So I haven’t written in a while 

And that seems to be the theme here this last year. Three kids is HARD. I feel like I am still trying to get my head above water. My husband traveled a lot this year and solo parenting while working full time is really hard. 

We still have the same three kids. Our adoption with the youngest is proceeding but not completed yet. We signed all of the paperwork in November and will hopefully get a court date to finalize in January. It has been awesome watching her grow. 

We are still fostering the other two who are now 4 and 6. Termination of their mother’s rights is almost definite. Last we heard, mom was trying to find family members to take the children.  I don’t know if that will happen. I am conflicted as to whether that is in their best interest? FS4 has diagnosed PTSD. We are the only home he really remembers. He was 2 when he was removed from his home and doesn’t remember much of his life before that. He has suffered major trauma from being removed and additional trauma when the aunt and uncle who took them in later placed them in foster care.  Moving again to relatives he had never met – would that be more trauma? Would the biological relation make up for that? I don’t know. 

A funk

I’ve cycled back into a funk lately and I can’t seem to pull myself out. 

We still have our 3 children. Little A’s adoption is going as slow as ever and might be another year before it’s final. That doesn’t bother me too much because she’s with us, and that’s all that matters. we continue to strengthen our relationship with her bio Grandparents. They really helped us out recently when my husband and I had to take simultaneous business trips. 

The other two that have been with us over for a year are well. We have been fighting and fighting to get a behavioral evaluation done on our 4 year old foster son. He’s a good kid but we see him struggling with behaviors he can’t control, behaviors beyond the realm of normal 4 year old dickishness. His preschool has struggled with him. We found out that his therapist who was supposed to be visiting him at school was misrepresenting how much he was actually seeing him (basically never) but still thought it was cool to bill the insurance. He convinced the case worker that there were no behavioral concerns and that an evaluation wasn’t needed and the caseworker hates me so she agreed. She said instead of doing an evaluation she’s going to remove them from our home because obviously WE are the problem. So it took a lot of angry phone calls and emails but finally a “trauma assessment” was done. The psychologist that did the assessment (different than Mr No-show) said it looks like he may be struggling with bipolar disorder or another emotional disturbance. How badly I want to rub it in the face of the case worker, but I don’t. The fight has been exhausting. Parenting these behaviors have been exhausting. 

There is a chance they might be ordered home back to their mom next week, but it’s so up in the air. I don’t know. 

My husband has been traveling since the beginning of June which has been really hard. Working full time, taking care of kids/house/dog on my own is overwhelming. I’m lonely. I miss him. I can’t remember the last time I have has a conversation with another adult. 

My father isn’t speaking to me for a most ridiculous reason. I’m frustrated and sad. I miss my dad. 

Sometimes I wonder if we weren’t supposed to be parents and perhaps we are forcing it. There must be a reason I couldn’t have kids of my own. 

I’m just exhausted and overwhelmed. But Im alive. 

The foster care system: a train ride analogy 

When you sign up to be a foster parent, you sign up to be a passenger on a train. Before you get on the train, the conductor and other people working on the train lead you to believe you are about to embark on a magical trip. It will be beautiful! Full of great experiences and amazing people. 

As the train leaves the  station you realize that even though you boarded voluntarily,  you have no control over the trip Your purpose is to watch over smaller passengers who also have no control. You are expected to do what you’re told and not have any opinions on the matter. You could be punished for speaking out. So you sit in your seat and keep your mouth shut, except maybe to occasionally ask for things the little passengers need. Maybe you’re ignored, maybe not. The first couple times you say that the little passengers need help, expecting help to be given. Why wouldn’t it? After a few tries you learn that no one cares. The help you thought would be there doesn’t really exist and when it does, it’s a sorry excuse. The people that do come to help only seem to care about checking a box and getting paid. 

 You are not told where you’re going. You’re not even entitled to that information most of the time. The other passengers ask you when the train will stop and they can get off, but you don’t have any answers to give them. Every so often the train will pause so everyone can talk about where it’s going. You think, this is it! My chance to be heard. I know the little passengers and how to keep them safe. But no one asks you what you think. They talk around you as if you aren’t even there. They say things that aren’t true, they overlook things. You try to get their attention but they don’t care what you have to say. They assume that you don’t have anything valuable to contribute. Your main job is to watch the little  passengers and not get involved in the decisions that affect their lives (and at this point, yours). 

You get on the train believing that everyone cares about making sure the little passengers get to a safe destination, but you quickly realize that the people in charge just want everyone off the train as fast as possible regardless of whether it’s safe or not. It’s overcrowded. You are not the only group on here. There are too many little passengers. Not enough seats. 

The people in charge aren’t paid enough to care or to follow the rules. They aren’t trained very well either. You become very aware that these underpaid, undertrained people hold lives in thier hands. No one else seems to notice or care. No one tries to find a solution. 

You huddle close to the smaller passengers and try your best to protect them from this horrific journey you now find yourself on. It’s all that you can do. 

