Christmas Blessings

What’s your Christmas blessing this year?

Me, I am a piglet and have lots, it’s wonderful.

Top of the list must be MM. I have so many things to be thankful for with MM that it would be a whole other post. MM, I can’t imagine this journey we call life, without you. You make me laugh every day, you are supportive and wise in our foster care journey, often “the voice of reason” and you provide me with my endless request for hugs, even when I don’t ask for them out loud but you know I need one. Thank you for choosing me and coming along this journey with me.

Then there’s Ma and Pa, my amazing yet ridiculously supportive parents. Yes, they are ridiculous in their support of us. For Chrsitmas they gave us a weekend away at a B&B, without children. Time for us to rest and just have “us” time. But it’s more than that, there’s the constant support and even Pa’s ridiculous suggestion that we invite ALL of “Kylie’s” brothers and sisters (all 7 children) to THEIR home for Christmas day as children should be together for Christmas. Thank goodness our new support worker said that they have plans with the families they are placed with as it’s too close to Christmas because poor Ma was a bit concerned about all the extra children. The food, not an issue, there’s always enough to feed an army, but all those children running around….I get tired thinking about that.

Our babies. Not just the ones we have right now, but all that have come into our home this year. It’s been a crazy busy year, but so fulfilling. And of course I can’t count my blessings without making a special mention about “Kelly”, who we’ve had the honour of providing ongoing respite to for over 2 years and watching this young lady grow up and start the long healing process. And “Kylie” who joined us for one week and has now been with us almost a month, and having the honour of having her for Christmas. Watching her face light us as she saw the magic candy canes grow, the presents Santa left and just blending into our family so well. Saving the best for last, baby “Jade” who couldn’t be with us for Christmas, but, who has been with us for 3 months. Not bad for a 9 day respite placement! A little baby who fills my days with joy and is such a wonderful baby. Truly blessed to have our first baby placement such a beautiful little lady with the biggest of toothless grins. (One more sleep until she comes home!)

And now, unrelated to fostercare, MM’s daughter “Missy” and son-in-law “Mac”. They have taken me into their home as one of their own, and support and encourage our foster care journey. “Missy” thank you for all the baby things you hand down from your gorgeous baby to ours. “Mac” thank for being someone who calls a spade a spade, it means when you tell me something, I know you aren’t just being polite but are truly genuine. It means the world to me that you have welcomed me into your home. And of course the GORGEOUS “Kourtney”. A beautiful little girl who has stolen my heart by blessing me with helping her to open her Christmas present, not mum or Poppy, but me. Super special moment, and to make it better, when I went out with her Daddy to get pizza for dinner she called to “Nanna”. A name she gave to me as we always refer to me as Cee Jay.

Does life get any better than this?

Farewell to an Angel

Not any angel, but MY Angel.

It’s hard to imagine this journey without her.

It was a hard day when she said that she and her husband were moving to the country. I’m so happy for them but it’s so strange not talking to her on the phone or emailing. My angel isn’t there.

I have a new PSW, and she’s lovely and doing all the right things. She’s on top of all our kids and their needs, the transition from one support worker to the other has been almost seemless, but, the new one isn’t MY Angel.

Today we got a beautiful Christmas card from her, made me miss her even more. Her bright bubbly voice on the end of the phone. Her cheeky tone of voice when she had a placement for us. Her endless words of wisdom, encouragement and support.

Wishing you all good things Angel. I hope you and your husband have a fantastic new life in the country. We of you. Thank you for everything you did for us and our babies. We will miss you very much.

 

No one wants us

“Leanne” was a huge inspiration for me to become a foster carer.
She was a student and there was nothing remarkable about her. She was a quiet achiever, no problems in rehearsal with behaviour, just a normal kid. As the year went on, she started hanging back after rehearsal for a chat. She would walk with me to my car chatting all the while. Time went on and she started telling me more about herself. The teacher that I worked with knew her background and told me that the things “Leanne” was sharing, she didn’t share with very many people and that I was very lucky to have her confide in me. I was told a bit more of her history by the teacher so that I knew where she was coming from.

The things this young lady had been through…oh my lordy!

One day, on our walk out to my car she was telling me that she was in residential care, because “nobody wants us”. My heart broke for her. This poor young girl and her siblings had been through so much and now to feel that no one wanted them. I told her that it wasn’t that she wasn’t wanted but that there is a massive shortage of foster carers, and as the department want the family to be able to stay together, finding a home able to take so many children is very difficult. She told me that I should become a foster carer, and thus the seed was planted.

