in the girl’s area to take them Mon-Thurs nights so we could keep the plan as is, but if they were not able to locate one, there would be a need to officially place the girls Friday. THIS Friday. As in, TOMORROW. Are you freakin kidding me???? We talked about what would need to be done to make that happen and are ready to act today depending on whether or not the agency has located a respite home.

Honestly, I feel torn about this respite idea for the girls. Sure, it gives us the extra days we need to plan, transfer their school records, implement services, move rooms around, etc. BUT… this means the girls would understand they were leaving their current foster family and yet not going to their permanent placement. The state can call it respite all they want, but its no different than an emergency placement. Another home, another family, another move. Enough is enough.

I am feeling incredibly stressed at the moment. There are so many unknowns, so many variables, so much to discuss and no time to make it all happen. Goofy is particularly worried about the fast transition and what that will mean for the girls. His fears don’t ease my own. I am terrified to fail. I thought a lot about it yesterday. If this were one child, I think I would be less nervous. It’s two children… just like last time…. when I failed. *sigh* I know, I know, I didn’t fail. I “saved” Daffy from a broken system. I advocated for the best interest of both kids and while Donald doesn’t have his happily ever after yet, we are still hopeful it will come. Blah, blah, blah. I know these things on a conscious level, but in my heart, I feel like a failed. And I am terrified to fail again. 😦

Anyway, now I sit and wait for the call to determine whether the girls are coming for respite tomorrow or if that is their move in date! Eeeeeks!

The Story Before The Story

Mickey and I first talked about foster parenting in 1996. We actually attended an open house at the agency that we later decided to be come licensed with. At that time, we had been married less than a year and had 3 young children. The agency discouraged us from fostering, saying we would be better suited when our biological kids were a little older. We were disappointed but agreed to shelve the idea. During the throws of parenting 5 children, we had our hands full but the topic did come up sporadically.

A few years ago, a good friend of ours decided to pursue adoption. She initially looked at adopting internationally, but ended up adopting a foster child who was a student in her first grade class that year (I will call the child Flik to make the story telling easier.) The little girl’s story was sad. She was placed in a foster family with her younger sister (I’ll call her Dot.). The family had decided to adopt Dot but felt that they did not have an attachment to Flik. The foster parents happened to mention this to my friend at a parent-teacher conference and to make a long story short, my friend adopted Flik against all odds (being a single parent and a breast cancer survivor).

Fast forward to 2010. My friend had kept in touch with Flik’s former foster family… after all, they still had Dot. One day while the two of them were talking, the former foster parent told my friend that she had been wrong about having an attachment to Dot. She said that Dot had Reactive Attachment Disorder and asked if my friend would like to adopt Dot since she had already adopted Dot’s sister, Flik. When my friend relayed the story to me, I was stunned. My friend took this “offer” to heart- she did a lot of soul searching and consulted with others that could help her decide if this would be a good choice for her daughter, Flik. Ultimately, she decided that it was not in Flik’s best interest to have Dot live with them. Due to some medical issues, she was dealing with a lot and Flik’s therapist felt that it was important that Flik remain “special” in her mother’s eyes because of the previous disruption that resulted in her sister being adopted.

The former foster parent had some brief talks with her state and learned that if she were to “give Dot back” that the state would consider taking her biological child as well. The state told her that returning an adoptive child was no different than giving up a biological child and she would likely be charged with neglect. Whether or not this is true in her state, I don’t know. I thought so at the time, but now I wonder if that was just a scare tactic to get her to keep the child she adopted.

One day during the summer while my friend and I were talking about the situation, we dared to dream… we wondered aloud if this woman would consider US to be Dot’s family. This would allow Dot and Flik to continue to have a close relationship while still remaining separate and able to be the center of each of our worlds. My friend worked hard over the next few months to build a closer relationship with this former foster mom. At the beginning of the next year, she even took Dot for a weekend visit and stopped here on her way back from their getaway. I remember it like it was yesterday. (We still have pictures from the visit hanging in our home!) Our biological kids were not only on board with the idea, but excited when they finally got to meet this beautiful little girl they hoped would become their younger sister.

Shortly after this visit, the former foster mom stopped returning my friend’s calls and the dream began to slowly fade away. We began to discuss the possibility that maybe there was another child out there who needed us. In fact, maybe there was even a sibling group who would benefit by being able to remain together in our care! We had seen first hand what had happened with Flik and Dot and didn’t want that to happen to any other children. We knew we couldn’t “save the world”, but believed we could handle a sibling group of 2-3 children and make a difference in their lives.

