Monday, March 23, 2009

It's Today! It's Today!

Today is a milestone in this foster journey of ours. Today is the day that the rights of the BioParents may be terminated, making my baby boy legally free for adoption. The county has a good case, one that leads back quite a few years, even though my part of this story only includes the last 14 months. Iggy's case worker anticipates that this will be a slam dunk case today.

My heart hurts for BioMom, even though I know that Iggy's future would be so much brighter with us and as we are the only parents he has ever known. He is a part of our family logistically and not hers, but she still loves him and that makes me sad for her.

BioMom and BioDad have 30 days to appeal the ruling that we are expecting today - total termination of parental rights. If they appeal, this case will drag on for most likely another year as it waits it's turn to be heard at the State Supreme Court level. Pray for everyone invloved today. It is a bittersweet day.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Written For Everyday

I was listening to an old CD I had burned years ago (kind of like the "mixed tape" days of the 90's) and ran across this Newsboys song. I LOVE this band regardless, but this song seemed to jump out at me today and was really convicting. Tell me if this song is not really applicable in our current "state of the Union"...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Living in Foster Parent Land

I had a conversation the other day that made me stop to think about the relationship I have with my biological children versus my foster children. I thought I would share those thoughts here as I have a few friends who have just entered "Foster Parent Land" or are training to be a part of this crazy roller coaster ride.

Please understand that I am writing this to prepare those friends for some emotions they would probably not have ever imagined and maybe will never experience. These are simply my experiences (as well as what I have heard from more seasoned foster parents).

Although we have been fostering for over a year we are still "newbies". We have had only 4 foster children in the house thus far. One is Iggy. He came home from the hospital at about 2 1/2 days old. He is now days away from being 14 months old. The next two were brothers who only stayed with us temporarily last summer. The fourth is 3 1/2 year old Eazy who has been here since December.

There is a big difference between my feelings for Iggy and Eazy. I care deeply for them both. If Eazy were to go home tomorrow I would be sad to see him go and would pray for his parents' success, but life would carry on quite seamlessly. If Iggy went home tomorrow I would mourn the loss deeply. But life would still have to carry on. Seamlessly or not.

As a foster parent there is a bit of a wall that goes up around your heart. It almost has to for you to survive the realities of the mission. In a "normal" family, there is no risk of one of your children being whisked away from you (even on those days you wish that they would be!), but your foster children can be. There is little to nothing you can do about it.

I kept that in mind for the first 7 or 8 months of Iggy's life and then I got a little too comfortable. When BioDad showed back up again when Iggy was around 11 months old, my heart almost stopped. Why was this man bothering me and MY baby? That's the trap to avoid. You have to love them as your own, but accept that they are not your own. That is where that small wall comes into play.

I have no wall with my biological children. I know that my days with them are not guaranteed, but I will love them with my whole heart as if they were. I can only assume, and those of you with adopted children can attest to this, that once/if the adoption decree is signed on the boys (one or both), that wall will instantly disolve and they will fall in line with my biological children. That is my hope.

There are also a couple things to prepare for when you bring home foster children. Others will treat them differently. Not on purpose or with mailce, but it will happen. Little newborn foster babies tend not to get baby showers or big "welcome home" celebrations. They are fawned over certainly, but no one wants to attack that big pink elephant in the room, "what if they go back?"

There are no "congratulations", just questions about their previous situation and what happens "next". Toddlers are pitied and older children are suspect. After all, they were taken from their previous environment. Something was wrong there and may be wrong with them, right? Nothing you do will squash any of this. You just have to hold them close and try not to hurt for them.

The most important thing I have learned in all of this is that it is absolutely NOT about me. Although my feelings, hurts, opinions and desires are real, this journey I am on is simply about them. How I serve them and make life easier and as normal as possible for them is what really matters.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What About The Little Ones?

Home schooling is something I have been led to do for a long time. Because K.Z. is the oldest he was the first guinea pig and we tried many combinations until we found the one I think we will stick with for a while. But it is a little intense and needs dedicated time. As education should.

Before Xena started school, K.Z was still in Kindergarten and 1st grade. We did "homeschool lite". Xena and C'sa played while we did school for the whole 1.5 to 2 hours and then that was it. We were not foster parents yet, so there were only three children at the time. Now both Xena and K.Z are in school, doing a more intense curriculum and we have three little ones hanging around. Except now it is not for just 1.5 to 2 hours that they have to entertain themselves.

In the morning we all start out together. C'sa (now 5), Eazy (3), and Iggy (14 months) hang out with us while we do history. By the time that is done, Iggy is down for a morning nap and C'sa and Eazy have wandered off. Xena and KZ still need Mom to hang around and help them with their lessons. Frankly, I feel as if I am tied to the table in the dining room where they do their lessons.

Fortunately C'sa is great at entertaining herself and she is also great at bossing Eazy around; and he is good at obeying her. So we have a win-win situation for them thus far. But I feel like they are on their own a little too much and I struggle at how I am to help all 5 at once. Eventually, Iggy's morning nap will end and I am not sure how to handle that new aspect.

I know that sooner than I expect, they will not all need me so much, but for now they do, and frankly I am at a loss. I do not want the little ones to feel like they do not get Momma time as I am helping the older ones. I do not want the older ones to stop and stare at the wall if I am taking a minute out on the younger kids (and they do), thus prolonging the day.

Next year when C'sa starts Kindergarten, I intend to give her one on one while the older kids play with the younger ones and then trade. I would LOVE your thoughts on balancing it all out with no one getting left out and feeling lost.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Back to the Land of the Living; I Think

Had I actually been blogging recently you would be aware of the fact that some funky, mindless, horrific, funk monster has invaded my world and infected my family. For two and a half long weeks. But because I am such a slacker you have been spared of all the nasty details.

Life now is almost back to normal. The "Queen Bee", uh... ME, was hit the hardest and was knocked on my "posterior" for a good two weeks. Needless to say everything, my brain included, has been running in slow motion.

Update on the foster front; nothing's new. That's it. Just what you have been waiting with baited breath to hear I am sure.

There is a small update, but as it has not yet happened, I have kind of pushed it back into a corner of my brain and have refused to marinate on it. In exactly 20 days Iggy's attorney and the County attorney will go before a Judge to petition to terminate parental rights on BioMom and BioDad. We are not invited to be there, but BioMom and BioDad will be there to defend their parental rights. After the hearing, assuming the County and Iggy's attorney are granted the termination, Iggy's bioparents have 30 days to appeal. Giving me more time to pace nervously. Okay, or maybe just eat too much chocolate. The pacing might be better for me...

Eazy's case is with the adoption unit, but frankly, you would never know it. Everything is staus quo even though, everything is status quo. I honestly feel though the Lord is letting us have the time we need to get to know Eazy without the pressure of an upcoming adoption. I just hope that things in his life do not drag on too long. This little man needs to be settled permanently.

So far that is the update from the Mr. Clean family. No news is, well... no news. I promise to try and be a bit more diligent with my blogging. And laundry. And dusting. And... aw, just forget it. See you soon!