Mother’s Day blessings

For those who are struggling with infertility, I know your pain and I know how hard this day is. A day that you want so desperately to be a mother, yet it hasn’t happened and you know it may never happen biologically for you. It’s one of the hardest days in the year. A day to celebrate your mum but on the inside is just pain and frustration at not being a mum yourself.

Last year was a day of mixed emotion for me. A day to celebrate the beautiful little Jade in our lives. A gorgeous little lady who stole our hearts and for whom we still shed a tear every now and then from missing her so much.

This year we have Bonnie and Raj. Raj who will be leaving us in the next couple of weeks and both MM and myself are so happy for him and more importantly, for the people that will have this giggly little boy in their family. I have my fingers crossed that he will go to a couple struggling with infertility, to make their dreams come true.

Bonnie is a blessing in a different way. She calls me mum. To this little lady I am the mummy one. I’m the one there in the middle of the night when the nightmares come after access visits to hug her and comfort her. I’m the one there to help her up when she falls over while she’s learning to walk and the one there for “more” horsie rides around the lounge room. This bonnie wee lass has filled the hole in our hearts when Jade left in a way I couldn’t have imagined. She has only been here 5 months, but, she is such a good fit in our home that it’s hard to imagine her not being with us. Only time will tell. In the mean time we will enjoy every minute we get to watch her learn and grow. Giggle at her funny little ways and hold her close when she struggles with the access visits.

Has motherhood come to me how I had hoped or planned?
No.
But, this is motherhood as I know it, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Being the foster mum to these precious children brings more joy than I could have imagined.
For those struggling with infertility, hang in there. Motherhood will come to you if  you open your heart and mind to other ways of making your wishes come true.
Being a foster parent is the most amazing experience. I can honestly say that I am glad that life chose this path for me.

 

Boys, Boys, Boys

Teenage boys.

Teenage girls.

Argh!

When I began on my fostering journey I applied to care for children from birth to 12 years of age. I didn’t want teenagers. Then Kelly was turning 13, so we extended our age to 13. Now Kelly is 14, so we are registered for 14. And then along comes Indiana. A 15 year old girl needing respite.

Our support worker approached us about providing a night of respite for this lovely young lady to start with, and gradually build up from there as she is quite an anxious young person and they wanted to make sure that she coped ok with one night before having any longer respite.

It was going well, until just before bed time she checked her phone, and there it was. A long message from her boyfriend. Her long distance boyfriend. She was so excited as he had been on a cruise with his family and she hadn’t spoken with him for a week. That excitement quickly changed as she left the room to read the message in private. He was breaking up with her, without actually saying he was breaking up with her.

To our surprise she asked if she could talk to us. Indiana had only been in our home for a short meet and greet visit a few weeks earlier, and this was just 4 hours into her respite placement. We spent the next two hours sitting on the couch talking with Indiana about her text message, which she shared with us, and talking about boys and long distance relationships. It really was an honour to have her feel safe enough with us to talk to us. I really thought she would ask to go home to her carer.

We eventually got Indiana settled enough to go to bed, and in the morning she seemed better. We had a lovely day. Did a little bit of shopping in the morning while Kelly was at her dance lessons and in the afternoon we all went to an adventure playground for a couple of hours.

Indiana was collected later that afternoon by her foster carer and to our surprise that evening I got a text message from her. She wanted to know if it was ok for Indiana to call us. She wanted to talk to us more about her problem. MM and I were so surprised, but it felt really good that she wanted to talk to us again even though she was now back home.

I must say a big thank you to MM for being a part of the conversations with Indiana. I don’t know that I could have handled it on my own. Teenager problems. I felt I was way out of my depth, but together, we helped a young lady in her time of need. It will certainly be interesting if she comes back for more respite!

Raj

We have another baby.
If a 17 month old wasn’t enough, we added a new born to our home.
Baby Raj was just 3 weeks old when he arrived and he is so gorgeous.

He came to us from another carer in our agency. She sadly got ill and couldn’t care for him as she needed some medical procedures.

