Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Asked

Over the last year we have been taking a lot of short term placements waiting for our adoption homestudy to be completed.  Some placements were as short as a week or two.  They were short because a family member had stepped forward and DSS had to do a quick homestudy on them before they would allow the child(ren) to go with them.


We had two little ones for two weeks.  After they went with their grandma I asked DSS for a specific placement.  I don't normally do that but I was having the itch for a baby.  I asked for a bitty baby who would be a short term placement.   A baby who was waiting for a family homestudy to be completed.


I just wanted to have a few weeks cuddling with a little one and then allow him to go with family.  We aren't looking to adopt a bitty baby.  We are looking to adopt a school age child or sibling group.


I got what I asked for a very short time later.  A bitty baby at the hospital.  Sarah and I had to go and take a pediatric CPR class before we could bring him home.  We sure loved cuddling that little one.  Tasha and Ethan came to town to get some baby cuddling practice.  Then two weeks passed.  Then a month.  Then we were told that the family member was not approved.


OK, this would be a little longer as we wait for mom to do what she needed to do.  So we wait.  Almost 7 months later we are still waiting.  This short term placement is not turning out to be so short term. 


We have all fallen in love. 


This little one is going to be a hard one to let go. 


Our hearts are going to be broken.


I really need to be careful with what I ask for in the future!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Why We Receive so Many Placements

I have been asked why we receive so many placements. Sometimes foster parents get licensed and then receive very few foster children.  Sometimes it is just the area you are living in but sometimes it isn't.



First look at your restrictions.



What ages are you willing to accept?  Is it too narrow?  We accept children ages 0 to 18.  Originally we were only open to younger children but when they called and asked us to take a teenager we did, they were able to raise our age in a few hours.  That teenager later became one of our daughters so you just never know what life will throw at you when you are open.



What other restrictions do you have?



Are you open to all races?  What is your comfort level with this and how will your family accept the children who come into your home.



Siblings?  We aim to keep siblings together, our largest sibling group had three children.  Very manageable for us but maybe not for others.  Keeping siblings together is very important to us.  I realize that it is not always possible with every sibling group.  Sometimes they need to be separated.



Medical conditions?  What can you deal with?  We are not a therapeutic home yet we have picked children up from the burn clinic and the NICU. We have dealt with heart issues and asthma.  We have learned many new skills to include how to tape a heart monitor to the back of a very active baby.






Look at how involved you want to be.



Are you willing to transport?  We transport our foster children to all visitations and all appointments.  This relieves the social worker of that responsibility.  Some areas have people who transport but our county does not, it falls on the social workers.  Imagine having to place a child and seeing the name of a family on the board that you know will do all the driving.



Are you willing to work with and encourage the family?  We try to maintain a positive relationship with our foster children parents.  We encourage them to work their plan and maintain a healthy relationship with their child(ren).



Will you evaluate the children and seek out all services that they need?  Services can include Baby Net, therapy, IEP's, speech therapy, OT, PT, to name a few.  Get educated on child development so that you can recognize that there is a delay that needs addressed.  This can require more transporting or just being available when therapies come to the home.



Do you want a baby?  Do you work?  Our heart baby needed a stay at home mom.  We had a  toddler sibling group was very short term so child care was not planned for since grandma didn't work.  Sometimes it is just easier to place children who are not school age into a home with a parent who is home full time.  This is not a requirement but does make life easier for the social workers.  Besides, most day cares won't accept a baby until he is 6 weeks old.  Who will watch the baby until then?



How flexible are you?  If it is the last day of the month and the social worker realizes that they didn't make a visit to your home, are you willing to allow that visit with little notice?  When family visits are cancelled, changed, shortened, lengthened, can you go with the flow with grace?  When you are called about a 2 year old boy will you accept the 4 year old girl instead?  Will you answer the phone at 2 am and say yes?



How patient are you?  Patience is necessary when dealing with the behaviors.  It is also necessary when dealing with the system!  Someone who is impatient will cause problems.



Are you prepared financially?  If you receive two toddlers are you prepared to dress, clothe, feed and purchase necessary car seats and such on s short notice?  Will you treat the children who come to your home the same that you do your other children?  Include them in family activities, take them out to eat, involve them in sports, buy them clothing that helps them to fit in with their peers, pay for their entertainment.



Do you know when to be quiet?  I have seen foster families get black listed based on things that they have said.  Sometimes it is best to just keep things to yourself.  There is a time and place for griping.



There are many factors that are considered when placing children.  Often they are looking for a good match for each child because they try to avoid frequent moves because of bad placement. Social workers are human, they will look for a family that will make their lives easier.  Someone who is easy to get along with, someone who is accommodating, doesn't need much hand holding, is able to manage medical/services appointments without the need to the social worker, someone who they know will take GOOD care of the child while causing minimum drama.  Over time they learn which families are best to place children in. 


A good reputation will keep your home full.
_____
Notice I didn't say who will love the child the most.  At the time of placement love is not a factor.  If all you have to offer is love then I am afraid that it is not enough.  When the child is placed they may not even want your love, they have their parents for that.  However, they do need all the patience, stability, knowledge and understanding that you have. Love may come later.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

One Project Completed

I finished painting a piece of furniture for Vaida. Gray, yellow and a little purple with a little elephant on the side. 


I realized that I forgot the eyes.  I will have to add that next time I go to Tasha's house.  This is not an original design, I found it on the internet and loved it.


Little Vaida is expected any time now, her room is ready and waiting for her. We are all ready to spoil her.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Emma is 8

Emma requested a puppy cake. Not sure exactly what she wanted but she was happy with what I made.




Singing Happy Birthday!