Just 5 months after the only visit we had with Dot, I made the call to the agency we had visited so many years ago and scheduled Mickey and myself for the very next open house- the first step to begin the foster adoption process!

As a follow up, at he beginning of the next year, my friend finally connected with the former foster mom who had stopped returning phone calls shortly after that weekend getaway. The former foster mom said that Dot was too upset when she would see her biological sister, Flik, and that she would cry for days after about missing her, so she had made the decision to sever their relationship permanently. My hearts breaks for both of these little girls. I wish there was more I could do. Dot lives with adoptive parents who do not have any attachment to her and who don’t want to keep her and now, through no fault of her own, she no longer has a relationship with her sister, either. It’s sad.

Living what we have over the past nine months has taught me not to judge another’s situation. I am trying my best to believe that the former foster mom is working diligently with Dot to establish an attachment and not keeping her (and emotionally neglecting her ) simply to be able to keep her biological children. I pray that the former foster mom really did have Dot’s best interest at heart when she decided to terminate the sibling visits. My gut tells me I am wrong, though, and that Dot will be forever damaged at the hand of her adoptive mother.

The irony of the fact we purposely sought a sibling group that ultimately ended in disruption for one of the siblings is not lost on me. It’s something that I struggle with almost every day. I believe in my heart, though, that this is in both Donald & Daffy’s best interest. Daffy deserves a home where she can be protected from her brother’s brutal attacks and Donald deserves a home where he can focus on healing himself from a life filled with abuse and trauma and where he can learn to have a safe and appropriate relationship with his sister. In a perfect world, we would be adopting both of these beautiful children…. but, then again, in a perfect world, they wouldn’t have been abused and neglected in the first place.

Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before We Started The Foster Adoption Process

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings
Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before We Started The Foster Adoption Process:

  1. Wendy’s Wonderful Kids are some of the toughest and hardest to place kids in the country.
    There is a reason they are chosen among all foster children to receive these additional resources/supports. The trauma and loss these kids have endured are immense and NOT for the faint of heart.
  2. Adoption profiles are deceitful.
    When Donald’s profile said “he has struggled with managing his emotions“, it really meant he would physically assault our family and pets. When the adoption listing said “energetic siblings“, it really meant they both have ADHD. I wish we better understood social work lingo and had viewed their profile with more realistic eyes.
  3. Adoptive Histories from the state are not complete.
    In fact, ours would purposely leave out many important pieces of information including sexual abuse allegations and a history of abuse to animals. I wish we had taken more time to research the case files from the past 10 years. I wish we had asked more questions. Most of all, I wish I had had enough courage to call the state out on their part in why the kids have been in the system so long instead of letting them glaze over that in the adoptive history.
  4. Reactive Attachment Disorder can not be “overcome” with love.
    RAD is not like depression or anxiety. RAD can not be cured. Research, research, research. Read books. Read blogs. Talk to other parents with children diagnosed with RAD. Ask questions. This is a life changing diagnosis, not just for the child, but for the entire family.
  5. Different workers will produce different resultsDo not be scared of change.
    History does not have to repeat itself if the right people are working the case. I wish I had spent less time worrying about the changes that were out of my control and more time working to make a quicker transition.
  6. Concurrent planning is extremely important.
    These plans are not a reflection on parents or their abilities. They do not mean that a placement will fail, but they provide a safety net that will save precious time in a child’s young life should things not go as planned. I wish I had pushed harder for a concurrent plan for Donald.
  7. Terminated Parental Rights do not mean that the kids will not have contact with their birth family.
    Things are always subject to change. Be open to this, always keeping in mind the best interest of the child.
  8. Documentation will be a valuable asset.
    Set up a system ahead of time that works to chart appointments and results, phone calls, daily notes, etc.
  9. Siblings do not always belong together.
    Enough said.
  10. Most of all, I wish I knew that this process would be the single most challenging of my life with the greatest reward at the end!
    Despite the challenges, I have to trust that we got to this very moment because this is where we are meant to be. Our family has been forever changed for the better withDaffy & Donald in our lives and for that, I will always be grateful.

This post is linked to Top Ten {Tuesday}.

Can you feel my fear?

Discharge day has come & gone in a whirlwind. Let me try to get caught up on the last week…..

