The transporters

Reunification is harder than I thought it would be.

There are so many people involved and I feel like we’re not considered part of little “Jade’s” life, just her transporters.

I know the department transport her 3 days to and from access, and for that I am thankful.

But we’re being asked to drive her almost 90 mins to visit her paternal grandparents and aunt who haven’t yet met the baby.

I feel for the family. I would want to meet “Jade” too if I were them. But what about the expectation on us?

We’re expected to take bubs to visit people we don’t know, leave her there, and then because they don’t have a suitable baby car seat we either have to go and collect her or take ours out of the car and give it to them so they can bring her back to us.

I gave some dates to the department for these visits, with the first date two weeks away. Plenty of time to sort out any issues and get things organised. No. Not soon enough. It MUST be this weekend.

Feeling dictated to and not hugely happy about it.

Then we add in that we now HAVE to have respite one weekend a month, whether we want it or not.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the reason behind it. They want “Jade” to have one weekend a month with her brother, not just two mornings a week. They want baby to start to bond with the family friend (the respite carer) who will be there to support mum after reunification. But, again, it’s difficult being told we must have respite.

It was even harder when they told us baby was going to respite for 3 weeks over Christmas. My actual response to that was “Over my dead body”. “Jade” needs to bond with us, her primary carers, so that she can learn to bond so reunification will be easier. 3 weeks away from us isn’t going to help that at all. Plus there’s the totally selfish part of me that desperately wants “Jade” with us for Christmas.

The good news, is that “Jade’s” social worker has agreed that 3 weeks is too long, but, my suggestion of the respite just for the weekend just after Christmas wasn’t accepted. Tummy Mummy will be going to the friends house for a couple of days over Christmas and they want “Jade” and her brother to spend Christmas with Mum and the respite carer. Also it’s “Jade’s” brothers birthday a couple of days after Christmas, so they would like her there for that as well.

There have been plenty of tears from me having my dream of having a baby for Christmas get smooshed to pieces, but the amazing MM stepped in and has promised me an early Christmas celebration with “Jade” so I wont miss out all together, but, I can tell you, it still makes me cry when he’s not around because I know for me, it won’t be the same. I really wanted the ‘family’ experience for Christmas. Oh the Joys of what we do.

The hardest part is that I know that for “Jade” and her family, spending Christmas together is really important, and that my wish isn’t important to “Jade’s” reunification and her future with her family. I understand all the decisions (with the exception of 3 weeks of respite over Christmas) are in the best interest of “Jade” and her family and reunification.

So for now, we are “the transporrters”, taking “Jade” where she needs to go and loving her as much as we can.

How do you cope with the conflicting emotions of knowing what’s best for the children in your care and what your wishes are?

 

The Baby Diaries. Part 3

I’m home from my holiday.

The lady that looked after me while the milk lady had to work said I was a perfect angel.

So what was the first thing I did to the milk lady? Yep. Let one rip when she changed my nappy. I’m saving the wee joke until she’s least expecting it, maybe in the middle of the night, that always gets a giggle.

I was only gone a few days and the milk lady was hugging and kissing me like I’d been gone for ages.

We had a concert to go to the afternoon I came home. Milk lady had to wave her arms around while some kids sang songs, or so I’m told. Music always makes me sleepy, so I slept through the whole event.

The only thing I remember is waking up to see a lady  looking at me who made the milk lady laugh and laugh and laugh.

She said, “Oh look, it’s a mini Cee Jay” and then the milk lady cracked up laughing.

I guess that is pretty funny.

What’s the funniest thing people have said to you about your foster babies?

Role Reversals

How do they do it?

For 2 years we’ve been providing respite for children in care.

For 2 years no carer has called us to see how they’re going.

How do they not call?

If your child has challenging behaviours wouldn’t you call to see that the respite carers are ok in case they need some advice?

Now, the shoe is on the other foot and we had to get respite for little miss “Jade”.

I’ve had a crazy 3 days of work with a music festival I manage. Long days with rehearsals and performances in the evenings, so respite was the only option for us with a newborn.

I cried before “Jade” was out of the driveway.

I’ve woken up at 3 am each night she has been gone for feed time with a baby not there.

I’m now counting down the minutes until she returns home.

And in all of this, I did ask if the respite carer could call me and let me know how she was going, but sadly no call.

I did hear from “Jade’s” social worker who said that she was doing well, sleeping well and was a little angel, but it’s not the same as hearing from the woman looking after baby herself.

I would have called her, but wasn’t given her details, I know she had mine, I sent them in her travel passport in case of emergency.

It’s been a long 3 days. Not just the work, but also in my down time (what there was of it) wondering how ‘our’ little girl was going.

I just can’t wait for her to get home.

I just hope I don’t burst into tears when they drop her off.

Have you ever put a child into respite care?

How do you cope?

 

The Baby Diaries. Part 2

I found a new joke to play on the milk lady today.

Quite by accident, but I thought it was still pretty funny.

Milk lady was putting some cream on me, for nappy rash she said, and guess what I did.

I let one rip.

Milk lady laughed and told me I might not be biologically hers and the milk mans, but I certainly let wind go like I’m the milk mans daughter.

Well, it was so funny, I did it again while she was putting the nappy under me.

She’s a good sport, tells me I am her little piglet and giggles and gives me a hug.

I’ll have to think up a new joke to play on her.

Learning from Baby

What lessons have you learned from having a baby in your life?

I find myself learning more about me since “Jade” came into our home.