Commercial ad score one.  She asked for this snack cup several times.  I said that I don't buy that stuff on TV, they had it at KMart. She also requested Barbie and Monster High dolls.  I also got her a Barbie comforter set and a fingernail set.  She was pretty happy with her gifts.





She requested the eye and she got the eye.  Cake was pretty tasty with too much frosting.



For her birthday dinner Emma picked Moe's.


It is hard for me to believe that Emma is 8 years old.  Why does 8 seem so much older than 7?  Once again my baby is growing up and although it is a good thing, it is also sad for me.  These kids of mine just seem to grow up too fast. 

For a long time I have said that Emma was emotionally much younger than her age.  This year she has closed the gap, I'd say that she is only about a year younger emotionally, she had a huge growth over the summer.

Interesting to me is that she recognizes that she is in a happier place as well.  Her crying fits have decreased dramatically and her willingness to cooperate has improved so much. She loves to follow her dad around in the garden and help him.  She is my only child who liked to pull weeds.  Perhaps she needs a little garden of her own next year.

I look forward to what the next year will bring....Happy Birthday Emma Rose.

Friday, September 5, 2014

12

In the past year we have had 12 foster children enter our home.  One remains, several went to family members, some to parents.  We still maintain a relationship with three children who went home to their parents. 


Some came as singletons and some as sibling groups.  We had all ages from newborn to teenagers.  Most of the time we received calls for sibling group preschoolers.  Not many foster parents can afford to have a stay at home parent. 


Each of those 12 children needed a safe place to land.  Each child came with their own fears, needs and challenges.  Many came with only the clothing that they were wearing.


We calmed fears, evaluated for services, provided clothing, school supplies, toys, understanding, patience, a stable environment and love.


Some of the children we had for very short periods of time.  Some longer.  When a child comes we don't know if it will be a few weeks, months or years.  It makes planning a little challenging.  DSS gives their opinion but it isn't always accurate.  Some of the children we have adopted were short term placements.


We are tired.  Our children need stability.  Children coming in and out of the home is difficult for them.  We love fostering but fostering has lead to our adoption of 5 children with their own challenges. 


We have an open adoption homestudy but have not been able to take an adoptive placement because we constantly have foster children in the home. 


Recently we had our quarterly visit from DSS and told them that our current foster child will be our last foster child.  We are open to one last adoption but do not want more children who come and then go.  It is hard to say if we will ever receive another adoptive placement since we have other children to consider.  Our first objective is to make sure that any placement is safe for our children.


After more than 10 years of fostering it seems strange to stop.  We feel that there is a strong need for good foster homes but we need to concentrate on our kids at home.  We will continue to foster our current placement until he goes home.  This temporary placement has now lasted 6 months.  I am not quite sure how long temporary is!



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Showering Love

We have been quite busy. We had a baby shower for Tasha this last weekend and my procrastination caught up with me.  I found this frame at Goodwill and thought it would be great for creating a sign for my grandchild, Vaida.


Great price.


All those scissors seem to cut hair great (per Emma) but they sure don't cut fabric too well.  Tasha's colors are gray, yellow and purple.


I worked on the sign while making cupcakes with Sarah.

Pineapple with homemade frosting frosting topped with toasted coconut.


The start of chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes.


With peanut butter frosting.


Key Lime pie in cupcake size.


Strawberry in angel food cake with homemade frosting.

We also made regular yellow cake with chocolate frosting cupcakes for the traditional eater.

I finished my sign...


We loaded up and headed off to celebrate with family and friends.



Five of my beautiful daughters and granddaughter.



Beautiful, glowing mom to be.


(Vaida got lots of shoes, a girl can't have too many!)

I still have a piece of furniture to paint for Vaida's bedroom, I should finish this week.

We are all so excited to have a new child in the family, she will be one spoiled little girl. Now we wait, I estimate that she will be born one week before her due date.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mealtime

How do you do mealtimes?

Our breakfast and lunch times are pretty casual.  Kids get up and eat when they want to.  Lunch is a little more organized because I feed the kids at the same time.  However, dinner is a more formal sit down affair.  We squeeze around our table (I would love to have a bigger one) and say a prayer before eating.  The kids say the prayer and we have to go in alphabet order so I can keep track of whose turn it is.  Visitors get crammed in too.

We teach table manners.  We talk about our day.  It is a time for everyone to get together.  We do this most days but I imagine that as the kids get older this will become more of a challenge as their schedules will start to conflict with dinner time. We do not own TV trays.


Eating at the table as a family is a nice skill to have when going out to eat.  My kids eat out very well.  They know that they are not going to run around.  They sit and eat politely.  They know how to place their orders and show respect to the waiters. They know how to squeeze into booths so that we can all eat together.  We don't like getting separate tables when we go out, sometimes that is a challenge for our family.



When I see kids at restaurants running around I wonder if they eat together at home.  When I see kids throw food around and bark orders to the waiters I wonder if they are taught respect at home.  I am getting off subject, pet peeve for me is not training your children at home how you expect them to behave in public.

Anyone else still have the family meal?



One of my kids favorite meals - Crockpot roast and gravy

First thing in the morning sear meat using a good bit of flour (at least 1/2 cup), seasonings and oil (This day it was a London broil on sale)


Put the meat, oil, flour and seasoning into the crockpot. Scrape all the little tasty bits our of the skillet.


Add some water, this will later be your gravy.


Cook for hours and hours.  Stir every now and then throughout the day.  The smell will make you hungry all day.  By dinner time (around 6 at our house) the meat will be nice and tender and the gravy a little thick.  You can make it thicker by adding a mixture of flour or cornstarch and a little bit of cold water about an hour before serving. The oil will rise to the surface and can be spooned off if you want. 


Pull out the meat and you are left with gravy.


It is a tasty Southern meal that we serve on our fancy Corelle plates.