Visiting Raj

What a lovely afternoon we had last week.
We went out to lunch with the not so little Raj and his beautiful new parents.
So much love in one room.
Boy has Raj gotten big in the last three months.
My lap was a little bit happy when I handed him over to MM, I think my leg was going numb. But, that said he is so round and squishy and snuggly, it was just lovely having a cuddle with him, even though he had absolutely no idea who we were.

It was lovely to hear that they have followed the routine we had him in and that it’s working a treat for them. They are still wrapping him for sleep, but he has grown so much they need to use a cot sheet….had a big giggle over that. Raj was only waking once a night for a feed when he was here, and is doing the same for them, and sometimes sleeping through the night, so they are super happy with that.

We have received a photo every month on his ‘birthday’ and the occasional phone call and chat. It’s probably he hardest part for us, not knowing how much we can/should message them. We don’t want to be a pest but at the same time we don’t want to not appear interested. So we wait patiently for the next month photo to come along and then have a catch up chat.

They are just so happy together. Raj is  happy and content and both of his parents just glow with the love they have for their little man and are already talking about a second.

It has been such a blessing to be able to care for this special little man while waiting for the process to do it’s thing and it’s even more of a blessing to still be able to be a part of his life with this lovely couple.

The greatest gift

“The greatest gift you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return”.

That really sums up foster care in a sentence.

It is the greatest gift we can give the children that come into our home, the love that they deserve and the greatest gift they give us, is their love in return.

While I sit with tears in my eyes because another baby has left our home, and left me broken hearted because I will miss that gorgeous little gummy grin, the little baby babble, and the cute little chuckle, I know that those tears are because I have given that little person the love they needed to start off their life in a safe, happy and loving home.

While I sit with tears in my eyes because that baby has gone on to their forever family, I know that they know how to be loved and how to love. Every time we walked into the room or peered into the cot in the morning and that little face would light up with a great big smile is proof that they will love their new parents and bring them as much joy as they did us.

I have people comment that they don’t know how we do it, and to be honest, there are times when I am crying my eyes out that I wonder how and why we do it. Then I look at a photo of one of the babies we have cared for, and see the smile and know that they are smiling because while they are with us they know they are safe and loved and that that is why we do it.

The joy and happiness that these precious little people bring to our home far outweighs the grief that we feel when they leave.

So, for another day I sit and grieve for the precious little man I will no longer have cuddles with, yet at the same time happy knowing he has gone to a beautiful couple who have been waiting for years for a baby.

For another day I sit and remember the smiles and giggles with tears in my eyes that now another woman will be blessed with those smiles and giggles.

For another day I wait for another little person to come into our home. Another little person to give our greatest gift of all to. The gift of love.

 

 

What do you see?

big grin

What do you see when you see this smile?

Do you see a child that came into this world in a home of domestic violence?

Do  you see a child born testing positive to different narcotics?

Do you see a child happy with life?

Do you see a child that looks loved and cared for?

What do you see?

I see our darling Jade’s big gummy smile that made people stop and talk to her in the shopping centre.

I see a beautiful little girl who has known nothing but love in our home and is happy and content…but, that’s just me.

I see that beautfil smile every time I look at my phone as that picture is my screen saver and it brings a smile to my face.

MM uses that photo whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed as a mum with our little Harry and his colic. His crying breaks my heart and knowing that I’m doing everything I can for him and still he cries. MM reminds me with that photo that together we make happy, healthy babies and this time will pass and Harry will go back to being his normal happy baby self and in no time he too will be giving us big gummy grins.

I see that photo and forget that Jade had such a hard start in life.

I see that photo and smile with a tear in my eye.
How can one little girl be so darn cute?
How can we love her so much, even though she isn’t our biological child?
How can one little person make such a huge impact on so many people with that gorgeous smile?

I see that photo and think how lucky we were to be blessed with her in our home.

What do you see?

I keep waiting

And waiting for the day to come when someone asks me to stop bringing bubs to work.

First it was Jade when she was tiny and now it’s Harry.

After Jade started getting more vocal and restless during rehearsals it was time for day care, but while she was little like Harry is now, she came to school with me.

I wait for someone to ask me not bring them, but it doesn’t happen.

Today when I went to school I was stopped twice on my way to rehearsal with Harry.

Twice stopped so people could look at him and goo and gaa over him.

Twice people told me how lucky he is to have us.

Twice I expected the “please don’t” comment and got the opposite.

In fact, the first lady to stop me runs the Children’s Centre at the school. A centre where they support parents with advice and classes and a playgroup. Harry and I were invited to come on Wednesdays for baby massage sessions. Amazing right?

Like so many other people, she told me what an amazing thing we are doing for the children and I just replied with “I’m actually selfish. I can’t have children so I’m doing this for me”.

Her reply “What you are doing is anything but selfish. It’s selfless.”

Feeling so blessed.

The support from so many people is awesome, but the support from total strangers is the greatest gift of all.

What a day

Some days are hard because it hurts so much not having Jade here with us.

Some days are hard because I have to wash and pack away her things.