Friday we took the kids to see their new school. Both were SILENT. They were clearly terrified, with Donald even HIDING behind Mickey. I wasn’t thrilled with the lack of planning on the school’s part. Both kids came into their classrooms during activities and were not made to feel very welcome at all. As we left the school it was Daffy’s turn to use a particular Nintendo game and Donald was not happy about it, refusing to give it up. This went on for a few miles and I finally demanded that he do it. He promptly threw the game at his sister and slammed the system into my hand and began using his classic profane language. When we pulled into the driveway, he refused to get out of the car (one we are borrowing because Mickey’s transmission went a few weeks back). Mickey leaned in to unbuckle him and he promptly started kicking him all the while screaming like a girl. He then began kicking the dogs who came out to greet us as they do every time we get home.  What a freakin’ fiasco! Mickey had to practically drag him into the house where he continued the nonsense of swearing and throwing things at us. Needless to say, that set the tone for the long holiday week.

Saturday and Sunday were filled with varying degrees of agression on Donald’s part including him slamming coffee mugs, throwing things at people (including guests in our home) and punching a window. Good times.

We returned the kids on Monday night for our last evening without them. Needless to say, that reality kicked up some major anxiety for me. Tuesday I actually broke down and took a prescription med that I havent taken in months because I felt like I would have a heart attack. Mickey, Tink, Goofy and I made the final one hour treck to pick up the kids that afternoon. What should have been one of the most amazing days of my life was instead filled with dread, self-doubt and fear. Tinkerbell clearly felt the same way; she even cried as we were leaving because she was so sad for the future of our family.

I fully expected a complete meltdown on that first night, but we actually managed to survive with just the usual incessant arguing between Donald & Daffy. That is until 2am when Donald decided he had enough sleep for the night. What the f&@k?? Seriously. This is stressful enough without HIM being awake all night long. Obviously we sent him back to bed and there I lay, wondering if he was getting a knife to stab me or if he found a cat to strangle.

Fast forward to the next morning… the first day at the new school! Again, I fully expected a meltdown that didnt come. I weaseled my way out of taking them to school because I was so angry, I really didnt even want to LOOK at them. Mickey took them and said they seemed okay. My phone rang during the school day and of course, I expected the worst. Amazingly, an aide was calling to tell me what a “great day” he was having. Ha! Have fun on the honeymoon, sweetheart! I ASSURE you it wont last long!

I survived yesterday afternoon and evening with them and they were actually much better about staying in bed last night. My biggest issue right now is finding a way to let go of my anger at their “behaviors” to start each day new. Its extremely hard to do when the constant level of anxiety about what he will do next is always at a max. He is argumentative, defiant and assualtive on an almost constant basis. And while I know it seems that I am hyper focused on “him”, trust me SHE is no peach… her single goal in life is to send him into a rage all with an innocent look & a smile on her face. Gotta love Reactive Attachment Disorder! This is 1000% more challenging than I ever could have imagined and I can completely understand why so many other families have thrown in the towel, which are words I never believed I would say.

So, at this point, what I need most is someone (anyone? everyone?) to tell me that this is NOT what my life will be like every single minute for the rest of my life, because if it is, I will NOT survive. My biological kids won’t survive. My husband won’t survive. My family won’t survive.

5 Days & Counting!

We are well underway in the transition process. This week we met with the kid’s new counselors! I didn’t learn nearly as much new information as I had hoped. The counselors received the same reports we were given (which are too vague in my opinion). We set some goals including parental attachment, reduce anxiety and process trauma. Seems pretty standard to me. They did recommend the book “When a Stranger Calls You Mom” by Katharine Leslie so I am eager to get that ordered when we have some extra money. The kids will be meeting with their counselors each at the same time to cut down on scheduling conflicts which is completely awesome!

We also met with the school to discuss Donald’s IEP and the general transition. Fourteen of us squeezed into one tiny to room. The first thing that came to mind is what an awesome team we have to support these 2 children! It takes a village, right? It was great to see staff from his current school working with the staff from our school to create a plan that will work for Donald. I am nervous, though, that there wont be enough time to implement the plan is just a few short days and that Donald’s transition will be even tougher because of it.