Week 1

I’m not going to lie, having 3 kids is HARD. We currently have our 4&5 year old fosters and now an almost 2 year old pre-adoptive placement. Currently little A is still in her original school. We didn’t want to transition her all at once. However, the school is giving us a bit of a hard time and has projected some negative attitudes towards us so we are going to switch her sooner than anticipated. They seem to not understand the situation here and act like we took her away from her foster mom. Her foster mom has chosen not to adopt which is how she ended up with us. 

Besides the exhaustion, week 1 went pretty well! She now points as my husband and I and calls us mama and Dada.  She started out  the week only wanting to be held by me, but now she will let my husband hold her and she will play with the other kids without me being in the room. She’s starting to learn how to say their names. 

She HATES her new car seat. We quickly realized that she was able to undo the chest buckle on the car seat she came with so we put her in a new one. She hates that she can’t get out of it. 

On Monday we met with out case worker and determined it will be another 8-10 months before the adoption process isfinalized . The state of GA requires that the child be “observed” in our home for 6 months before the court can finalize the adoption. That 6 months won’t even start for another month or so. 

We spent a lot of time with her grandmother. On Saturday we had lunch at the park with her grandmother, papa and great grandmother. On Sunday her grandmother watched her for a few hours so we could re-do the girls’ bedroom. 

Speaking of the girls’ room – when we bought our house last year, we bought a house that was smaller and never planned on having three kids. We had to get a bit creative with space. We saw This solution on Apartment Therapy and decided to give it a go. 

   
 We are really happy with how it came out, but it was not a quick project at all! We decided to stain and poly all the peices before assembling. That meant we had to stain and poly one side, and then flip all the peices over and do it again. This, on top of 2-3 kids, full time jobs, work related travel and 2 stomach bugs, it took weeks. 

We went with a gray stain after seeing Varathane/Rustoleum Sunbleached Here and loved the way it came out. It looks a little solid in the photo but you can still see the wood detail come through and it’s gorgeous. 

So at the end of week one, everyone is happy. Little A is a silly, happy girl and she has changed our lives for the better. 

  

She’s here

She’s been ours since Sunday. The move-in was quiet. We expected tears as we carried her out of her foster mom’s house, the only house she has ever known. There were no tears. She was immediately distracted by the other kids and we went about our day. 

The last few days have been spent trying to figure each other out. Is she saying “diaper” or “apple”? What toys does she like? She most definitely does NOT like the carrier we got for hiking. What’s her bedtime routine? 

We have learned that she was spoiled rotten at her foster home. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but she is going to have to get used to sharing us with other kids. 

She loves giving my husband high fives and puts her hand up as soon as she sees him across the room and waits for him to high five her. The first time she pointed at him and called him “da-da” I cried. 

She’s been a little slower with the “mama” but it’s OK. Today she pointed at me for the first time and said “mama” and it was worth it. 

Bio mom has surrendered her rights and her grace period to rescind has passed. Next week the court will terminate on unknown dad. From there it will be about 8-10 months before our adoption is finalized. 

Yesterday the daycare called us to come get her at 9am because she wasn’t acting herself. I thought that was a bullshit reason to send a kid home from school, especially a kid going through a major life change. It threw a wrench into my  workday, but then I remembered that little A’s grandmother lived only a mile away and had been asking to see her. Granny came over and played with little A while I worked and it was perfect. Adopting a baby and a grandma is the perfect combination. 

Harsh words were given to the daycare after two separate employees felt the need to remind me they have known little A her whole life when I questioned why they would send her home for not acting like herself. We will be switching her to the preschool our other kids attend the week after next. 

Overall it has been an amazing first week. I know we still have a long road ahead of us, but I am very much looking forward to being little A’s mama. 

And I forgot the best part!

The best part of our weekend with little A…

I was holding her while we were watching my husband unload groceries from the car. I pointed at him and said “who’s that? Is that daddy?”

She pointed at him and said “da-da.”

And I cried happy, happy tears. 

A welcome gift from little A

We had little A all weekend as part of her transition into our home. I picked her up from daycare on Friday. When I walked into the room she saw me, stopped, and ran right into my arms. I had been worried she wouldn’t recognize me. 

We spent Friday night playing outside on the cul-de-sac with the neighborhood kids. There was beautiful weather and things felt great. Little A is a bit unsure of her surroundings and preferred to be held by me, and only me, constantly. While endearing, sometimes mamma has to pee! She likes my husband and will be content with him as long as I’m not in eyesight. I spent a bit of time hiding around corners so he could spend some time with her. I also suggested that for the time being he take over all diaper changes so he can bond with her. He almost fell for it 🙂

On Saturday we noticed she was not quite herself. She was super sleepy and just seemed off. We attributed it to her being away from her foster mom for the first night. We figured she was sad and confused. Well, she started throwing up around noon and we quickly realized it was a stomach bug. 

Fast forward to today! I am on my 3rd day of a business trip and my second day of a horrific stomach bug. My husband had been throwing up so much he was taken to the hospital by ambulance last night because he was severely dehydrated and passing out while vomiting. Thanks little A!

She moves in with us officially on Sunday. On Monday we are meeting with our case worker to talk more about the adoption time line. We found out that bio mom signed the relinquishment papers on Friday so there are really no hurdles in the way anymore. 

I still can’t believe that in the matter of weeks we have gotten to this point. What an amazing journey this is.