Sometimes it feels like a death in the family, even though our little poppet is just an hour down the road. But for it only being an hour sometimes it feels like she might as well be one light year away.

The first week was so difficult. Packing away her things and wanting so desperately to call and see how she was going.

The first morning over breakfast I was in tears asking MM if he thought she had slept ok. He said to message and ask, but I don’t want to pester them every time I think about her and wonder how she’s going. I’m pretty sure the amount of text messages would be close to stalker quota.

So we waited and waited to hear.

By Thursday of the first week I was starting to think we wouldn’t ever hear. We hadn’t heard from the social worker either. And then I came home from work. There on the answering machine was a message from the social workers supervisor telling me that Jade was doing well, was settling in nicely and she thanked me for making the transition go so smoothly for her. Wow! Not bad seeing as only a few short weeks earlier they basically told me they didn’t think I would be able to transition her because I was emotional. Emotional!? really? You’re taking away ‘my baby’ and you think I shouldn’t be emotional about that?! But, that’s why her thanking me and telling me what a great job we had done was so important.

Later in the afternoon we were scheduled to go and see some photos of Jade that I had had taken. Our plan was to buy one nice photo and have it framed for her first birthday. Well, that plan went out the window because…..later in the afternoon it came.

Finally.

A message from New Mum.

Jade was doing well, and she raved about how she is such a beautiful happy baby. How she spends her time laughing at her brother and he spends his time trying to make her laugh more. She sent me a gorgeous photo of Jade posing in the bath. And better……she wants us to have a play date in a few weeks. Right before Jade’s birthday. Yah!!!

So we went in to look at the photos after receiving these messages. As in, we were driving there as the messages came in. Well, as soon as they laid out all these beautiful pictures of our little poppet I teared up. No, that’s a lie, I started crying. MM teared up. There went our plan to get just one picture. We then wanted a couple for us and one for my parents and a couple for Jade and next thing you know we’ve spent $400 on a child and we don’t even have the child.

There are so many children in care that have no photos of themselves as babies it must be so hard for them. But little Jade is going to have a beautiful keepsake of herself as a baby. Hopefully something she can treasure and know how much she was loved by us.

Florence Nightingale

Tuesday was the big day.

Harry had to get his first round of immunisations.

I’m surprised they took us in. No medicare card, no verification of a child in care card, no baby blue health and development folder that is given when a child is born. Nothing but a baby and a lady wanting to get him immunised.

The medical centre were fantastic. I showed them my foster carer ID card and was able to provide Harry’s full name and date of birth and they did the rest. I left with a number to call to get a new blue book for him and they even found out his medicare number, which I have now given to his social worker who thought I was amazing in getting it when she hasn’t.

Nurse Nightingale was the most fantastic.

I am always concerned that I’m doing something wrong with our children…self doubt, don’t you love it! So, I like to be able to get a professionals opinion. Well, it seems Harry is doing just fine. We talked about his snack feeding, from co-sleeping with tummy mummy and getting milk on call and about foster care and Jade came up in conversation as well.

It was from my point of view a great appointment. Imagine my surprise the next morning when the nurse called me.

I can tell you I started worrying. Was there something wrong? Did I leave something there? What a I not doing right for this little man?

None of the above.

Nurse Nightingale told me that as Harry is aboriginal I should make contact with an aboriginal health worker. Someone that can help me with any specific needs Harry might have. She even said that there might be extra help or support available for us while we care for Harry. Fantastic!

And if that wasn’t enough, someone had just dropped in about 6 weeks worth of formula to give away, and, well, she thought that as foster carers we might like it for Harry! Would we! Wow!!!

I called MM in tears and tried to explain what had just happened.

Since Harry has arrived we have had 4 bags of ‘hand-me-down’ clothes arrive from different people with instructions of, “Keep what you want and donate the rest to charity”. We are constantly blown away by people’s generosity. MM explains it as “people can’t all do what we do in foster care, but they want to help in anyway they can, so if they can support us, they have helped make a difference in this child’s life”. MM, my man of wise words.

To Nurse Nightingale, thank you for the extra help and advice. Your “job” stopped after you had checked out Harry and immunised him, but, you thought about us in your own time and called me with help and suggestions. Thank you.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I thought when I started on this adventure as a single girl, that I was in this by myself with my parents support, but I couldn’t be more wrong. Family, friends and strangers all help us where they can and it makes me so happy to be surrounded by such amazing people. To all of you, a big heart felt thanks for your kindness, generosity and support to both us and the children.

10 things we love about Jade

In no particular order here are 10 things we love about Jade and will miss ever so much.

