Friday, May 30, 2014

Let's Hang Out

In the land of 2 and 3 years old "play" means all of us, as in foster mommies and their friends (us).  "Hanging out," means alone with no foster mommies.  This is the term they use, for example, when they are babysat, they are "hanging out" with the babysitter.

I never realized how much I use the term hanging out until recently.  One the beach I innocently asked M (the 3 year old), "Is the giraffe hanging out with us," totally not thinking about the power of the words I just spoke.  He looked at me terrified and physically backed off a little.

"...I mean playing, look he's playing with us."

Whew.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Beach Trip

We took them to the beach yesterday.  The beach was the one place where I thought, oh this will be easy.  I've spent my life from a beach chair watching other people's children and kids just seem to "get" going to the beach.  How many countless kids have I watched run from the surf as it approaches in full on laugh only to chase the receding water again.  Peace of cake.

Then it turns out the 3 year old is afraid of the ocean and the 2 year old runs at the water like he's a surfer about to dive in and paddle out into the waves.   He doesn't get that the wave will knock him down and possibly drown him.  So one of us stays on shore to play with the sand and the other one keeps the 2 year old from diving into the Atlantic Ocean.

Suddenly my fantasy of watching my children from a beach chair is kind of bullshit.  The tide is coming in and the 3 year old is freaking out, he will only stand behind our line of chairs.  I can get him to sit between my chair and his tiny chair to play with the sand.  We make 3000 molds of dolphins and I catch a glimpse of Brian pulling the little one from a wave about to take him out.

Yeah, this is going to be different but it's still going to be great. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

First Date

I'm still trying to process my emotions.  I'm kind of all over the place.  When we left Brian asked me if he did okay and started crying.  He was ready to take the boys home and so am I.  I just really hate all this waiting and stretching all this out.  I have to defer to those who have schooling and training for this sort of thing, I have to trust they know what's best but I personally feel like a quicker transition is better.  It's been over 3 weeks since our caseworker asked us to look at their photos and decide if we want to meet them, which we did immediately.  From there it took over 3 weeks to meet the boys.  Now we won't see them for another week.  From there I just don't know how long everything takes.  I hope the line in the sand doesn't keep moving but it just feels like we can't get any traction.  Obviously by next Friday or weekend they are not going to remember us and we have to start all over again.

And I wanted to be upset and mad about all that but then we heard that friends of ours who have been fostering 2 kids for over a year went into a court hearing that was to terminate parental rights (the last step in a long line of steps before you can start adoption proceedings).  A family member came into court and the judge granted the family member who hasn't been in the picture for the past year custody rights.  I can't even imagine the devastation our friends are going through.   They've been with these kids for over a year and were ready to adopt and now their kids who they considered their own are gone.  This is the worst case scenario for folks like us looking to adopt through foster care.  Obviously placing children with family members is the best way to go but that should happen quickly, not over a year after they have been placed with a foster family who wants to adopt.

All the sudden waiting a couple months for your kids to come home with you doesn't sound so bad.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Boys Beds

It doesn't look like I'm going to be able to design the boys' bedroom the way I would like but if I could this is what I'd do:

The Boys Beds


I would also make new curtains, I'll probably do that anyway.  I've looked all over and I still come back to this fabric



It's a pretty expensive endeavor, at $17.50 a yard, and Spoonflower is not big on coupons, so I'll keep my eyes open to see if there's something I like equally (or about $7/yd less).  I like the idea of the arrows, to try to keep as much of the "camping" theme as I originally was going for.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

On a Lighter Note

One of my biggest fears next Thursday when we meet the boys is we'll walk in and meet everyone and then I'll see their cat and be like, "Kitty!" and appear way more into their cat than the boys.

Do not get overly excited about their cat.

This is so important.

Take it Easy on Me

As I suspected I had a difficult night sleeping.  I did okay until 4am, which is Andy's time to attack Grayson because Grayson is sleeping where he wants to be.  Poor Grayson, every night the same thing.  After many failed options, yelling at Andy at 4am doesn't work by the way, and Grayson will get up anyway if you move too much or make too much noise, so I usually, every night get up at this time and feed the cats (they are on a "diet" and breakfast is demanded early) and close the door to sleep with no kitties.

Unfortunately this doesn't last.  Grayson since he was free from his helpless kitten crate, knows how to "knock" on the door.  And he doesn't stop.  We tried to outlast him, but he will go forever.  And it's loud.  So somewhere between 4:30am and 6am I get up to open the door for Grayson when he starts knocking.  Most of the time he just wants to cuddle but sometimes he wants to play and then it's harder to fall back to sleep.

Last night Grayson did come back in and cuddle on Brian who was sound asleep but my anxiety got the best of me and I was wide awake from 4am until 8am where I dosed for an hour (I know, I get to sleep in, I know it's not fair).

I've narrowed down my issues and it's not the boys, I'm still as excited as ever to meet them, it's just the way this is being handled.  Before we even get to meet the boys it will be over 3 weeks since our placement worker called us about meeting the boys casually in a park.  I understand there will be bureaucracy, we signed up for bureaucracy when we decided to Foster/Adopt and it started right out of the gate when we couldn't take the first class series in July we had to wait 3 months because we would miss the first day because of vacation.  We get it.  I get it.  But it just feels like eternity and for something that our placement worker described as "easy" okay, maybe he said, "easier," it's pretty drawn out and the line gets drawn further out every single day.

