Best Event

Saturday was the Easter Picnic for our foster care agency. What an awesome event.

It was just a sausage sizzle in a playground, but, it was perfect weather, and all of the children were fantastic.

We had our tribe with us, “Kelly”, “Scarlett” and “Jade”. We chatted with “Kelly” and “Scarlett” on the way there about our expectations for their behaviour. We let them know they would most probably be the oldest children there so we expected that they would be great role models with behaviour for all of the younger children. We also let “Scarlett” know that there would be an Easter Egg Hunt and we expected that she would not race around finding all of the eggs and not leaving any fun for the young children. It was a chat about how magical it is for young children to find the eggs and how for her it’s just about getting chocolate, about how for some of the children there (regardless of their age) it may be their first Easter egg hunt.

It was so lovely to have a few adults at the picnic come and comment to us about how lovely our girls were. Helping the little kids on the playground and helping with the Easter Egg hunt.

“Kylie” was also there, we got the biggest hugs from her, and she spent her time with “Kylie” and “Scarlett”. The three of them get along so well, it was lovely to see. It was interesting to see “Scarlett” comment on how many eggs “Kylie” had and how she should have shared more with the little kids. When “Kylie” wasn’t around we quietly explained that this was “Kylie’s” very first Easter egg hunt, just as last weekend was her very first birthday party, and the first time she got presents for her birthday.

Our little “Catelyn” was also there. She’s not so little anymore, 18 months old now with the tinniest little ponytail, and starting to put little sentences together. That little lady is doing  with her family. It was at the Easter picnic last year that she first went home with them, now, later this week her case goes back to court and we all have everything crossed that she will get to live forever with her lovely foster parents.

“Jade” seemed to be the star of the picnic, perhaps her cute little bunny outfit had something to do with that, with so many people coming over to chat with us and to see how she’s going and I guess it’s strange for people to see us with such a little person as we normally care for much older children. My highlight had to be “Catelyn” wanting to give her a hug and a kiss. So cute.

Such a lovely day. Lovely people. Lovely children. All of us together sharing our stories with other people who understand the joys and challenges of being a foster carer. All of the children together with no one feeling out of place for being a child in care, just enjoying the day.

Quite possibly the best foster care event we have been to so far.

What’s the best event you have been to and why?

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That went well

Don’t you hate it when you stress out about something and get all worked up, just to have it go well, and then you’re left feeling like a dill for stressing in the first place?

Well, today was my first meeting with “Jade’s” new social worker. I bumped into her briefly when picking up “Jade” from access on Monday but today she came out early to have a chat with me before taking miss cutie pie to access.

I didn’t know what to expect from todays meeting. My new support worker couldn’t be here due to training, so I had myself a list of questions to ask, plus a list of questions for a future meeting when my support worker can be there to ‘hold my hand’.

Because “Jade” had to spend Christmas with TM (tummy mummy) I’ve been worrying that she was going to have to go to respite for Easter as well. Plus, if I’m honest, I’ve been worrying even more that she will have to spend Mother’s Day with TM as well. Well, at this stage “Jade” is not going to spend Easter with TM as she is on supervised access there won’t be anyone available to supervise on Easter, and as for Mother’s Day, SW was honest enough to say at this stage she can’t give me a definite answer as it’s quite a way away, but at this stage, no to Mother’s Day as well.

Sadly things aren’t going well with the reunification. In fact, I get the distinct impression that things are going backwards. Access is about to be cut back from 3 days per week to just 2 days. Next month SW is having a meeting with her supervisor to discuss the case as “Jade’s” brothers court order is up in a few months they need to decide what to do. Do they apply for an extension. Do they apply to have the order be GOM18 (in care until he ages out). SW said once they have that meeting about big brother then they will have a better idea of where “Jades” case is headed and we will have some more information.

She was lovely in saying that we need to know what’s going on as it effects our lives too. Nice to be treated as part of the team, not just as baby sitters, or as MM would say, like mushrooms.

I’m now in that awful place where I have all those conflicting emotions.

I’m sad reunification isn’t going well, but happy that for us we get to have this beautiful little lady in our home longer.

I’m sad for TM that she probably wont get to spend Mother’s Day with her children, but I”m happy that for the first time I will get the joy of my own Mother’s Day.

It seems like the progress is one step forward one step backward. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the social workers. Having to decide what is in the best interest of the children. How long do you give someone to get their stuff together? If TM can’t do it in 12 months, what is the likelyhood she will be able to do it in 24 months? or 3 years? How long do we live with our lives in limbo?

Now to wait another month to get another update.

The plus, another month with “Jade”, and the joy of watching her grow and change before our very eyes.