  1. The big gummy grin greeting you in the morning when it’s time to get up and when you walk in the room.
  2. The was she licked everything before eating it to see if she liked it, this includes her blocks, bath toys, and basically anything she could get her hands on.
  3. The way she flaps her arms in ‘thunderbird’ style when she is excited about something. From us walking back into the room she is in, to listening to her favourite music.
  4. The way she claps her hands when at work with me while watching the students sing and dance. Rehearsals won’t be the same without her and her infectious smile and bounciness.
  5. The way she runs around in her ’roundabout toy’. It’s a play table with a seat attached that she can sit in and walk around the different activities. But, she liked to run around it and loved to play chasey around her table.
  6. Her Sheldon Cooper laugh when she started laughing.If you’ve seen The Big Bang Theory, you know the laugh. It was so funny to hear it from her. As she got older we got a real chuckle, and there is no better sound than her little laugh.
  7. The way she slapped me in the face before calling me Mama for the first time.
  8. How when she was tired she would pull any available fabric over her face. Her blankie, my shirt, anything she could use.
  9. Bath time. Jade’s love of the water, the splashing and kicking in the water.
  10. Her love of animals and spending time at the farm. So much so that getting her to nap at the farm was next to impossible. Just too many things to do, and one of her favourite, Papa’s horsie rides.
  11. The beautiful little girl who travelled over 2000 kms with us with almost no complaints. Such a beautiful happy baby.
  12. The was she loved a snuggle. Even the nights when she had me up because she wasn’t feeling well and all she wanted was a snuggle in mums arms.

    I said 10 things didn’t I?
    Oops. Well, I did stop at 12, I should get some credit for that.

Jade, you are loved and special and missed. The house is so quiet without your chatter and laughter.
Miss you.
Love you, to the moon and back.

What can I say?

We are truly blessed to have so many people who don’t just care about us, but also our special children. But now, oddly, I have to add NM (new mum) to the list of lovely people.

I wish I could say she is horrible, but she is anything but.

This morning she is coming for another visit with Jade, and she sent me a text to tell me they were running late.

I replied with a thank you and please let me know when you are on your way as a blue bundle of cuteness is arriving this afternoon and I need to hit the shops before he arrives.

Her reply, copied straight from her message:

“Congratulations, I know this has been very hard on you and your hubby and I hope having a new little bubba to love will help you with this transition. You are both very special people doing what you are doing with all these beautiful children”

NM seems to understand what we are going through and is sensitive to that. That means a lot to me. She really does seem like such a lovely lady, how can I be sad that Jade is going to such lovely people?

What more can I say? We really are so blessed.

What more can I say?

Enter Eddie

In all the emotion commotion of the last few weeks I haven’t shared a real highlight.

Eddie.

The day our world felt like it imploded we were to go interstate to visit MM’s new grandson. Enter Eddie. What a little cutie.

We had a lovely weekend away with Jade visiting MMs girls and their girls and now a boy.

It would be a massive understatement to just say MM is happy about a little boy. He is so over the moon that our next foster baby has to be another girl. Why? Because Eddie is special and for a while MM wants him to be the only little man in the family. How can I argue with that?

We had 2 lovely visits with “Ellen and Portia” and their two little ones, Marilyn and Eddie. I’m not sure if my highlight of the visits was watching MM play a frozen game with Marilyn, where he got to be Anna, or cuddles with little Eddie or just being made to feel so welcome.

Next we went to visit Missy, Mac and little Kourtney. Kourtney just loved playing with baby which was so cute because she has only just turned 2. We had a wonderful time there and I can only have one highlight. It must be when Missy asked me to choose a title to be called by Kourtney. I can’t be nana because that’s taken but I need a name like that. So, after tears from me….an overwhelming experience to be so welcomed into their family, and after a late night whisper chat with MM we came up with an option. I am now Nanny.

Our weekend away was so perfectly timed. It was a great way to put all the drama at home behind us and just enjoy our time away and relax.

Thank you to Ellen, Portia, Missy and Mac for sharing your gorgeous families with me.

Thank you MM for being so supportive of me on our fostering journey but also sharing your beautiful family with me and now having me blessed with the Nanny title.

What more could a girl ask for?

The journey so far

7 months ago today a small pink bundle arrived on our doorstep.

“Jade” or Squeaky, as she is affectionately called by us for her little kitten like squeaks.

When she arrived, it was just for 9 days of respite. Her emergency carers had already planned a holiday and couldn’t take her royal cuteness with them, then, after she had been with us a whole 24 hours we were asked if we could continue caring for her until she was reunified with her tummy mummy.

Reunification was going well, and she should be moving back with mum late March to early April, giving the department a few months to support TM before the court order was up.

Everything was going well until the new year. Something has happened, I don’t know what exactly, but access with mum has been cut back to only 2 90 minute visits per week.

Today I find out that on Thursday this week there will be a meeting between “Jade’s” social worker and her supervisor to discuss the case as “Jade’s” brothers court order is up in under 2 months and between now and then they need to decide what direction the case is going to go in.

Has TM made enough progress in the last year to give them reason to apply for another 12 month court order?

Or do they apply for what is known here as a GOM18 order, meaning the children will be placed in long term care until they age out at 18.

If they are placed on a GOM18 order the department then look to family and friends of TM to see if there is anyone suitable and able to care for BOTH children.

If there isn’t anyone suitable, the department will then look to the list of foster carers in the state to see if there are any carers wanting to take in both of the children.

Then, there’s us. While we aren’t presently registered for long term care, it’s just a form to be filled out.

So, our little 9 day placement, has now been here 7 months, and now we are waiting to hear if we might be considered for the honour of caring for her royal cuteness “Jade”, for the rest of her life.

What a journey so far!