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!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Diapers!

I received the first box of diapers today!!!!  Keep 'em coming ya'll!!!!!!!!!!!  I have a goal of 1000 diapers (total, not packages) and I am praying we can bless the socks off of our agency with even MORE than that!! 

I need your help to do that!!!! 

Email me if you need my address or I'd be happy to come pick them up if I know you IRL! 

New Normal

It's been 1 week and 2 days since our sweet Choo Choo left.  From Wed-Sunday of the first week I wasn't myself.  It was hard to think of anything except him.  My mom, sister and her two kids had been here from Mon-Fri and it was Sat. night that it all hit me.  Everyone else went to bed and I was up, bawling and looking at his sweet face through the tons of pictures we had taken the past 3 years.  It was very cathartic and healing to be able to just let it all out.  Sunday evening another wave  hit as I realized that I didn't get to go pick my baby up :(

Monday morning my spirits were lifted as a phone call came...it was Choo Choo!!!!  He didn't have a lot to say, but when I talked to Uncle he commented that just minutes before I texted (to see how he was doing because it was killing me) he said that Choo Choo asked several times for Uncle to take him to my house now.  This week was his first full week at daycare....what an adjustment this little boy has had to make!

Monday we started our new normal!  It was back to homeschooling, exercising and eating right!  Boy that long transition and crazy schedule for over 2 months was not good for any of those things listed above!  It feels good to get back into a regular routine.

Tues we got a call from placement saying that they knew we were on a break, but were wondering if we could take a 1 yr old.  At that point we weren't even a week out from saying goodbye to someone of 3 years.  We just weren't ready yet, so we said no :(  Even though Choo Choo's goodbye is still fresh it wasn't easy to tell her no.

Wed (this week) I was out on a boat ride with the other boys when I got a text from Aunt.  It had two pictures of Choo Choo!  Unless you have experienced this type of loss, I don't think you can truly understand what that means to a mommy/daddy!  It brings so much peace knowing he is happy!


We are definitely on the road to healing, but I am looking back over the past week+ and now that I have been through it, I want to do more for families with children coming and going.  Our neighbor brought us a meal which was just what a needed Sun night and my sister sent me a huge thing of chocolates which are delicious, and we received one card.  Lots of FB messages have been nice to receive.  I'm not sure if people just don't know what to say, are afraid I'll break into a crying mess, or just don't care????  If you are thinking/praying for someone....let them know. Make it personal!  Call them on the phone and speak to them.  Personally, the very first week I didn't want to cook at all.  Give families a gift card for eating out or bring them a meal.  Invite them out for coffee to chat.  Offer to watch their kids for free so they can have a date night.  Ya'll...if you can't foster, then support those who are.  It's a hard road and we battle places of brokenness and sadness that most will never be able to imagine.  Don't wait for someone else to fill a need for an adoptive/foster family....be the hands and feet of Jesus and DO IT!  Ok...I'll get off my soapbox....I guess expectations (which I shouldn't carry...I know!) failed me.  Thank God for his peace and presence  here during this time!

I am really surprised (but I shouldn't be) how much God's grace has just covered us this whole time.  Hubby and I are doing very well considering and the kids have been doing pretty well too.  They talk about him and we look at pictures and reminisce about memories.  There hasn't been the bad behavior/tantrums that I expected so that is amazing.  Today was a really rough day however and I'm not quite sure I have an answer for that....it could be Choo Choo's leaving or something totally unrelated.  They all were sensory messes, so I had them doing lots of sensory activities.  The OT said that emotions and emotional situations can heighten the sensory system, so deep breathes and one day at a time :)

This morning Uncle texted me for information which is all in his yellow folder (which gets sent with a child from placement to placement with all their pertinent info).  I told him it was all in there and he said he'd have Choo Choo call me after school today.  Will it happen?  I don't know and I can't hang my hat and depend on anything he says, but it's awesome knowing that there will be continued contact between our families and Choo Choo is doing well :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Our final goodbye

This past week has been very hard for our family.  As we entered this week we believed we'd officially transition Choo Choo from our home to Aunt/Uncle's on Wednesday and then  have a "final goodbye" picnic/party with them and some other family members on Saturday. 

