Harry Happiness

A week on from saying goodbye to our little man Harry and finally 2 nights of sleeping through and not waking to feed my imaginary baby, I find myself sitting on the couch thinking about the lovely little boy who blessed our home with his presence.

Things we will always think of when we think of Harry.

His big gummy grin. Will I ever get tired of those baby grins? Harry’s was so good to see as he came to us and his bottom lip used to quiver almost non-stop. We found it was something he does when stressed, so to lose that and have it replaced with big grins will always mean the world to us.

His little chuckle when getting tickles. Sometimes he would start giggling just when he new he was going to get tickles. There’s no sound as beautiful as a baby’s little laugh and even more so from a baby that has come to us from a traumatic start in life. To see the healing and hear that sound is truly music to the ears.

My dad singing. Dad doesn’t sing, (and for good reason), but Harry had him singing to him almost every time we went to visit. Little Harry had Pa around his little chubby finger with Kangaroo rides (not Horsey rides) and singing him “my boomerang won’t come back”. Dad’s way of supporting us with our indigenous baby.

His sleep transformation. In 3 short months Harry went from having to fall asleep in my arms and having the bassinet right by my bed so I could sleep with one arm in there in contact with him, to being wrapped and placed awake in his cot in our room where he would fall asleep and sleep for 7 or 8 hours before needing a feed and then going back to sleep for another 4 hours.

Snuggles. Our little snuggle bunny. Harry did love a snuggle and was happy to just be in our arms where ever we were. Regardless of when we tried to eat dinner Harry would want a snuggle. We tried dinner at all different times around Harry’s schedule, but he would always wake up and want to just sit on my lap being part of the family at meal time.

I think back and those colic nights seem a distant memory, and definitely not the first thing I remember when I think of Harry. There are too many happy memories, that those difficult times don’t even pop up.
Wishing our little man the happiest of lives with his forever family. His new mummy and daddy and his 3 big sisters. One little man set to be snuggled all he wants with so many big sisters.

Advertisements

Oh Happy Day.

Who’s a happy girl?
Well, Jade is, but so am I, and MM is just as happy.

Why?

Well, we caught up with Jade and her new family for her birthday.

What an amazing experience.

Jade at first looked at MM and I,and you could see the cogs in her brain working overtime trying to work us out. You could see that she was trying to work out where she knew us from. It’s been 7 weeks since we’ve seen her royal cuteness. It didn’t take long and we were getting a few little smiles, and once she was out of her stroller, I asked if she wanted to come for a cuddle.

The little chubby arms reached out for me and my heart melted.

Jade was happy to have cuddles with both MM and I, but we never got the flappy arm wave. But, NM (new mum) did. She was out of sight for a few minutes and when she reappeared Jade gave her the big grin and flappy arm treatment. It was both awesome and a little sad at the same time. Sad because that was how she always reacted to us, but happy to see that excitement has been turned to her new family.

While we were at the barbeque, Jade was so cute with little Harry. I was sitting on the ground holding him while she played and she crawled over….yes our little bubba can crawl and has 2 little teeth poking through… to come and sit on my other leg and look at Harry. Then she wanted to touch Harry, and then, to share her toys with him. She had a toy biscuit in her picnic basket, and you could have knocked me over when she took Harry’s dummy out of his mouth, and instead of putting it in her mouth, as I was expecting, she tried to feed him her toy biscuit. What a little sweetie!

It was so lovely to have this time with her and her family. I thought they may have invited other family or friends as well, but it was just us. They really are so thoughtful and sweet.

It was a magical day.

The Baby Diaries Part 16

The last 2 weeks have been busy. Last week a lady kept coming to visit me. She’s nice, we play, she fed me and the milk lady gets her to give me a bath, which is great because I LOVE the bath. This week I’ve been going to visit the lady at her house. I still get my bath from her, yeah! and we play. And guess what?! My brother is there. I love to watch him playing and it’s nice to get to see him not in some boring stuffy office building. There are nice toys and yummy food at this lady’s house and even some of my things are there too.

I’ve had a party at home with the milk man and lady. Lots of my favourite people came to visit me and give me cuddles. I even got some presents and it’s not even my birthday yet. They said they were farewell presents. I’m not sure what they are, but, it can’t be bad because I got some great things.