On future chats I told her, that I had taken her advice and had applied to become a foster carer.

Over the next 12 months, I kept her updated and was so happy to be able to tell her once I was all approved, which happened to be at the same time she and one of her sisters had been placed with a family.

So to “Leanne”, thank you so much for taking me into your confidence and inspiring me to become a foster carer.
You were not just a light bulb moment for me, but more like a huge neon sign hitting me in the head.

The generosity of strangers

What a day *contented sigh*

We went to visit my parents today and a friend of theirs popped by to drop off some things that my parents are going to store for them while they’re moving.

This lovely man, that I’ve only met a couple of times before, and MM has never met, asked if we knew anyone who needed any beds as they had some kids beds to get rid of.

Well, we’ve been thinking about getting a third bed, to give siblings a choice of having their own rooms when they stay here or to share a room, so this was a great opportunity. We would have been happy for Mr and Mrs B. to just drop off one of their choosing to my folks, but no, we had to go round to their house and choose. So, off we went.

When we got to their home, we explained why we were looking at another bed, and next thing we know we have a ute full of things to bring home.

Seems they like what we’re doing with foster care (it appears as though Ma and Pa have been raving about all our babies) and we came home with :

  • Single Bed
  • Trundle Bed
  • Bike
  • Ride on car for little kid (think Fred Flintstone style)
  • Hundreds of $$ worth of clothes, swimwear and sleepwear for girls in various sizes, some brand new with tags still on
  • Boots and rain boots in various sizes
  • Hats
  • Books
  • Kids out door chairs

 
I have spent all afternoon and evening smiling at MM, and, I will confess, I’ve gotten a bit teary too, at the overwhelming generosity of these people. We asked how much they wanted for everything that they have given to us, and the answer was, No, just give it a good home, the kiddies need it and anything you don’t want or need, pay it forward. And we will.

Mr and Mrs B….you are amazing people and your kindness today for the little people that come into our home has made my cup runneth over. I wish you all good things and on behalf of the kiddies that will get the benefit of your goodies, Thank you.

Thank you so very much.

You want me here?

I remember a few years ago, I was teaching for a friend on maternity leave. A few weeks in, I realised I had a real challenge on my hands, a year 7 boy who was more than just the class clown.

One day after rehearsal I found my way to the principals office and asking what the deal was with “Mike”. We had a small chat about this young man and it turned out that this kid had in his short life had already been in about 20 different foster homes. His mum had some issues and was working through them and so when he was able to live with her he did, but it meant that the people that had been caring for him would be given a new placement, so, sadly, when his mum was unable to care for him he found himself with new carers.

The result, a child with massive attachment issues, and that for him translated into behavioural issues. By the time he ended up in my room, this poor fella had never been on a school excursion, much less a camp because of his challenging behaviours. The school principal asked if I was happy to keep working with him, but, as he wasn’t an academic type student, or an athlete, we wanted to find something he could do, so working with the principal and his carer we set out to do what we could.

Did he get a free pass for bad behaviour? No way!
One day, after being given his 2 warnings, I asked him to choose, stay and behave or leave the room. He chose poorly and was sent out. The following week he didn’t come to rehearsal, so I sent a student to go get him from class. When I asked him why he didn’t come I was told with all the attitude he could “Cos you kicked me out!” My reply, “That was last week and you chose to leave with your behaviour. I want you here, but I won’t accept that behaviour.”

My heart nearly broke when he replied with “You want me here”?”
It was like he had never heard those words before, and possibly, he hadn’t.

Well, he chose to join us, and I won’t say it was an easy journey, but we managed to get this young man to 2 offsite rehearsals….no, he wasn’t allowed to go on the school bus, but his amazing carer took him and waited there in case he had to take him away…and he got to perform at the Adelaide Festival Theatre.

After the concert I got  a massive hug and thank you for letting him take part. I told him I did nothing except teach him the songs….he did the hard work and made the right choices with his behaviour, he was responsible for being there.

I still get teary thinking about how he was so surprised that I wanted him to be there.

It was my light bulb moment. That moment that I realised there are a lot of kids out there that just want to feel loved and wanted.

To “Mike” where ever you are, I want you to know how much you inspired me to do what I do now.

“Mike” is not his real name.