Monday evening my mom, sister and her kids arrived for a visit with us and to say goodbye to Choo Choo one more time.  They live nearly 1400 miles away, so this was a special visit.  We spent lots of time together Tues/Wed.  Wednesday morning I started to prep Choo Choo for our final goodbye and that this time he wouldn't be coming back.  He *knew* but just didn't want to believe it.  He had a major meltdown that morning and I just took him my room (hubby was already in there) and as Choo Choo screamed I just held and rocked him and told him it all was going to be ok.  Tears started to flow down my cheeks...I just couldn't hold  it back anymore.  Hubby came to hug us both and Choo Choo calmed down a bit.  He went back and forth between us.  He'd hug and cuddle one and then go to the other.  He did this for quite awhile and we all just grieved together. 

We spent the rest of the day, until drop off, at the Aquarium having some more fun together and creating those last memories.  It came time to leave and Choo Choo kept saying he wanted a snack.  I told him I didn't have any and he kept asking "can we go home?"  Ahhhh.....that was one hard car ride to meet his Uncle.  He ended up falling asleep 10 min. before we got there :(  Those naps are not good under normal circumstances! lol!

We pulled into the parking lot and everyone got out of the car to say their goodbyes.  Lots of hugs and kisses.  Choo Choo was so confused and kept walking back and forth from our family to Uncles trying to comprehend what was happening to him.  This broke my heart.  He was just so sad :( 
We finally ended our time together with promises to see him on Saturday with presents and treats.

Thursday evening I got a text from Uncle cancelling the party (with no reason) and saying maybe we can get together for an egg hunt next month.  Clearly, Uncle did not realize what this meant to us and that it wasn't just a nice get together.  This meant closure for Choo Choo and closure for our family (our kids!)  We've been talking about this for awhile  now and everyone was looking so forward to it. 

It's been 3 years of this type of behavior.  He says all the right things and makes promises to do things with absolutely no follow through.  I SO wanted to believe that after transition things would change.  They haven't.  He promised Choo Choo they would call before bed on Wed night...they didn't (not the first time).  He promised the party...not happening.  He has talked about get-togethers and overnight visits.  Emotionally I just have to set it all aside and I can't keep hoping for things to happen.  I have to trust that God's got this and I (we) have to start healing from this tremendous loss in our lives.  When/If God has a plan for us to be in his life (in whatever way) then He will make that happen. 

How are we doing?  It hurts...it hurts really bad :(  I already miss him so much.  With time and God's grace I know things will get better though.  I pray that God gives me an opportunity to give him his lifebook and gifts that I had not sent because I wanted to give them to him at the party.  We need that closure and it will mean so much more coming from us rather sending them in the mail.  Although, if mail is the only option then at least he would have them. 

My visiting family left today....I am feeling super emotional and not at all like cooking, so take out it is!  Praying for a better day tomorrow!

 

 


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well...not yet!  In April I will be having a birthday and I recently saw on another foster momma's blog a great way to celebrate!  So thank you Catie (if you read this!) for the idea and I pray that our agency is as blessed as yours was!  I'm sending this out early to give ya'll plenty of time! :)

In case you are not familiar with www.thishighcalling.blogspot.com she decided to ask friends/family/blog readers/anyone (!) to donate items in honor of her birthday.  Each year she has done something different to bless her agency and foster families as they all step out and reunite families and care for children.

I have decided that I would like to walk in her footsteps and reach out to you all to celebrate my birthday in a similar manner!  The Children's Home Society is our agency and we have been so blessed by them over and over in our 4+ years as being foster parents.  We have grown to be good friends with our social workers and feel they do a superior job at taking care of us as foster parents, but especially caring for the children!

I would LOVE to bless their socks off with donations of diapers (we'll start there this year :) ) I'd love to flood their office with so many different size diapers to bless the foster families and children with.  Size newborn-6 and pull ups too!!  If you want to add wipes or any other goodies that's great too!!  I know many of you are excellent couponers and can snag these at great prices!! 

If you know me IRL feel free to call me and I will pick them up or you can drop them off here.  If you are out of town mail them to me or if you would like to just make a straight donation to CHS I can provide you with that address too!  Email me at fostermommam@gmail.com for any info you need and I look forward to blessing others this year (and not focusing on my age-lol!) 

Don't worry, I'll send a few reminders along the way :-)