The only frustrating part of the meeting is when we discussed the kid’s names. Both kids, but Daffy especially, want to use our last name. We understand that the LEGAL name in the files needs to be their LEGAL name, but there shouldnt be ANY reason why they can’t use our last name in conversation or on their papers. After all, other kids use “nicknames” (like Becky for Rebecca) so how is this different? Its important to Daffy that she not be singled out as “different” from our family. She doesn’t want people to know she has been in foster care- she wants them to think she has always been our child. The school was adamantly  against this. The sped coordinator all but insinuated that we would eventually give the kids back and that having used our name would make things more difficult. It was extremely insulting, particularly since we had the state case worker in attendance at the meeting supporting he kid’s choice and offering to write a letter of approval. The most the sped coordinator would budge is that the kids could use their legal last initial only since it happens to be the same as ours. Some of the staff commented that 4th and 5th graders dont know each others last names and that the staff dont use them. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?????? My older kids have been teased over the years by teachers and students alike because we have a long hard-to-pronounce last name. How could that have happened if “no one” knew or used them? Ugh. I am completely frustrated.

Last night I had a visit with the kids at the group home. It was odd how standoffish Daffy was when I first arrived. She got a book and went to read alone while I did Donald’s homework with him. That is completely unlike her, she is normally bouncing off the walls. Once he & finished, we decided to play “Sorry” and she stayed on the couch playing with a Leap Pad. Once the game was done, I made her give up the game to Donald and told her to choose a game we would play. She resisted at first but finally selected Candy Land. (She beat me twice.) We went our to get a donut for dessert after dinner and then came back and read several stories before bed. It’s hard to believe they will only sleep 2 more nights in that home before the discharge on Tuesday.

In rather exciting news, we learned today that we will receive respite pay for all the weekends we have had the kids during the transition! Obviously none of this is about money, but every little bit helps in this economy for sure!Maybe this will help defray some of the wages I have lost being available for so many visits and meetings over the past 2 months.

Tomorrow they will be visiting their new schools and meeting their teachers! I will be sure to post an update!

9 days till forever! & a weekend update!

It’s hard to believe we are entering the last full week without the kids here. Its nerve-wracking and exciting at the same time! If this weekend is any indication of things to come, I am definitely scared.

My tweet from Saturday morning:

What a disaster of a morning! Donald & Daffy are almost always in conflict. They argue over everything and generally try to get under eachother’s skin at every opportunity, even creating situations if there is nothing to actually fight about. When I think about their past history, I wonder if the judge who determined they should be placed together made the right choice. Anyway, Saturday morning they were arguing about which show to watch on tv. Daffy came upstairs to watch the tv in my room to void the conflict. Smart choice, in retrospect and one I wont dismiss in the future. Feeling like superMom, I decided to go discuss the conflict with Donald and try to offer some solutions for future conflicts of a similar nature. One thing led to another and I ultimately ended up putting him in a hold. I felt sick as soon as it happened but I was also fearing my own safety. Thankfully it didnt last long and we were able to talk through the issues and move on with the day. He was, of course, on edge all day. And honestly, so was I. He was like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode again. I did talk to the group home about the situation and they offered solutions to try next time. Thinking about the certainty of “next time” and the “time after that” and the “time after that” is what scares me most. The experience was incredibly draining and definitely felt “more than I bargained for” even though I had been told  to expect this behavior.

On a side note, and for my own reference later, one of the workers happened to mention in conversation regarding this blow out, about the trauma (physical, emotional and sexual) they have experienced. Ummmmmm, what????? Sexual trauma????? This phone call was the FIRST I heard anything about that! I am a little biut distressed about that. I am hoping to learn more this week when we meet with their counselor. Its not a “game changer” for me, but it certainly would have been helpful to know.

This morning started at 4:11am when Donald asked where we keep the tape. I am sure I was not at my best when I said “What? The tape? You are NOT having tape. Go to bed.” I am finding it extremely exhausting that even though we discuss it at length every night, they he can not seem to understand that he needs to STAY in his room and not disturb others. This is NOT something he does in his current placement, so its not like this is an ongoing issue. He NEEDS 11 hours of sleep per night and it seems no matter what time he goes to bed does not change his wake up time. That would explain why its currently just after 6pm and he is on bed. At least he doesnt get up once we put him in bed at night.

Anyway, we have a morning meeting and then will be talking them to school. I am sure this will be the fastest week of my life! 9 days till forever!

To be expected

Yesterday at the meeting it was predicted that the kids would have some issues when they returned from the visit this weekend due to the now determined and shared official transition date. I wondered if the kids would actually make it the entire weekend before having any kind of melt down? I didnt have to wonder long. Shortly after we got home, it happened.