The milk lady has been extra snuggly this week and sometimes she has a little cry when she’s cuddling me. I’m not sure what that’s about, maybe she’s tired because of little Harry keeping her awake. I like little Harry. I like to pat him and share his blanket when I’m tired.

Today the milk lady and man packed lots of my things in the car including all my new presents. I put on a pretty outfit and we went out to visit the new lady. Milk lady did a lot of crying, milk man even got teary and so did the new lady.

The milk lady tells me this is my forever home. That I get to live with my brother now. With the new lady and man and their daughter. I think I’m going to like it here. They are nice people and they love to snuggle with me, just like the milk man and lady. So, it’s good bye from me. I’ve had lots of fun with the milk lady and man but now I have to go and make more people smile with my cuteness and play with my brother.

Better than expected

The big day was here, it was time for “Scarlett” to go.

Thank goodness it got moved earlier, and I don’t just mean moved forward a couple of days, I mean the actual time on the day itself.

We had been busy packing the day before. Checking and double checking all the rooms to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything so that when the big day came, all “Scarlett” had left to pack was her toiletries (she slept the night in a pair of PJ’s we keep on hand for emergencies) and then we just had to wait for the hours to tick by.

Tick tock.tick tock.

I can’t remember how many games of Monopoly deal we played that morning (the card game version of monopoly, takes only 10 – 20 minutes per game).

Mid-morning the phone rang and it was her social worker confirming that we had all the details and to let me know that no-one from the department would be there for the hand over and could I please get her there an extra half hour earlier so that they could have lunch together before getting on their flight.

Ok, small panic attack on my behalf. I know I was handing “Scarlett” to her father, a man she knows, but it just didn’t seem right that no-one official would be there. How was he going to react to me. I’d not had any contact with him. I didn’t know how he felt about his daughter being in care. I didn’t know how he felt about the process taking so long to go through for her to move to him and here I was about to be the only person there.

I did the only thing I could do. Call MM. My knight in shining armour and beg for him to get off work for a couple of hours to come with us. I know, what was I thinking? Of course he can’t do that, but he did tell me to call our agency. Of course! They are awesome, and while I know that no-one could come with me, they would have all the comforting words I needed to hear. And they did. My Support worker was out doing a home visit, so I explained my predicament to the lovely lady that handles the phone and she put me straight on to another support worker who knows me. Yes, it would be ok. Yes this happens with re-unifications. Yes you can do this and then call me after to let me know how it went.

So, off we went, we left extra early to allow time for  the weather being poor and to allow time for road works and to find a park. We got there in good time and there was Dad. Sitting in the check in area waiting and watching.

I have never seen such a big smile. There is one man truly happy to have his daughter come and live with him. He even had gone to the trouble of buying me a big bunch of flowers for looking after “Scarlett”.

It went so much better t than I expected. We had a little chat and I am happy to report he has even got her booked in for therapy.

Another happy ending for one of our babies.

I almost made it

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.

It was a long week. It was a short week.

It was a happy week. It was a sad week.

It was a week for new beginnings and a week for goodbyes.

What a roller coaster week.

Tuesday we went and met with M at a take-away outlet with a playground. M brought one of her nieces with her to meet “Kylie” and the girls hit it off straight away. It was a great first meeting although you could see “Kylie” wasn’t entirely sure what it all meant. We’d talked about it the night before but it was a little overwhelming. M wanted to take her home for an afternoon together but I thought it was better to take “Kylie” home for some quiet time (she was all hyped up on sugar and from playing with the other little girl) so she could start to process what was going on.

I may have had leaky eyes at dinner that night as it was becoming a reality for us as well that it was getting closer for “Kylie” to leave.

Wednesday was a nice quiet day at home. We spent a little bit of time talking about her move and started packing a few of her things up. Over dinner we talked as a family a bit more about her move. Asking if she  had any questions and asking if she understood that this isn’t a holiday, but her new ‘forever’ home.

Thursday we packed a few more things and chatted about what we were going to take to M’s house the next day.

Friday arrived and once baby “Jade” was collected to go to access we set off with my little boot packed. We weren’t at M’s for long before I could tell “Kylie” was fine for me to go, so I left to have a couple of quiet hours for myself.