Next Thursday we are tentatively planned to meet the boys at their home with their foster parents.  Also in attendance is the boys' social worker and their Guardian ad Litem.  For something that's supposed to be casual it feels like a big deal.  It feels like a fishbowl.  And from there we are supposed to have more visits and then alone visits and eventually sleep overs and way way down they move in with us and then we foster for 6 months or so and then we can adopt.  There is nothing fast or easy about this. 

I think I feel like the parent whose kids were taken away.  Like I have to jump through hoops and do this and do that and don't have any opinions and don't change anything.  Be in a fishbowl for the next 6 or 7 months and you might be a parent.  We get these newsletters and they always mention ways we can help them keep foster parent retention and I'm thinking that might be part of it.  I don't feel like I have any say in anything.  I have to be perfect and take everything thrown at me and not have opinions or thoughts and be a perfect mom when I don't even know how to be a mom.  I'm not a mom and now I have to be a mom in a fishbowl.  It makes me very anxious and makes me want to give up on the whole thing.

And now I'm crying about it.  There has got to be some way not to dump on me, not to tell me how to be a parent and how I need to do this and do that.  I have to have some sort of control.  Otherwise it's just fake.  I'm parenting in a way to make DSS happy and it's not the parent that I am.  It's not fair to the kids and it's not fair to me.

I wish I had asked yesterday the following question, "What sort of parents do you think the boys need, what kind of parents would be the best parents for these boys?"

Because to me, this is kind of like dating, like internet dating in its own way.  I think instead of beefing up my bio to say I like when kids smear jelly all over my walls and I'm a super energetic mom who can tire the pants off two toddlers it should be something like Brian likes sports and wants to play sports with the boys.  He likes to walk and take short hikes.  He likes good kid movies like Toy Story.   Brian is very funny and very logical.  Brian is an amazing problem solver.  Lori likes to draw and sculpt.  She likes to teach kids math and to read.  She loves to cook and entertain.  She loves children's books probably more than anything on the earth (except Christmas).  She loves water and likes to swim and go to the beach.  She loves legos and other engineering toys.  She likes nature walks and loves animals.  She likes to dance and sing songs.  She likes to photograph and would love her kids to be into photography.  She also likes her house to be clean (because 3 cats put off a lot of hair quickly) and she likes to decorate.  She is feminine and homey, she is a researcher and always wants to know more and do better.  Does the kid you are looking for a home for fit in with what we have to offer.  Sign us up.

But don't stick a square peg in a triangle hole.  Don't say I need to be a square hole.  They should know what they are looking for, they've had these kids in custody for over a year.  Instead I just feel like I have to cave - I can't make decisions, I can't have expectations.  I have to know how to parent super energetic kids, I have to know how to make two kids bond to me.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Further Updates

On the meeting on Tuesday they decided they should all meet with us and have everyone ask any questions they might have.  So this morning at 9am our social worker, the childrens' social worker and their guardian ad litem met at our house and we answered questions and asked questions.  I had a list of questions, mostly for the foster parents about daily routines and items the kids would need - booster seats, strollers, etc that wasn't really useful for this meeting but some of our fears were waived including a medical issue that is no longer there, yay, and they are currently living with a cat, yay.

From here sometime next week, I think on Thursday we will actually meet the kids at their current foster home with their social worker and the guardian ad litem and the foster parents so the pressure's on us.  Brian asked me later today how are we supposed to act around the boys and I said I have no idea.  

As far as concerns, well, I want them to see me and run up to me and say Mama, but I doubt that will happen so I hope they like us when they met us.  That's a pretty normal thing I think.

I'm concerned about their energy.  Everyone keeps saying how energetic they are and I'm a pretty calm person, I always have been that way.  I think I pictured being a mom sitting down with crayons or building thing with legos, making things with playdoh.  I didn't really picture 2 toddlers tearing through the house like their butts are on fire.  That's concerning to me.  I know you don't get to choose how your kids turn out they are who they are and I agree with that to some level.  However I think kids somewhat become products of what their parents expose them to.  If we are camping people our kids grow up camping and I assume 99% of the time the kids like it.  If we are artsy people our kids grow up doing a lot of art or playing musical instruments and I assume 99% of the time the kids like it.  If you grow up loving sports and pushing the spirit of competition on your kids they are going to gravitate to those those things and most of the time (unless their parents are asses) they will most likely love it.

So here are two kids that for the past year have been exposed to life a certain way and if things go as they should they will then be exposed to life a different way.  How easily does that change occur and what damage happens psychologically by making changes.  I know what happens when you are 9 because I lived it but what about when you are 3.  I'm so curious had my transition happened slowly would it have been easier for me.  I kind of feel like it would be the same, in some ways I kind of feel like you just rip the bandaid off and get on with it.  Certainly a 9 year old is going to realize one day they are drinking soda for dinner and the next day it's milk, whether it happens day 1 or day 20, it still changed to milk and you hate milk. 

I'm not saying I'm going to crack a whip or anything on day 1.  My goal is to start off everything as close as the same as it is now but things are going to change, there's no doubt about it.  Some things will be good, some things I don't know, will they resent me, do things like that linger?  Will they hate me forever because I won't let them do X, Y, or Z and that's the way it's always been (for the past year) just because that's not how we are?

Some of you are probably laughing at me thinking you don't change kids they change you and trust me I understand that.  I'm just thinking about things from my narrow little unknowing viewpoint.  This is why I wanted a baby, I'd have time to sort out all this stuff, we'd get to know each other before things like this had to be sorted out.  I kind of feel like I'm going though those same emotions from when my parents got divorced/remarried/new families.  I just don't know.  I really need to meet the kids, see how I feel and how they feel,  the unknown is getting to me.