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.

 

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Demons I never knew I had

We had our annual foster care review this week.
I think it went well.
What’s strange is we don’t get a ‘report’ of how we are going. It’s more to review how we feel things are going, our highlights and challenges, and where we are going in the future. So, of course the Dear Santa issue was raised. I thought I was good, until the tears started. “Angel” and MM were both just expressing their concerns about the emotional challenges of saying goodbye to a little baby. When I could eventually speak, MM very nicely stepped out the room and left me with “Angel”. I think they both thought the tears were me getting upset in advance of a placement (Ok, I’m a sook but I’m not that bad!). I was able to tell “Angel” that the tears weren’t about that, but rather, I feel that them expressing their concerns is actually them telling me no, in a roundabout way.

Upon reflecting, it seems all those many people that have been in my life before now that have told me “No” I can’t have a baby their voices all combined and I thought that’s what my two special people were telling me. So, who’s told me no baby?
Well, there was ex no.1 “get pregnant and I’ll divorce you”.
Then no.2 told me if I couldn’t have a baby naturally, we weren’t going to have any…made that wonderful announcement on the way to the IVF clinic for our first appointment.
There was IVF Doctor number 2 who told me “If you were my sister I’d tell you to get another dream”
Doctor number 3 You’re best chance is with Donor eggs, which you have to find yourself.
My sister who said “No” when I asked her to donate eggs, and of course there’s mother nature who has made it so I can’t have babies.

Was it any wonder I figured these two people were also saying no?

I had a chat with MM after “Angel” left and told him I need to hear that it’s ok. That poor man told me that “It’s not a bad idea”, to which I of course replied “That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea”. He’s so very patient with me. I then got a real hug and a sincere, “It’s a good idea. I like it very much.”

And now today, I got  the most beautiful email from “Angel” stating also that it’s a great idea and a lot of wonderful things about us as carers (it counts as the report MM wanted if you ask me). It was so lovely I cried…again!

To MM and “Angel”, thank you both so very much for being patient with me and thank you for not getting upset with me for misinterpreting what you were saying to me. Thank you both for caring about me and supporting me in this journey. I couldn’t do it without you. xxx

So, how are you really doing?

I have been asked Can I say goodbye, and I’ve been wondering if I can. This post from “A little bit of Everything” touched me and lets me know, when I have to say goodbye and cry and cry, I wont be alone. It’s a touching post. Please read.

A little bit of everything...

Today my foster baby left my home.

This is the goal of foster care.

And the reason that most people who consider becoming foster parents decide not to do it.

So many of you have stepped in and asked me how I am doing, and I am grateful for every single one of you—even if I cannot bare my soul at the exact moment that you ask.

The truth is, this is hard.

Ridiculously, unimaginably hard.

So, how am I?

Today, I am not ok.

I will be ok again.

And that is good enough.

Today, no matter how hard I try, I cannot be the strong one.

I will be strong again.  Stronger, maybe.

In the meantime, I will be honest.

And that is good enough.

Today, I can only cry (and cry and cry).

Another day I will think and write about the gift of loving this little…

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Can I say goodbye?

The last few days have been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me.

I spoke with “Angel” a few days ago about my letter to Santa and she asked similar questions to MM, but was something that was niggling in the back of my mind. She said there weren’t any red flags, just that she was concerned about how I would cope when it was time to hand baby over.

That made me wonder, could I do it?

Were “Angel” and MM somehow suggesting that I couldn’t?

It wasn’t something they said, but me reading between lines I thought were there.

So, I withdrew into myself, was quiet, and when MM wasn’t around, I cried.

Were the people who’s help and opinions I value so much trying to tell me I’m not meant to have any babies? Was I never going to have that experience?

After a couple of days I said to MM, “I’ve been thinking…”

I told MM I was thinking that I was thinking about selling the cot and change table. It seemed crazy to keep them if we don’t/can’t do babies. Like a permanent reminder of my own inability to have babies.

It took a few hours for me to dribble my thoughts and feelings out to MM (thank you so much darling for being patient with me).

So, today I went along to the first agency support meeting for emergency and short term carers. It was nice to meet others who do what we do, except…MM and I were the only ones that take over 4 year olds. Most of them do babies only and one does 0-4.

One of the topics we discussed today was saying goodbye.

It was so nice to hear from the others, the baby whisperers, that they ALL cry when their babies move on. It was so nice to hear from one of the support workers that to cry is not only normal, it’s a good thing. What’s not good is if you cry for months.

So how do I feel now?
Energised. Normal. Ready.

I know I have a great support system with my family and “Angel” and the amazing MM, so I know, when we have to say goodbye and I end up in tears, that I will have lots of people there to talk to.

Dear Santa part 2

No, this is not me asking for more things for Christmas.

After I came up with my wish list for Christmas I ran it past MM.

He didn’t say no.

He didn’t say yes.

He did however ask me a LOT of questions.

I knew he would. I’d done a fair bit of thinking about it before I mentioned it to him so I was prepared.

Now, “Angel” has read the post (yes, my awesome support worker takes time to read my blog, isn’t she lovely?) and she has questions for me.

I’m hoping they’re the same questions MM asked.

What questions do you think I should be expecting?

Part 2.1

Well, wouldn’t you know it. In the middle of writing my post, “Angel” called. We had a bit of a chat about my letter to Santa. Just clarifying a few things.
Did this mean we wanted to change to long term care?
Have I thought about how I’m going to cope when the time comes for bubby to move to a long or short term placement?
Do I know that an emergency placement with a baby is a 7 week minimum placement?
That sometimes these placements can stretch out to short term placements?
How will this effect our regular respites with “Kelly”?

So, at the end of the call, I’m wondering if I can do this.
It’s not ability to care for baby.
It’s ability to give baby to their ‘forever’ family.

The end is nigh

Our last weekend with “Blake” is coming up.

For a one off weekend of respite, we will have had “Blake” for 6 weekends in the last 5 months, and that’s with our lovely PSW saying no to the weekend just passed (it was a “Kelly” weekend and as he has sexualised behaviours he can’t be placed with other children, so we couldn’t help out).

For the most part of our time with “Blake” has been lovely. There have been some hiccups, also known as learning experiences for us, there have been the going to bed sagas, but other than that, he has mostly been a happy little man to have around.

At the end of the month the regular respite carer that we have been filling in for will be back from holidays and he will resume one weekend with her, and next fortnight with other respite carer. We have been asked to consider having him one weekend every other month, to which we have said no.
We had “Blake” for several respites quite close together and we found we were able to get routine happening with him and our weekends were much less stressful, particularly at bedtime, for all involved. It wasn’t until we had an 8 week gap that the original issues popped back and it was like starting over.

We’ve discussed our thoughts with our PSW and we think that he would be better with less respite carers not more. We think he needs to have consistency, routine and predictability. It must be really hard for him, 3 respite carers, plus his home. That’s 4 lots of routines, house rules, expectations. How confusing it must be for him.

So, with the end in sight I will make him a DVD of all of the photos we have taken of him while he has been here, and do a little party at the farm.

Any other suggestions??