Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Little Prince stays for now!

I have been terrible about blogging here and if this is the only place you follow me, I apologize!  You are probably wondering who in the world Little Prince is!  About a month ago around 1:00am a sweet bundle of joy was dropped off at our home.  He was 3 months old and as cute as could be!  He's been with us for about a month and today as the first court hearing for his parents.

You see....both his parents are living  in a highly secured gated community if you get what I mean.  They have made some really bad choices.  I was not required to go to court this morning, but I know that LP is their first baby and I cannot imagine (in spite of their choices) not being with my baby (especially the first!)  This will be their only chance to see him because visitation will not commence until they are released.

So, I got up early (court was at 8:30), got the kids up early and dropped them off at a family friend's, drove the 1/2 hour there, went through security and went up to the court waiting area.  While I was waiting in the line for security I saw a group of family members and there was an empty car seat.  As I walked in to the waiting area, they were sitting there and I heard them whisper his name.  I made eye contact and they asked "Is that {LP}?"  Yes, I told them and asked who they were.  There were 2 grandmother's, a grandfather and 3 aunts.  They all came rushing over to his stroller and tears streamed down each and every one of their faces.  The love and sorrow they all felt came oozing out and LP was totally overwhelmed.  They asked a few questions about him, but really just gushed over him until we were called in.  The empty car seat meant they expected to take him with them.  I wondered what they had been told.

I took him back in my arms and prepared myself to walk into that court room.  We were instructed not to talk to or touch his birthparents.  As they saw their son for the first time in a month the tears rolled down their cheeks. I sat opposite them and held the baby up so they could see him. The harsh reality of the consequences of their choices was staring them in the face. Whatever their choices and consequences it was clear that they love this baby! I even got a "you better stop that!" look from the bailiff when I held him up on the way out.  Ooops!  Anyway, it is clear that this baby has a ton of family that loves him.  The problem comes when most of them have records and have been deemed inappropriate to take care of baby.  

There were family members that have had homestudies done.  The first was denied, but *could* be approved if certain things change before our next court hearing.  The other is still being determined and the woman is out of the country right now.  She better high tail it back by the next court date if she has a hope of getting this baby.

After court I let the extended family have some more time with the baby and they all said their goodbyes.  Visitation was awarded to both sides of the family.  2 hours for each side.  I know there is a staffing tomorrow and I bet we'll find out when all that will start.  The family members were all very grateful and thanked me for taking care of him.  Our next court date is pre-trial on 8/14 with trial the week of 8/18.  On the 14th the homestudies will be reassessed, so if either one of them passes Little Price will be leaving us.  It is my assumption that they {bio-family} will do everything in their power to get this baby back to family.  As long as it is a safe environment I am all for it.  I look at Choo Choo's case and if his family would have fought to get him from the very beginning so much trauma that he is going through now could have been avoided.  It's crazy how fast you can fall in love with someone.  We love Little Prince so much and he will be missed a lot, but then we also know the flip side of staying in foster care altogether too long.  

Please continue to pray for our Little Prince and what God has in store for him!


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Our first visit with Choo Choo!!!!

Today we had the enormous blessing of seeing Choo Choo again!  It has been 7 1/2 weeks since he left us.  We planned for a BBQ at a park in-between our houses.  As we drove there I was had butterflies in my stomach...how was he going to react?  sad? happy? confused? ????

When we arrived Uncle was already there and had snagged us a pavilion.  The rest of the family was a few minutes away.  When they finally pulled up we all ran across the grassy area (some faster than others-lol!) and the kids all embraced him.  It was precious!  But then ya'll...he saw me!  He got a huge smile on his face and gave me the sweetest hug...and he wouldn't let go!  Hubby got there and he wanted a hug too, but nope.  He only wanted to his momma!  After a few minutes he finally let go of me and hugged the hubby too :)  We all walked back to the pavilion and he immediately wanted Michael and I to go play on the play structure.  Ya'll...for my boy....I put my big tooshie down that tiny little slide over and over to hear him giggle!!!

It was hard in the beginning because he called me by my first name.  I understand it but I didn't like it :)  After a little while he called me Mommy and it's like no other feeling I can describe!!!  We went back and forth to the pavilion every once in awhile for food or a drink, but he kept pulling me away to be alone.  He wanted me to sit on the stairs with him and eat chips....so we did.  He wanted me to take him to the bathroom...so we did.  He got a bit sad and asked if he can come home with me/us.  "Oh sweetheart....you will ALWAYS be my baby and I will ALWAYS be your Mommy and I think of you every.single.day, but you live with Uncle B and Aunt M. now.  I am excited I get to see you  though!"  It seemed to calm the sadness...for a bit.