It is truly an honour to be able to care for this little man because he is super special.
Raj is up for adoption.
Last year in our state just 3 children were adopted, so it’s such a blessing to be able to care for this little man while the system does it’s thing.

It’s interesting to be a part of this process.

Before his tummy mummy can sign the consent forms to place him for adoption she has to go through counselling to make sure this is the right decision. Then once she has signed the consent forms there is a 25 day waiting period. I’m sure it has a proper name, but it’s like a cooling off period. Time that mum can change her mind, go into the office and rip up the paperwork. Then things move super fast. The first call to a suitable family is made, they have 24 hours to make a decision, and within the week baby Raj and I will meet with them, and if they are happy to proceed, within the next week Raj will transition to their home.

We have waited and waited for tummy mummy to sign, and this week she has.
It must have been such a huge decision for her to make. I can’t imagine how difficult it was for her. I’m so proud of her though, to put the needs of her child first.

Now the countdown has begun.

In approximately one month, our gorgeous boy will be adopted and live happily ever after.

He who shouts loudest

Just who is the system looking out for?

The children?

Or those that stomp their feet the loudest?

We messaged Jade’s forever family just before Christmas. We had something for each of the children (including their daughter) and asked if we could catch up with them. I know Christmas is a busy time for them. Because just a few days after it’s Jade’s brothers birthday and a few days later it’s their daughters birthday. As if Christmas wasn’t busy enough. So, we were disappointed to not hear from them straight away, but not surprised.

Time went on and we still didn’t hear anything. Maybe the novelty of staying in touch with us had worn off already

MM kept asking if I’d heard anything and then I suggested that maybe we could ask for a play date seeing as Bonnie is the same age.

5 days later and I got a text message that has broken my heart.

Jade’s new mum had some health issues before Christmas and the children were no longer with her and her husband.

They are with Aunty.
The same Aunty who was not approved to care for Jade when she was born.
The same Aunty who was not approved to care the Jade when the court granted a long term order.
The same Aunty who made demands on us to drive Jade over an hour for a family visit and then wasn’t courteous enough to even bother saying hello or thank you to us.
The same Aunty who works 3 jobs and has 4 or 5 of her own children.
How does this woman, have time to care for a toddler?
This is why Jade wasn’t placed there before. Because she was so busy with work and her own children the department saw that with a pre-schooler and toddler, the placement would be likely to fail.
What on earth could have changed so much that now she is a good choice for these children?
Why did the department not offer more help and resources to keep Jade and her brother with the other family?

My guess is Aunty and Grandma stomped their feet and threw an adult tantrum. It’s not the first time. They did it while Jade was with us. Demanding we drive Jade all over the place at their beck and call, and never making a compromise. Instead of meeting us part way so poor baby Jade didn’t have to do all the travelling, they pushed for us to drive her over an hour to visit them. They would threaten to go to the media about the department not allowing them to see their family members and complained long and loud about us being uncooperative. But never did they put the needs of Jade first.

I know for Father’s day there was a problem because Jade’s new mum didn’t ring Aunty’s brother (bio dad). When new mum explained she can’t, that all communication had to go through the department, the family threw a tantrum and never made contact for Jade’s first birthday. No presents, no cards, no phone calls, not even a text message.

How can this woman be a good role model for Jade?
How can she be a good placement for her?

We have let our agency know about this situation and made it know that if/when (and we believe it will be when) the placement fails we will take Jade back in a heartbeat. Don’t even ring us and ask, just ring us and tell us she is on the way. Sadly, they are just as cynical as we are about this placement being successful.

I was devastated when I heard about this development and now, I am mad. Very mad.

Decisions being made that really don’t look like they are in the best interest of the child, but rather, the easiest option for the department when dealing with super sized tantrum throwing toddlers. Why is it that he who stomps the loudest get what they want and the needs of the children come second?  Sadly this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a birth family getting what they want from stomping and being difficult. When will the department stand up and fight harder for the children?

Here’s hoping I’m wrong. That Aunty has changed and will be a great place for Jade because that poor little girl is 17 months old and is in her 4th placement already, and considering she was with us for 10 of those months, this is totally unacceptable to us.
To think that our darling girl has had to move again and may have to move yet again breaks my heart.