“Kylie” had a great time with M. It was great to hear about all the activities they did together. M commented to me that “Kylie” sometimes said she was going to visit and sometimes forever, that you could see she was struggling to get her head around the upcoming events. On the way home from her visit she was all bubbles, right up until she asked “How long am I going to stay with M?” A valid question. The poor little girl (from what I can pick up from her) had been in a group home, reunified with mum and dad, back into a group home, then with and Aunt and Uncle and then to us. All within the last 8 months. No wonder she wanted to know how long the next one was for. I reminded her that we had talked about it at dinner and she gets to live with M for as long as she wants. Until she’s finished at University, gets her own home, however long she wants. We then had something not before seen from “Kylie”….silence.

Friday night was her favourite dinner, Spaghetti Bolognese with Lemon Pudding for dessert with a chat about the next 2 days to come.

Saturday was a day at the farm to say good bye to Nanna and Pa and then out to dinner at a restaurant.

Sunday, moving day.

“Kylie” slept in Sunday morning, and got dressed but didn’t seem to realise it was the big day. She asked me to buy her more orange juice as we ran out and if she could watch a movie on TV in the evening. We had a nice slow morning getting packed and going out for lunch at her favourite take away place before heading down to M’s.

It was a lovely last morning, and she quickly settled into her new home while we had a coffee and chat with M. I had made a start on a life story book for her which we had gift wrapped and presented to her before we left. She was so happy with all the photos and little messages I had written in there, she quickly ran off with it to her new room. We got the biggest hugs as we were leaving and that was my undoing, the tears started as we were walking out the front door. I almost made it.

I know “Kylie” will be fine. More than fine. We couldn’t be happier with the placement, it’s so perfect for her. We’ve had a couple of text messages this evening.  A photo of her this afternoon and a little video as well. She’s had a great first day and it’s nice to be not quite forgotten yet.

It’s so quiet in the house without the girl with the infectious laugh. No story time tonight. No kids movie….imagine that, watching an M rated movie for the first time in over a month.

All I can say is thank you to MM who has held my hand and reminded me that this is the perfect place for “Kylie” and that when we are ready there will be another little person waiting for us to share our home with them for a while, and in the meantime, the gorgeous little “Jade” can have all the snuggles I need to give.

It’s time to go…..

Dramatic pause for effect like on the reality shows……..
“Kylie”

The call came yesterday. A long term placement has been found for “Kylie”. It’s really such great news. The new carer is a school teacher, perfect for her inquisitive little mind. She will be an only child, perfect for getting to know each other and feeding that mind some more so she can catch up on her schooling. The new carer is in the same agency as us, so we get to see “Kylie” at agency functions. It sounds perfect, it really does. And somewhere deep inside I know it, and I’m so happy.

But still I keep crying.

Damn this is hard work!!!

The plan put to me yesterday is to get this moving FAST. Meet and greet today and a couple more this week and move “Kylie” on Saturday to her new home.
What!!!!
Whoa!!!

We’ve had fast transitions before, but it’s been because the children were going to relatives they already knew. But to a stranger?

On Saturday?

When do we get to say goodbye? What about my family?

So…..I put forth the following suggestion.

Meet and greet today. Day off tomorrow. Thursday we go to see new carer at her home for a while. Friday I drop her there for a few hours. Saturday is our day. We’ll go say goodbye to my family, we’ll go out for dinner to celebrate the exciting new chapter in her story. We’ll pack up her stuff and hang out together.

Sunday is moving day. Then I’ve got MM home to support me because, let’s be honest, I’m going to be a wreck. I know it. It’s the way I roll. MM even said last night when I was having a cry that it’s one of the things he loves about me. That I love the children and am so passionate about their well being.

I’ve gotten permission for “Kelly” and “Kylie” to stay in touch with play dates, phone calls and as pen pals. I think it’s so important for both the girls to continue to have contact as they’ve been like sisters.

It’s all happening so quickly, it’s like a blur.

Is there anything else we should be doing?

Finally, an answer

How many social workers does it take to approve a sleepover?

If it wasn’t so annoying it would sound like a joke wouldn’t it?