“Kylie’s” Birthday

About a month ago we got a text from M inviting us to “Kyliie’s” birthday party. Awesome.

Can we bring “Kelly”? Well, it’s not a Kelly weekend but maybe we can switch weekends or ask if she can come too, we just need the details, when, where, time.

So, it gets to 3 days before the party and we’ve had no information so I assumed we had been uninvited (there’s a reason that might happen, that’s for another post). Then, bam. We get a text from M with a picture of “Kylie” and her new pet bunny.

24 hours later (just 2 days before the party) we get an invitation and the party is at 6 pm. What! Who has a kids party at 6 pm? There was no way with only one business day we would be able to organise to switch “Kelly’s” weekend and being a 6 pm party we wouldn’t be able to borrow “Kelly” for the party as it would have meant getting her home way too late.

It was lovely to go to the party and “Scarlett” fitted in well with all the other children there and “Jade” was her normal cuteness giving her best gummy grins to people. My highlight had to be “Kylie” giving us the biggest hugs when we got there and introducing us to people as ‘her’ Cee Jay and ‘her’ MM and ‘her’ “Jade”. Was lovely to have people come up and tell us that they’ve heard all about us from “Kylie”.

It’s nice to know we haven’t been forgotten.

The baby diaries Part 12

Happy half birthday to me!

I’m 6 months old and I got a mini party for my mid-year celebration!

It was just the milk lady and milkman and my special sister “Scarlett” and I got a present from all of them.

I like presents. Actually, I like unwrapping presents and playing with the paper. The presents are ok, but the pretty paper is so much fun to squish up and try to eat it and rip it. I love that part the best.

I also got a little cupcake with a candle on it. I didn’t get to eat it though as my brother was allergic to eggs, and the milk lady is a bit concerned I will be too, but I got to try the frosting…mmmm. The milk lady tells me I will get to try things with eggs but not just yet.

My first mini party was lovely and I can’t wait to turn one! Maybe a bigger party, maybe with more presents or even better, just lots of pretty paper to play with.

I take it back

Yesterday was one of those days. If it could go wrong, it did. In the middle there I had some pretty mean thoughts about “Jades” TM (tummy mummy) and those I have to take back.

So what happened?

Well, “Scarlett” had a pupil free day and access in the afternoon with her dad. No problem, but it meant I had an 11 year old puppy following me around the house all morning.

No big deal, until “Jade’s” TM cancelled her access with bubs. That threw a spanner in the works. I have a rehearsal at that time which I couldn’t take her to, so I had to cancel.

In amongst all of this “Jade” decided to play the ‘guess-what’s-wrong-with-me-and-while-you-guess-you-can’t-put-me-down-or-I’ll-scream’ game, making for a very long day. It was after MM came home that we went….ah…teething!

I have to admit, it’s not the first time “Jades” use has cancelled access due to Gastro, which I thought was code for ‘substance abuse’ and can’t come in. If the other times she has had gastro, then there’s something wrong with TM as she’s had gastro 3 or 4 times in the last 6 months, that’s a lot! Because of the last minute cancellation and the impact it had on my day and organisation I was not a happy camper and I had some pretty awful thoughts about her selfishness and is she ever going to get her S**t together to get her kids back.

It turns out she really does have gastro. I know this because poor little baby has gastro and her being upset yesterday probably wasn’t just the incoming teeth but also the onset of gastro. So today I have been nurse to “Jade”, MM has been my right hand man, couldn’t have gotten through today with my sanity without his awesomeness and “Scarlett” and “Kelly” have been great at keeping clear of baby so they don’t get it too.

So to TM, I take back the bad thoughts I had about you ‘faking’ gastro but my question is now, how is it you have had gastro so many times in such a short space of time?

To MM, thank you for your help and support today and even more so yesterday when you walked in from work and I handed you a crying baby and said she’s all yours because she hates me(at which point “Jade” turned in MMs arms and gave me a big toothless grin, gotta love her timing).

What thoughts have you had about the birth family of a child that you had to take back?

The Baby Diaries Part 11

I’m a big girl now.

I went shopping with the milk lady and they didn’t have any of the baby trolleys, you know the ones where I get to lay down and have a nap while milk lady pushes me around. The just had regular ones so, the milk lady asked me if we should go home or would I like to be a big girl? We went with big girl. I got to sit up like a little lady and hold the milk lady’s hand while she pushed the trolley around. I didn’t get my nap though and I was really tired, but, the milk lady was good and kept smiling at me and telling me how proud she was of me for being a big girl.