I’ve learnt that:

  • you need a degree in time management to have you and baby out the door on time
  • meal times revolve around when the smallest tummy in the house needs feeding
  • baby knows when you are trying to take a nap when she is because that’s when she wants a bottle earlier than normal
  • everyone thinks that to be happy I need to be able to “keep” baby forever. They don’t realise I will keep her always in my heart, but at the end of the day, the best place for her is with her birth mum
  • going to work one day a week and leaving baby with my mum is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done
  • a good nights sleep should never be taken for granted
  • regardless of the perpetually tired feeling, I wouldn’t trade those middle of the night snuggles for anything.

And now it’s time to go. Milk lady is being paged by the little angel in the next room.

The Baby Diaries. Part 1

Hi. I’m “Jade” and the milk lady thinks it would be fun for me to keep a diary while I am staying with them so I thought I’d tell you about the jokes I like to play.

Last night I was hungry so I called out to the milk lady. She’s pretty good about jumping out of bed anytime of the night and getting me a bottle. I love when she picks me up because I know milk is coming soon, so I settle down in her arms, until….I hear the machine that goes Beeeeeep. Once that machine goes Beep I know my bottle is almost ready, the milk lady just needs to add the formula and shake it for me, but I get the wiggles and start to cry because the machine has gone Beep and that bottle just can’t come soon enough.

It was after my 1 am feed when the milk lady was changing my nappy that I played my favourite joke on her, I did a wee as soon as she took off my nappy. That joke never gets old. I try to do it to her at least once a day. She’s a good sport, it’s a little game to see if she can get a nappy on me before there’s mess everywhere.  But this time I went one step further, I had reflux….all over the place. I covered me, the change area and of course the milk lady picked me up, so her too.

I got new jammies and lots of cuddles, and then I fell asleep while milk lady had to clean everything up.

Ah, the joy of being a baby. I get carried everywhere and the milk lady and man always have a bottle for me when I want it, I get as many cuddles as I want and I can make as much wind as I like and they love it. Does it get any better?

Baby Brain

Have you ever experienced ‘baby brain’?

I always thought it was something to do with the changing hormones in a woman’s body that caused ‘baby brain’ but I think I have it.

When trying to shop with baby “Jade” I have my list in my head right up until I look down in that sweet cherubic little face and then Whoosh, everything I needed is gone from my head and all I can think about is the gorgeous little bundle in my arms.

I told the nurse at the clinic yesterday when “Jade” had her 2-4 week check up during our little chat about how I’m going being a new ‘mum’ and what supports I have, and she laughed and told me it isn’t baby brain. It’s love.

Well, I’m pleased I don’t have baby brain, and it’s true, I love this little lady. It’s certainly going to be very hard when the time comes to say goodbye.

What’s your favourite ‘baby brain’ story?

Drought or flood

The climate is often a drought or a flood.
All or nothing.

It seems our foster care journey is the same.

For over 15 years I’ve been waiting for a baby in my life.

Now we have little “Jade” for a while and just yesterday we were called and asked if we could also take in a little man for 10 days.

How old is the little man? 10 months!!

Oh my lordy…no babies for sooooooo long and now they are asking if I can manage 2 littlies.

Sadly we did have to say no to the placement.

Why?

Well, we would have had to have bought another baby car seat and a double stroller and potentially a bigger car!

For a 10 day respite placement that was a big financial outlay not to mention “Kelly” is here for respite this weekend. That would have been so much work with the three of them.

I couldn’t even imagine “Angel’s” response when she gets back from holiday later this week if she’d found out I have 2 babies and “Kelly”. I’m hoping that she will agree that we’ve made the right decision by not taking on too much all at once.

In Love

With her cute little noises when she’s drinking her bottle

With her cute little poop face

With the way she scrunches up her face when she’s had enough bottle and my favourite…

Her gorgeous little smile when she has wind.
It’s like she knows that one day she’ll get in trouble for farting, but right now she can get away with it and her little grin is like “nah na na na naaaah”

How can someone so little have so much cuteness?

Access Oh OH!

How hard could it be taking a little baby to her access visit with her bio-mum?

Put baby in car…check.

Baby falls asleep in car…check.

Find a park over the road from the office…check.

Carry little cutie pie to office….check.

Bump into Bio-Mum out the front…Oh Oh!

This was my first access drop off and you can’t imagine how I felt when this strange lady yells out, “that’s my baby!”

My reply, “well, it’s a baby, I’m not sure if it’s yours.”

Turns out, yes it is.

Someone from inside the office came out to rescue us (we were early and the door was locked) so we didn’t have to stand outside together.

I dropped off little “Jade” and was told I could pick her up from the foyer.

Ok, so in my head I’m thinking they’ll bring out bubs WITHOUT mum and guess what…I was wrong again.

Mum seemed genuinely happy to meet me. Shook my hand, introduced herself, seemed nice enough.

But still, it would have been nice to have had a warning. I thought that they tried to keep foster carers and bio’s separate for privacy and safety.

I called my Support Worker (not “Angel” at the moment, she’s on holiday) and let her know what had happened so she could follow up on it for me.

Result. Seems Bio-Mum is happy to meet me, and is ok with me looking after her little girl as they are working towards reunification and she is planning on getting her back. So, I will continue to meet with mum at access and I’m even going to make her a little brag book of photos that she can keep with her.

Access is daily but I take her a couple of times a week and the department collect her the other days.

Next stage in our adventure?

Well, “Jade” was initially going to be here for 9 days as a respite placement, but yesterday the case was in court and we may end up with “Jade” as short term placement (into the new year). Waiting to find out today. The wait is killing me!