Here’s the funny part. Foster Dad can approve without permission from the department for “Kelly” to have friends over for a sleepover, or for her to go to a sleepover. As her respite carer I have had a battle and a half to get permission for her to have a friend over.

How much of a battle? you ask.

Well…..it’s taken 17 months, 3 social workers, 3 support workers and 1 supervisor to get approval for this.

In the end, the supervisor said we just had to have permission from foster dad and then we have to let them know when it’s taking place.

Seriously. How hard was that?

Once the supervisor chimed in, we had an answer within 48 hours!

Can’t wait to tell “Kelly” next time she is here for respite and to start planning her sleepover.

I see a trip to the movies, shopping, nail painting and if it’s before Christmas maybe card making or present making.

So excited and frustrated at the same time.

Frustrated that it’s taken sooooooooooooo long to get to this point.

Excited because we’re FINALLY at this point!

 

 

Festival Fiasco

How much notice do you need to give someone to have them be prepared?

2 days? 2 weeks? 2 months?

Apparently none of the above.

I sent home information to “Kelly’s” dad that we would be taking her to the theatre for a music festival. Nice clothes would be required.

Imagine my surprise when she showed up with her nice clothes of purple jeans, green t-shirt and sneakers.

What the…!?!

I was so frustrated. I had sent home information to dad 2 months before the event. I’d talked to “Kelly” on our way to dropping her off the previous respite weekend. I’d even gotten her to write it in her respite notebook about a month before.

I got frustrated because this isn’t the first time she’s come with inappropriate clothes.

Like the thick fleecy pj’s in summer, the long sleeved shirts for going to a picnic in summer, only having her school shoes for the weekend, having no jacket in the middle of winter, the onesie pyjamas that were about 2 sizes too small, and that’s the times that spring to mind.

As respite carers it’s a bit unclear how much we are supposed to supply for “Kelly” over the weekend but I’m sure it’s not supposed to be her clothes. Over the last two years I’ve bought bits and pieces for her, which stay here so I know we have some things for her.

I rummaged around and found a nice skirt and embroidered top and a pair of cute ballet flats for her. We tried to do something with her hair and to try and keep it under control I used some hairspray and  I offered her some lip gloss to complete her outfit.

One young lady all ready for an afternoon at the theatre.

MM joined us later and was so good at telling us how lovely we both looked.

I  have come to realise that my idea of nice clothes and “Kelly’s” dads are probably different. Maybe he’s never been to the theatre and doesn’t know jeans aren’t ok. Maybe I needed to be more specific. Maybe I should have sent him a reminder message the day before.

Whatever the reason, I was able to work something out without having to go and buy her a whole new outfit and I’ve learned to be more specific with information that I send home.

 

Where are the girls?

I was doing a stint at the school Thelma and Louise went to and bumped into the principal, who I knew from the previous school they were at and couldn’t help myself. I had to ask about the girls.

Were they now living with Grandma interstate?

No. They were interstate, but a different one, with their Dad.

Yah!! They wanted to live with him and he had rung quite a few times in the few days they were with us to check on them and even put credit on “Thelma’s” phone so that she could call him whenever she wanted to.

We had a little chat about them and how quickly the move happened for them.

It was so nice to get an update. I am certainly blessed to have had so many updates on our emergency placement babies.

Happy to hear the girls are safe and where they wanted to be.

Another happy ending.

Vanessa Williams said….

“It’s not the way I hoped or how I planned
But somehow it’s enough”

I know it is from a love song, but those lyrics resonated with me on the way to the farm yesterday.

In the back seat of my car, there was a small child, napping in one of the two car seats in the back.

My car, the car I bought after I thought I would never have children, a small, 3 door hatchback, perfect for zipping around for work, was now the place for small people to nap.

I always thought I would have children, biological ones, but somehow, despite giving up on that dream, my car is constantly occupied by little people these days.

Is it how I hoped? No

Is it how I planned? Certainly not.

Is it enough? Yes. Strangely it is.

Thank you little “Amber” for coming into our lives and stealing my heart in the few days you were with us. You made me realise that what we are doing is special and important. Not just in sharing our home with you, and keeping you safe, but, you fill a part of my heart that I always thought would be empty.