Each adoption, each fostering, and each respite are so different even if the stories of the children are similar. As a family we’ve chosen to celebrate our Family Day rather than Adoption Day. We got through adoption day and are glad to have it past us. Adoption Day brought up a lot of mixed feelings and anxiety. The general idea of Adoption Day is not something we care to celebrate, as it comes with great loss. We are, however, going to celebrate Family Day, which is the day that our kids were placed in our home. Last year they came to live with us on July 14th. If you want to revisit my first blog post after placement, it is here:
I looked up a lot of things to do for Family Day. We considered going to a theme park or a water park. But our kids really enjoy something simpler, and those would not afford us real quality one on one time. So we looked up destinations that are closer to home, within a 2 to 3 hour driving distance. We realized that we are about 2 hours from the Finger Lakes region in NY, where I haven’t been and none of the kids have visited. So we booked a camping “resort,” so that we have a cabin with a full kitchen, bathroom and electricity (the only way you’re getting me camping!). They have pools, playgrounds and a splash park on site and nearby are such beautiful state parks as any you would ever see. So we will be there for a few nights and enjoy our time with the kids!
We provided respite in March for a sweet 9 year old girl while her foster parents went out of town to visit a sick relative. We provided even longer of a respite for her when her foster parents went out of town for said relative’s funeral in April. She is inquisitive, super smart, and really a joy to have around. My kids fawn over her, doting on her and treating her very kindly. She only came into care in January, and placed in a pre-adoptive home with two teen boys. It sounded very familiar to the pre-adoptive home that my kids were placed in a year ago. A foster mother looking to round out her family with a girl, only to have teen boys that want nothing to do with an “annoying” younger girl who craves attention. The first respite she continued to tell me about going home in June. I knew enough about her case and the fact that her mother had missed most, if not all, of her visits to know that this was not the truth. The second time we provided respite it was apparent that things were not going well at the foster home. The teen boys do not pay her any attention, and her foster mother is not accustomed to a pre-teen girl needing constant communication and affection. We never had issues with clinginess or with her relating to her surroundings. She fit right in with my kids, enjoyed our dance parties, coloring, and dress up. It was obvious to me that she just was not in the right home. In April our caseworker told me that the family would be looking to move her once school finished.
Last week, I received a text from the foster mother asking if I could watch the girl while the foster mom had a doctor’s appointment… the next morning. We had already made plans and I did not appreciate the lack of advance notice. Yesterday, I got an email from our caseworker (also her caseworker) to see if we are willing to provide respite for a couple of days, that the foster family just needs some time. They will be moving her sometime this summer once they find a suitable family but she doesn’t know yet. So I guess after six months, and now that school is out, the family realizes that it is not a “great fit” for her to be with them. Which is just so tough and sucky. Her mom has been recently incarcerated and the dad disappeared years ago, so this is a slam dunk TPR in my mind. It makes me sad that this is a similar situation to the one that my kids were in last year, to a family that was never really a great fit but the only ones that were available.
We will have her for three nights, so I am interested to see how she’s done in the last two months since we saw her last. The kids are so excited to see her. They write her notes all the time that we mail to her. We’ve been doing workbooks and journals in the morning so today Scarlett and Madeline accompanied me to the store to pick a journal up for our respite.
I know that I owe you all an update. I’ve been horrible about writing, even though I keep thinking of topics to write about, they rarely make their way onto the blog! I’ll try to work harder over the summer to get back in the habit. I was very good on keeping the blog updated before/during the adoption and I think it is super important now to keep updating as well, as we navigate the post-adoption space as well.
It’s nearly been one year since we received our referral and placement. It’s totally hard to believe! Some days I think that it feels like it’s been 10 years, and other days I can’t believe we’ve nearly been a family for a full year.
Anne and Huck are in the same counseling program. Anne has been there nearly a year, and she is hopeful that she will have completed the program before school starts next year. Huck started the middle of May so he might be finished before summer next year. It is a trauma recovery program and they have one on one sessions, sessions with a behavioral specialist and also group sessions with their peers. I was afraid that Huck’s behavior would become out of control and that he would fight against us to go. BUT he loves it! He is so happy on counseling days. I think it makes all the difference that he has an older boy as a mentor in the group and that his counselor is a man. He really needs that guy time and he listens and takes to heart anything that a male figure will say to him over female figures.
We continue to have bathrooming issues with Huck. He is now 8 years old. In the nearly one year that he has lived with us, the longest he has gone without bathroom issues is 7 days. Recently he will go two or three days and then have a major issue the next day. He attributes it to not wanting to stop activities to go to the bathroom. While he is at home we do our best to remind him every so often, but it’s hard. He definitely has had less poop issues since he has been home from school for the summer, but the peeing is still an issue.
Scarlett is just as sassy as ever. She had a lot of anxiety leading up to the end of school and start of summer. She is my internaliz-er, and she had stomach aches for a while there. She worked herself up and worried about what it would be like home versus at school. I hope that as the weeks have gone on and she’s been home that she recognizes how safe she is. I try to stick to a routine as best as possible because I know that’s best for all of the kids.
Madeline has grown about a foot and is talking twice as much as before. Her giggles fill the house when her siblings perform prat falls or pretend to bump into walls. She dances with Scarlett and lets Anne pretend to be her mama bird. Her appetite has grown along with her love of dinosaurs.
We have our beloved nanny back from last summer. The kids adore her and they’re enjoying being at home. We are taking it one week at a time this summer so that we all make it through alive!
So I am having heart surgery on May 8th. Well, that’s the tentative date at least, waiting on health insurance pre-authorization. It’s hard to say and I don’t like thinking about it. My mother will come back in town for at least a week. I have to be careful for at least a month, being careful with any type of strain or lifting as the artificial piece heals. I look forward to (slow) long walks and healing for the beach/pool! For all you medical followers out there, I am having a PFO closure. It is an outpatient surgery, done with a catheter. The surgery takes about an hour. About 80% of people have full closure right away, and most of the other 20% will have theirs close within 6 months. So I will have several check-up echo-cardiograms to make sure it’s in the correct spot and that it’s healing.
I am glad that I’ll be working on my foster care certification as I recover!