She deserves so much more than that.

All children deserve so much more than that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiggle Tiggle

Bonnie’s first word.
Tiggle Tiggle.
It took a little bit to work out what she was trying to say, it wasn’t until she grabbed her foot and wiggled her chubby little fingers at her feet that I realised she was saying Tickle Tickle.

When Bonnie arrived she was typically quiet and didn’t say anything.
Now she is comfortable here, she is quite the little chatterbox and has added

Mum mum
Dad dad
Nana
Up
Out
Hello
Moo (because of the cows at the farm)
Ta and
Bub Bub to her vocabulary.

This age is so exciting. Watching her learn and try new words and sounds.
Not knowing how long her stay with us will be is hard.
So, we’re enjoying the giggles when we do “round and round the garden” and “this little piggy” with her, watching her play with little Raj and play “tiggle tiggle” with his little feet, and watching her learn new things.

Such a joyful little lady to have in our home. Truly a blessing.

 

 

An open letter to an abusive parent

Dear parent,

Why?
Why is it that you beat your own child?
Why is it that you think that behaviour is ok?
Why do you not accept responsibility for your actions?
How can you blame the children? They were too noisy. They were too mouthy. They were too messy. They didn’t do their chores. Or any other excuse you have for not taking responsibility for your actions and being the bigger person.

Do you know that the scars you leave on your children go much further than just the bruises on their bodies?

Do you know the emotional and psychological damage you do to them will last long after the bruises are gone and the bones have mended?

If you knew what we know about the trauma you are putting your child through in your ‘punishment’ of them, would you still do it?

I doubt I will ever understand how or why you do this to your own children. I can only guess that you have problems that you need help with, so please get that help. When you see your children looking at you in fear, ask yourself why do they do that? What can you and should you be doing differently.

Parenting can be a tough gig, so ask for help. There is help out there, you just need to ask. If you really can’t cope, place your children in foster care, put them up for adoption. There are people out there who will love them and give them the life they deserve. Give them an opportunity to heal, to be loved, to be all that they can be. Give them an opportunity to know a life without pain and without fear.

Please don’t threaten to send your children to foster care when they misbehave. We are not a punishment for THEIR behaviour, we are here to protect them from YOUR behaviour.

I would love to live in a world where it wasn’t necessary for there to be foster carers. I would love to live in a world where children are safe from harm. Where children are safe from the very people that are supposed to be the ones there to protect them but are instead the people they fear the most.

Please, before you raise your hand to your child, remember you are the adult.  You are supposed to be their protector. You are supposed to love them and guide them through life, not beat them into submission.

Please, before you do something that can’t be mended with plaster casts, or bandages, or years of therapy, get help.
Do it for your children.
They can’t ask you, so I will.
Please get help.

 

 

 

 

Another big week

Now it’s time to breathe.
I thought it was last week, but again we had another big week.
MM home from work and more than a little bored at being housebound.
David had his last week of school and in that time we had to find out about what was going on with his case so we could prepare him.
Bonnie has been gorgeous…thankfully.
And, I got sick on the weekend. Tag MM…you’re it, you have to look after me now!

David’s behaviour never settled right back down after Clyde left. It did a little bit, but, not fully. He was fine at school….but oh! When he came home. It was almost like he was trying sooooo hard to keep it together at school that he just didn’t have any more effort left for good behaviour when he got home. He was mostly not following instructions, answering back and being a real smart mouth.

We have been trying to prepare David for the fact that he probably won’t be going home to live with mum on Christmas Eve like she has told him and that the possible upcoming move to his Aunt’s house is probably going to be a lot longer than just a couple of weeks. It’s been a long week talking with him, drip feeding him information, letting him ask questions and then dealing with him arguing with us, calling us liars, and stomping around the place.

We survived the week and the weekend…thanks to MM for taking over and taking care of the children and me…and Monday brought moving day for David. What should have been a lovely morning was full of stress. David again not following instructions and having his attitude in full force was calmed down once the car was packed and we had some time to kill before going to the office. The drive to the office was lovely. We had a nice chat and David was back to his bubbly self, ready for his next adventure.