I asked Tink to shut off the tv because her & I were going to take the kids on  a walk to the local ball fields with a small playground. Daffy went over to “pretend” (or so she says) to turn the tv back on and Donald, in his defense of what is right, went after her. They began pushing, shoving, hitting and kicking. Mickey & I were in the bathroom (the only slightly private place in the house at this point) discussing the plan when Tink came running in to let us know the kids were fighting. We rushed out to find Donald kicking Daffy. Mickey reacted strongly, raising his voice. I cringed knowing that was just going to elevate the situation, but not wanting to interfere and appear divided or unsure. Mickey asked Donald to sit on the step in our room. Refusal. He stomped off and began kicking things and yelling. He was asking Mickey if he was “scared” [of his behaviors] to which Daffy leaned over to me and said “He asks other people if they are scared when he is scared.”  Great. Mickey scared the kid. Ugh. Anyway, I sat with Daffy to hear her “side” of the story. I tried to point out where her behaviors had been a problem, too. Then I went off to find Donald. I found him and Mickey in the “warm” room downstairs. (Yes, we name the rooms in our house. We always have so its interesting that Donald & Daffy did that my nature when they started to come here.) I asked Donald if he was ready to talk and he said he wasnt. I sat down and he kept looking at me so I commented “You look really angry.” He shared that he was and told me he didnt think we were the right family for him. Test #83634375969. Not gonna phase me, kid. I was told to expect that. He said he wanted to run away. I asked if he knew what I would do if he ran away. He said he didnt and looked curious. I told him I “I will follow you to be sure you are safe. I will follow on foot, by car, by bike, by scooter or by train. I will follow you however I have to to be sure you are safe. Do you know why?” and he did. Its because I love him. And I am trying to take every opportunity to remind him of that. Even when he is being horrible. Even when I am angry. Even when I would rather be snide. I asked him for a hug. At first he resisted but then he did come over to me and I sat him on my lap (awkward with his size at 11 years old, but necessary for bonding). He asked what I would do if he ran away to [City Name] where his mom lives. I told him I would follow him. He said he wants to see his mom and that he misses her. I felt stumped. I wished I had been told what to say in that situation, but I just had to wing it. I told him that the social workers and state made a decision that it was best for him not to see her anymore to keep him safe, but that I was sure he missed her and I understood that. He told me he doesnt want social workers or the state! He doesnt like them! Perfect opportunity for me to change the subject! I said “You know what? Once we adopt you, do you know there won’t be anymore social workers? It will just be us and our family. Forever.” He looked at me wide eyed. I dont think he can remember a time where social workers werent involved in his life. That’s sad considering he is 11 years old. It seemed to give him some peace. From there I was able to redirect and off we went for our walk.

So after our trip to the park, I took Donald and Tink to pick up a friend of Tink’s. Seemed like a good way to separate Donald and Daffy. We came back just in time for dinner. Insert power struggles with Daffy regarding dinner. (She insisted on a bowl of raw carrots even though she had helped Mickey prepare dinner.) As we sat down, Mickey commented that Tink had not been told it was dinnertime. Donald jumped up and said he would go upstairs and let her know. Since EVERYTHING is a competition, Daffy also jumped up and they both run up the stairs. In retrospect, I should have followed. We KNEW what would happen. And, of course, it did. A pushing match ensued. Within 30 seconds, Donald came back downstairs and to his place at the table and said “I know. I shoved her.” He is too used to the processing piece. He believes if he owns up to what happened and takes responsibility, then its over. And while I do support ownership, I am not sure we can continue forever without consequences. I mean, you can’t kill someone and then say “I know. I killed him.” and have it be over, ya know? Anyway, Daffy was still upstairs crying so I decided to go upstairs and talk through things with her. I explained that even though Donald was completely wrong to shove her, she KNEW she was bringing it on when she raced him up the stairs. She didnt really like it (and she shouldnt have to) but she did accept that. Then she started sharing about some of Donald’s friends saying that his “new family” wasn’t going to work out. I knew as soon as she brought it up (on Donalds behalf, of course) that she really needed to talk through some stuff. She started talking about some previous placements and how they didnt work out, and how this time seems different, that things are not following the same patterns of the failed placements. She commented about how we handle things more like the group home she is in now, which seemed really reassuring to her. After a few minutes, she grabbed her Barbie laptop and I knew I had lots her for the time. She had said too much, probably more than she planned to and she needed a break. I told her I would give her ten more minutes and then we were going to watch a movie to relax before bed.

After several attempts at other movies that skipped, we decided on Piglet’s Big Movie. Donald grumbled a little about it being a movie for babies, but both kids ended up watching the entire thing and staying engaged.