While we were shopping I was smiling at a man, well, he started it, and his wife was asking the milk lady all about me. The milk lady is so funny. Sometimes when people ask she says that yes I am her first baby. Which I kind of am, and it makes for less questions but sometimes when she’s in a cheeky mood she tells people I am her 16th child. That’s always good for a giggle. I know I can’t talk, and don’t understand all the words, but I understand peoples faces, and they are so funny when she says 16. Of course, she lets them know it’s because she is a foster mummy, and I smile at people and be as cute as I can. I know of 2 people that have gone to information sessions to become foster carers because the milk lady talks to people about what she and the milk man do, and I think maybe it’s also because I am pretty cute…just saying!

When we got home from shopping I had a really big nap. It was a big day. We’d been to visit the milk man at his work, and took him in morning tea and then we went shopping. Plenty for one morning for me. When I woke up I did something else only big girls can do. I sat in the swing outside. I haven’t done that before. That’s a strange thing, it’s a bit like my car seat but it is like flying through the air. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I can’t say I don’t like it. I think I need another try to say for sure.

So, now I am almost 6 months old I am such a big girl.

I don’t like sitting down low next to the table. I like to be part of the conversation at meal times.

I’ve been in the big girl trolley and now a swing.

I get to eat all sorts of yummy foods.

I can’t wait to be over 6 months old, what awesome things will I get to do then?

Needing my Angel

I miss Angel.

I don’t know new PSW as well yet and it’s a weird situation I find myself in.

“Scarlett” spent 9 days with an emergency carer before she came to us and in that time she was introduce to religion.

I’m a bit worried about how much she is throwing herself into it. Every day she has read a daily devotion book and she’s been reading the bible. It seems a lot for someone who’s not been to church before.

I just don’t know how to handle this situation.

MM and I aren’t churchy people, so this is a little out of our depth.

We don’t object to her asking questions, and reading and learning, but, we both have concerns that she is reading it literally.
I mean, literally believing people live to 969 years of age.
How do we explain that to her? How can we explain it when we don’t believe that it’s humanly possible.

Angel was Christian. She would have the most amazing advice about this. She understood MM and I and would be able to help me with “Scarlett” and her sudden interest in God.

I don’t want to stop her from looking at other possibilities, for suggestions on how to live a better life. But, how can I promote the bible when I see so many discrepancies there and know so many people that are so called Christians, but are actually not very nice people.

Why would someone who is only going to have a child for 2 weeks buy them so many books about religion knowing that they wont be there to help and guide the child once they leave their care?

What am I to do?

The best laid plans

It was one of those days. Anything that had been planned got unplanned.

The weekend that should have been.

“Jade” was asked to go to respite to spend time with her brother.

We asked for “Scarlett” to go to respite (which ended up approval as sleepover at Ma and Pa’s to give us a weekend child free.

I had a first aid refresher course to do.

MM was going to do a few odd jobs around the house without little helpers.

We were going to go out for a nice romantic dinner (seeing as we had 3 children for Valentines day).

We were going to sleep through the night…Ok I was, MM always does.

We were going to sleep in. MM is up at 4.30 am for work and bubs is up at 5.30 am for a feed.

Then we were going to mosey on up to Ma and Pa’s farm to collect “Scarlett” feeling all refreshed.

Well, that was the plan.

The reality of our weekend.

“Jade’s” respite was cancelled.

MM got asked to work Saturday morning.

The hot weather came in and that meant not taking “Scarlett” to the farm for her sleepover as it was going to be too many hours of travelling in the heat for “Jade”.

My first aid instructor didn’t get to the course. We were going to be sent home, but, fortunately the other instructor found a room and took us all in. What a task for her, teaching 2 different courses at the same time.

Morning played out like this…..
MM went to work. I got the girls up and ready. We went to MMs work, picked him up and he took us to my course and dropped us off. He was then going to go back to work and the boss was going to provide ‘crèche’ for the girls. Ok, “Scarlett” had activities to do and can work unsupervised, crèche was more about “Poppa Paul” having cuddles with “Jade”. MM and “Paul” must have worked like crazy, because they had all the work finished by the time we got there, so after I was dropped off at my course MM took the girls home for a quiet day inside, keeping cool.

Romantic dinner…called for pizza.

Sleep through the night. “Jade” had the sniffles during the night, so I was up a couple of times to see to her.

Sleep in. “Jade” and I got up at 5.45 am for a feed, and that finds me watching old episodes of the Thunderbirds on TV and writing this post while I have some quiet time.

What have I learned since becoming a foster carer?

That making plans is nice, but things never go to plan as there are so many things beyond our control.

I think I might go make myself another cuppa while the house is so quiet, and now I’ve said that, you know as soon as I put on the kettle someone will wake up!