So, now it’s time to breathe.

Time to breathe

It’s been such a huge week since Bonnie and Clyde arrived.

Saturday we went to our agencies Christmas picnic. What a lovely day. Caught up with other carers from our agency, past children that we have cared for and watched the kids have a ball. All while poor MM wasn’t feeling 100 %.

Sunday bought a trip to the doctor for my four babies…David, Bonnie, Clyde and MM! 3 kids with colds, even though little Bonnie had been vomiting Saturday whenever she coughed, the doc said she was fine. MM was given a referral to go and have an ultrasound done for his ouchie bit. Good, because the doctor he saw the week before just prescribed antibiotics without examining him!

The week found Clyde’s tantrums triggering behaviours in David that we weren’t happy with and keeping poor little Bonnie awake and a difficult decision to be made. We chose to only have him for the one week placement we had agreed to. Bonnie is no problems, so we said she was welcome to stay as long as needed, but with Clyde causing so much stress in the house, he needed a new placement. David has come along so far I just his 3 weeks with us that we didn’t want to jeopardise that at this stage.

Then came Thursday. MM hadn’t been well during the night, but in true ‘tough bloke’ style wouldn’t have me call the doctor during the night and insisted on going to work in the morning. 9 am and he was sent home from work by the boss, and within an hour we were on our way to the emergency department.

Thursday night he had to move hospitals, so, I loaded all the kiddies in the car, we went and picked him up and drove him to the new hospital for possible surgery. Friday and we did the school drop off in the morning and then the two little kiddies had access with mum, Clyde then moved to his new placement and then off to the hospital with Bonnie to visit MM. We weren’t there long and they came to get him for his surgery.

Multiple phone calls to the hospital in the afternoon to see if he was out of surgery yet and eventually, yes he was, so David, Bonnie and I went in for a short visit. It was so good to see MM doing so well post surgery. I mean, amazingly well. He met us at the elevator so he could show us to his room. I couldn’t believe he was walking around so well already.

Saturday and Kelly arrived for respite just in time for us to go and collect MM from the hospital.

It’s so lovely to have MM home. I hardly  slept the first night he was in hospital and while I feel exhausted at the moment, I love having him home with us. The poor thing can’t even lift little Bonnie, and he’s going to go stir crazy not at work, but, he’s home and seems better already.

What a week. As if the lead up to Christmas wasn’t hectic enough we’ve had a few extra little challenges. Hopefully the rest of the month is a little smoother.

And then there were three

I spoke to soon.
I chatted with David over breakfast on Friday morning to see how he would feel about us taking in a little person (a baby was my thinking) while he stays with us. Someone else who needs a safe place to stay for a while.

Surprisingly he seemed really keen about the idea. “Awesome” I thought, I’ll chat with the agency next week and let them know. Little did I know!

Later in the afternoon the phone rang, with a placement.

A little boy, 3.5 years, and his sister 14 months.

The third little sibling is just 3 months old and they had already placed her within the agency. Could we please take Clyde, the little boy for a week and Bonnie his sister overnight as they had someone who was willing to take her but only from Saturday.

A quick chat to MM on the phone and we would take both for the week.

Imagine David’s surprise when I picked him up from school and let him know later in the afternoon we were going to have not one but 2 new additions.

So, now we have a full house.

Well, our full quota of children we are registered to care for. I have no idea what will happen if Bonnie and Clyde haven’t moved on before the week is out and Kelly is due back for respite.

Actually I know what might happen. An exceed will be applied for, probably granted, and we will have 4 children next weekend. Then our new family car won’t be big enough…should have given more thought to the mini -van!

Sweet Tooth

We’ve all heard the expression but our little man David thinks he literally has a sweet tooth. 4 to be precise.

We were eating ice cream last night and he said that he has 4 sweet teeth.

We tried to explain that it just means you like sweet food but he was adamant he really has sweet teeth.

We kept chatting and asked what he meant by sweet teeth and it seems he has 4 teeth that feel funny when he eats sweet things.

I think David has a trip to the dentist coming up.