Over the 3 hour visit he would run and play with his brothers (old and new) and then he'd come back for hugs from Mommy and Daddy.  Several times something very minor happened (a hurt finger, baby tried to eat his shoe, etc) and he broke out in tears that broke my heart.  It felt so good that he wanted me to comfort him and just hold him through the tears.  There were tears, there was happiness, there was another level of acceptance. 

Goodbye (again) was HEART WRENCHING and as Aunt and I hugged and cried together there was talk of beach trips and movie trips and more get-togethers.  I think this visit is definitely the hardest one for sure.  Praying for lots more fun get-togethers very soon!  His bio-family loves him very much (and the extended family that came too).  I just wish that things had been different...that my sweet boy never had to experience this trauma in his life,  but then I wouldn't know the amazing, wonderful little boy that he is!  God uses ALL THINGS FOR HIS GLORY!  We are blessed beyond measure that we got to visit with him today!!!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A new understanding

As foster parents we are asked to take a perfect stranger into our home, love him or her as if they were our own child, and then give them back.  After that we are to brush ourselves off and decide to do it all again. 

In our 4 1/2 yrs of fostering we have had a whopping 5 (including Squishy) placements. LOL! The first one never left, Choo Choo was our second and we all know how that ended.  3 and 4 were very short term and their goodbyes were not heart-wrenching (2 wks and 5wks).  Of course Squishy just got here.  So.....that leaves Choo Choo as our one and only heart-wrenching goodbye so far.  Many others  have been in this situation over and over and over and I commend you! 

This being our first experience means a new perspective.  I've felt several times over the past 6+ weeks like a birthparent.  Of course the situation and circumstances of why the child was taken from me are very different, but the pain is probably very similar.  We raised Choo Choo from the time he was 3 days old to 3 yrs old.  We were his parents in every way possible except that all important piece of paper. 

I have a new approach to birthparents because I know what if feels like to literally ache for your child. I know what it feels like to wonder what they are doing every single second of the day.  Are they sad? Do they miss me?  I was happy when the CPI called about Squishy's first visit today.  I will be sure to communicate as much as possible ( and is appropriate!)  I will send lots of pictures each visit to let them know their child is thriving and doing well.  I will honor them on special days like Mother's Day and Father's Day.  No matter the situation, that parent will always be the one who created them and even though many bioparents can't take care of their children, they almost always love them.  I honor ALL my children's birthparents on Mother's/Father's Day. 

I also have a new appreciation for my first two children who came to us through bio-parents (not foster care related) who made the ultimate sacrifice for their child.  This has always amazed me, but now that we have made a similar sacrifice and paid a hefty (emotional) cost, I stand in awe of them even more. 

I am happy to say that Choo Choo's Aunt sends me pictures and they even honored me on my birthday by having Choo Choo make me an AMAZING birthday card that I will cherish forever!  I get to see Choo Choo one week from tomorrow!!!!  My mind is racing as I think about how he will react to seeing us, especially with a new little one in tow!  Although the visit is a week before Mother's Day I am pretending it's Mother's Day because ALL my children will be together :)

Squishy

I think most of my readers are also following me over on FB, but for those of you who just check in here, I will give an update from this week!

On Tuesday night we accepted a placement for 14 month old BOY.  YES!  I joked on FB that God thinks I need more practice or I am really good at it :)  He is the most adorable boy and several of his features remind us so much of Choo Choo!   It's like rewind has been hit and we get to do it all over again :) 

He sleeps really well so I am very thankful for that.  He eats (and eats and eats and eats) pretty much anything that I offer him (except eggs).  He ate Thai food (non-spicy ;) ), brussels sprouts, all sorts of veggies, etc.  The thing he liked the most and immediately recognized was PIZZA! 

In just 4 days with us he is already bonding with us!  I can't leave the room the without him crying for me.  It's a total meltdown if I go the bathroom! If he becomes uncomfortable in public he backs his little tooshie over to me and wants up.  He's one of the sweetest cuddlers ever! 

He just left for his first visit with Mom and his siblings.  All 3 of his siblings have medical needs so they are currently meeting at the hospital so they can all be together.  I know virtually nothing about this case or the history of it.  So for right now I will take my job as foster momma seriously and just love on this baby! 

I was curious how my kids would react and everyone is LOVING him!!!  They like to play with him and even when he hits them or throws a toy at them they are so gentle with him and correcting with their language.  Yesterday I took the kids to the Aquarium and snapped this picture of him outside in the water play area.  It was soooo sweet :)  Love that smile!!

 
Oh and his online name will be Squishy because he's got the cutest baby fat thing going on and you just want to squish and hug him all the time!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It snuck up on me!

This week I seem to be very emotional about Choo Choo.  Every.single.thing. reminds me of him!

Like this....