So, here we are on Saturday and I wonder what today will hold. I am fully prepared for some blow outs. I just pray I come up with the right words to reassure them that we love them and our official forever begins in just 10 days…

-Minnie xo

[All names have (obviously) been changed to protect the privacy of our family.]

The countdown continues… [Telling the kids]

The meeting today was productive. We confirmed a meeting with the school, a meeting with new counselors in our area and generally talked about how the kids are doing through the transition from the group home they are currently placed at. According to one, their behaviors are “elevated but not out of the norm or spiked”, which is awesome for these 2 kids.

Towards the end of the meeting, the kids were invited to join us to go over the January calendar which includes 2 triple sleepovers, a Going Away Party, their last day at their current school and their first day of school at their new school. I was so nervous to see their reaction. We decided that we would seat them between Mickey & I and to go over to the schedule around the big conference table. Introductions went around the table and I introduced myself as “Minnie. The Mom” and not to be outdone, Daffy followed by saying “I am Daffy. The kid.” Ha! Love that girl! Anyway, Daffy sat next to me, her brother next to her and Mickey at the end. I started to show them where today was on the calendar and began going through the dates. It was VERY obvious there was a big change  coming as the calendar ended January 17th. As I went through the dates, I got more and more nervous. I knew I was eventually going to have to put words to describing the official transition and with a room full of social workers, I was afraid I would cry! Finally, I got to he end of the schedule and said “and here is where forever will begin”. Silence. Dead silence. In an effort to break the ice, I whispered “cricket, cricket” and got a few chuckles. I can’t even really recall exactly who said what but Daffy was THRILLED to pieces. This is everything she has been hoping for! I asked Donald if he was nervous and he looked bashful and said he was. Daffy interrupted and and said “Is anyone going to ask MEEEEE how I am feeling?” with the slyest of grins! She couldn’t wait to share her excitement. I think it was great for Donald to see her excitement as he is very protective of her.

It’s so hard to believe that the move in day is just 11 days away, 6 of which will be sleepovers here anyway! As I type, the kids are settling in for a 3 night sleepover. They are watching “Fairly Odd Parents” and I am considering doing a bit of work. This transition has been really tough on my work schedule and I am really grateful for two awesome bosses (I do contract work) who have been extremely accommodating. I am hoping things will normalize once the kids are here since we will knock off a minimum of 8 hours per week just in DRIVING time to visit with the kids each week.

I can’t end today’s post without a special thank you to Foster Parent Adventures for her Versatile Blog Award! I was beyond touched to read her post this morning and plan to address it as well as pass on the award to some of MY favorite bloggers very soon! 🙂

-Minnie xo

[All names have (obviously) been changed to protect the privacy of our family.]

The countdown begins [12 days till forever begins]

So, this morning we got a phone call that nearly rocked our whole world. Our case worker let us know that since Mickey is not on the actual foster license we could face an issue with the transition of Donald & Daffy to our home. I am approved for only ONE child, not two, because we have 3 bio kids in the home. Mickey was immediately sent to be fingerprinted and then began the worries of how to schedule him for 5 classes in 12 days (with the closest dates for 3 of the classes being February).

To go backwards a little bit, all caseworkers and the state office KNEW that I was the only one licensed throughout the process. They said there are often exceptions made allowing for sibling groups. The plan was always that Mickey would take classes along the way and be added eventually, but it was never a priority, especially once we started pre placement visits because that was so time intensive.

To make a long story short, through the hard work and many phone calls of some very wonderful agency workers, and despite some new policies that have gone into effect in the last week, they were able to grant an exception! So, thus begins the official count down! 12 days until Donald & Daffy will be officially moved into our home. 13 days until they start at their new school and begin the adjustment into their new lives. Tinkerbell and I discussed on the way home from tonight’s visit that we simply can’t imagine what that must be like. No matter how much they like us and no matter how much we LOVE them, it has to be the most terrifying experience in the world. Taking into consideration the number of past placements and rejections they have had, it is likely even MORE compounded.

With that said, tonight’s visit was probably one of the best we have had! They were both in very light moods and able to be redirected with humor during some frustrating moments of their homework. They were really excited to perform a puppet play for us while we videotaped. They would watch and then delete and do another. This happened probably 6 times. Its so interesting to watch them during these “plays” because you can see them working through so much… things from their past, mixed with things from the present.

Tomorrow we tell the kids. It will be just 11 days before the first day of the rest of their lives. How exciting is that????

-Minnie xo

[All names have (obviously) been changed to protect the privacy of our family.]