It is an anti-bully commercial on Cartoon Network.  For some reason my sweet boy LOVED it and it came to be known as "his" commercial!  It brought me to tears a few days ago :-(

I think that having him open his presents (with his therapist last week) and knowing that aunt/uncle really have no reason (other than caring about Choo Choo's transition) to contact me is a hard reality.  I really don't think they will contact us again.  It breaks my heart for Choo Choo who deserves a better transition!

And then it hit me.....EASTER! This is the first holiday without my baby :(  It all clicked as to why I haven't felt like making a big dinner or really feeling happy about such an amazing holiday!  Then the crazy wheels in my head kept going and realized he won't be here for my birthday and Mother's Day is just a few weeks away.  I am BLESSED with 3 other children and don't get me wrong...we will celebrate, but at the same time a piece of my heart will be missing on that day :(   

Our household is learning to live without his sweet face here everyday but it sure isn't easy.  Love/foster care/adoption can be costly but oh so worth it!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Closure

Last week I found out I had a homeschooling event with my boys in the same city that Choo Choo lives in now (about 45 min from away) and so I thought it would be a great opportunity to meet with aunt/uncle/choo choo since they wouldn't have to drive anywhere and I could just give him his gifts/lifebook.  I waited and waited and never heard anything back from either of them :( 

I honestly need closure and I need to stop "hanging my hat" on every promise of a visit.  I contacted Choo Choo's therapist (who also lives in that city) and she met me this morning and she is going to pass the things along to him.  She said she'd Skype with me as he opened the gifts (early next week) so he would make the connection that these things are from us (and not her) ;) 

So....his things are with him (or will be very soon) and I feel like the ball is in their court.  If all the promises and nice words are true then they will contact me.  If not, then I feel horrible for Choo Choo and sad that he could have had a better transition, but I have to let go.  I can't keep doing this to myself or my kids.  He is gone.  He is out of our control.  They have no legal obligation to contact us ever again. Of course I pray that's not the case and perhaps they are just trying to find their new normal as well.  I guess only time will tell......

At the homeschooling event I met another foster mom who is starting the reunification process with their first placement.  She has what I desire to see in foster care.  A mom who worked really hard to get her baby back.  A mentoring relationship between foster mom and bio mom and continued contact desired post-reunification.  As I told her our story we both shed a few tears knowing the opposite extreme. 

I think we are getting close to opening our home again.  The Band-Aid has been ripped off.  He's gone.  We are establishing what our family looks like without him, but it still hurts.  I see his picture and it hurts. I was going through old voicemails and found one where he says "Hello?  Hello Mommy?  You there?" and I broke into tears hearing his sweet voice again.  He is my baby.  He ALWAYS will be.  There is a part of my heart that has been forever changed by that sweet, amazing, beautiful little boy.  A part that still bleeds some.  The scar is forming though and I don't regret that scar one bit.  It is a reminder how God used my family to make an eternal impact on the life of one child. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Phone call

This morning Isaac went ballistic over something so small and I knew that something was bothering him.  If one of the other kids did this...ehhh...but with Isaac I knew something was bothering him.  I let him calm himself down and then asked if he wanted to talk about anything.  He said no.  About a minute later he came over to where I was and said he missed Choo Choo and that he had a dream about him last night.  I asked what happened in the dream and he said that everyone was there and Uncle said he didn't want Choo Choo to see us again.  He started crying a bit and said he was afraid he'd never see Choo Choo again.

I have been able to talk to Choo Choo twice now (but not the kids) and we have gotten pictures.  I asked him how he felt about calling Choo Choo when he got home from daycare.  Isaac's mood lightened and he said he'd like that a lot.

I texted uncle to ask him if that was ok and Choo Choo called me instead :)  It is both an upper and a downer to talk to him on the phone.  It's so comforting to hear his voice but then at the same time he just isn't himself.  You can tell  he's soooooo sad when he talks to me (although I have been reassured that he is happy too and he is dealing with things appropriately). 

This evening I called again and the kids, hubby and I spoke to him.  The kids were so excited but they didn't get our "Choo Choo" on the phone.  They got a sad little boy.  Isaac got off the phone and said "that doesn't sound at all like Choo Choo"  I hadn't told him anything about my calls.  My Mom can attest that that boy LOVES to talk on the phone, but these calls are different.  These calls are painful and healing all at the same time.  His answers are "yes, no" or "ok" for most things.  If we say that we miss him or love him he will reply with the same thing. 

I really pray that we can work a visit out soon.  My kids need the closure and Choo Choo certainly needs to know that he will continue to see us and be a part of his life.  I asked Uncle about a visit but...ya know.   We will see when this all actually happens.  I may be in his area for an event soon, so maybe I'll ask if I can drop by and it doesn't have to be anything formal at all....I really want to give  him his lifebook and presents and especially a HUGE HUG!!! 

I am so grateful that Uncle/Aunt are keeping in contact with us and that Choo Choo has at least heard everyone's voice and knows that we still love and care about  him and haven't totally disappeared!