Friday, September 25, 2009

Training Seven!

Whew...we only have 3 left!!!! We are defininitely moving toward the finish line :) The boys were staying here with a babysitter so they could still get to bed on time, but she got a job (Praise God!) so she can't watch them anymore, and unfortunately we don't have any family here, so that means they are coming with us till the end! The meetings are at the YMCA so they go in the play area and have a blast. The only downfall is that the meetings last until 9:00pm and then by the time we get home, pj's, teeth brushed, etc it's almost 9:45. A. always needs some time to unwind, so it was probably 10:15 before he went to sleep! Today should be fun!

Tonight's training was about keeping birthfamily connections and how that take shape. Besides the kids leaving our home after being with us for awhile, I think working with the birthfamilies has the potential to be the second difficulty. I think that for some families it will be rewarding to help them get their kids back but for those where I know that the child has been abused, etc it's going to be difficult to want to encourage those connections. Something I need to be in prayer about for sure!!

The trainers also passed around someone's lifebook (a family no one knows). They encourage us to create lifebooks (doesn't have to be fancy) for each child that come through our home. A lifebook chronicles a child's life before finding their forever family. I have created lifebooks for each our children and although our foster children's won't be as pretty or detailed, it will be a piece of them that they will need/want to know when they get older. I highly recommend the book "Before you were mine" by Susan TeBos and Carissa Woodwyk. The lifebook they passed around was basically some pictures in a book (more of a photo album) but I hope that I will be able to add narration about them and as much detail as possible to fill in any holes for them, especially since we will have the little ones and they won't be able to remember us or that time of their life.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More deals!

Yesterday a woman emailed me and said that if I want to come and peruse through her bin of baby clothes I could fill a grocery bag for $3! Ummm..Yeah! So I went over and then she started asking me what else we needed (she knew we were preparing for foster care). I only had $15 cash, but in addition to the clothes I got an infant car seat! She has several other items like a bouncer, swing, and more all for $15-25 a piece! I have to go back later with more cash :-)

On another note....we have all our paperwork in except for 2 babysitter forms (I'll have those in hand on Sat.) and one of our neighbor references. We don't really know these people, so we feel a bit awkward going over and bugging them again. It's so funny how God eases our minds....after dinner tonight there is a knock on the door and there was our neighbor needing a jump for his truck :) No problem! Mr. M was able to introduce himself and the neighbor said they were sending in the form this week. Praise God! I don't have to wonder anymore, and they got their vehicle working :)! Love it! The list in my side bar is slowly going down!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cool deal!

I have been searching on craigslist for a good deal on a crib for weeks now. I finally found someone that had just moved to this area (into an apt) and needed to get rid of her crib and threw in a boppy pillow too! :) We sold a loveseat that we had for $50 and that's exactly what we paid for the crib/mattress and boppy!! :) It turns out that they too had moved from Michigan due to her husband's job. They also have (we had) a house in MI that hasn't sold and they are currently renting it out. It was so clear that she was from up it! The kids didn't want to leave because they had so much fun playing with their 3 year old and his toys! :) we only need a small dresser for the little one's clothes and the room is set!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Great deals!

Our Once Upon a Child here had a huge clearance sale yesterday on all their clothes and I was able to get lots of little girls clothes for a total of $5.50!!! Woo Hoo!!! I also was able to get a baby bath tub for $8.50! I also have a connection with a woman who I am going to try to meet up with later today to get a great deal on a crib/mattress that converts to a toddler bed as well :) We of course are still praying for any donations and/or provisions for the rest of the things needed. Last week I learned about the Moby carrier (see link in side bar) and I definitely want one of these! The woman I spoke with said they are particularly great for newborns that have been born addicted to drugs because of the intense closeness it encourages. I am now off to my second of three trainings for "behavioral analysis!" It has been a great class and I have learned so much already :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What's been going on...

Last Saturday was the first of my "extra" classes called "Behavior Analyst" training. It was actually very beneficial and it the skills that it teaches are things that I am able to use for both my kids now as well as any foster children in our home. Obviously with foster care you can't use any type of punishment and the things that people use are limited, so they of course try to help us by replaceing those negative things with positive things that really work. :) We have been using it for several days now and it's awesome to hear my kids not only listening and being more positive, but also for them to be treating each other better! The other day we were walking to the pool and we were just about to cross the street and A. grabbed I's hand and said "hold my hand buddy. I don't want you to get hurt!" When they finished crossing the street I. looked at A. and said "Thank you A. for holding my hand!" cute!

Monday was our second of three homestudy visits. We really love our FDS and you can tell that she is there for us and really cares! It's always hard to bear your soul and be open and honest about every single major (and minor) event in your life, but when you know that the other person isn't just doing a job, but rather really cares it makes it a bit easier :) We are ALMOST done with our paperwork and I can't believe we are almost to the waiting game part. The person (yes only one man) that approves the files for our county is about 2 months behind plus we are at the state of MI's mercy because we need clearance from them as well. a few weeks time it will just be a wait and see when God places our first child :-)

We **think** we may have a possible crib, so now we can have the room totally done :) The next several months will be looking for deals for all those baby goodies! I've already started to pick up deals/clearance as I see them :) Exciting!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Training Number Five!

WE ARE 1/2 WAY DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Last night we had to go an hour early for the pool safety class because we have a pool near our home. I can't say that I learned anything new, but one more thing to check off the list. Once again we were blessed last night with the replacement trainer :) I learn so much better from him. Last night started the 2 week discussion on behavior. Last night's topic was mostly about coercives and how we get children (or adults!) to do what we want them to do. This is something that is used in "reactive parenting." The goal of course is to be a pro-active parent and stop problems before they start. More on that next week :) It is always good to get new ideas on how to parent our kids better...not only foster kids, but of course all of that was good for our kids too :) So much of what we do as parents (even coercives) come from what our parents taught us (inadvertently of course!)

I just had the realization that tomorrow starts the 3 week Saturday course that I have to attend on "behavior analyst" training. Ohh.....I am tired-LOL! 4 hours on a Saturday! I really hope this is some good information! We still have some paperwork to complete, but that pile is slowly going away-YAY!!! We have our second homestudy visit on Monday as well! Somewhere in there I need to figure out when to get groceries, go to Sam's Club, clean my house, etc! "It's gonna be worth it" is my motto lately!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Training Number Four...

Moving right along! We are almost 1/2 way done with training!!! Last night we were excited to see a subsitute trainer!! I guess we just learned better from him and he was very engaging :) We did a guided imagery activity last night and put ourselves in a place that would be similar to the children that would be coming into our home. Of course nothing could truly emulate that experience (unless you were a foster child yourself)but it did help us to understand some of the situations they will be going through and what happens to them. Last night's topic was primarily about attachment and building those trust bonds.

Our FDS was there last night as well with yep...more paperwork! I think my eyeballs are going to pop out! We apparently need 2 neighbor references. Well...we have lived here about 6 months and other than "hello" we don't really know any of our neighbors :( However, that doesn't seem to matter! We need to now walk up to these people we don't know and ask them to a reference for us! I'm making Matt do that! LOL! They aren't really warm and inviting people, so that should be interesting!

All of this paperwork, preparation, and training had me thinking again about our adoptions. I was thinking that perhaps if some of these requirements were in place for adoption (i.e. mandatory attendance at training where they discuss loss, attachment, bahviors and how to deal with them)maybe there wouldn't be so many disruptions. People have definitely dropped out of our class (although not too many!) because they just aren't ready/prepared to handle it. That's okay! If adoption agencies really did a good job of letting prospective adoptive parents know what they are getting into, maybe they would realize that it isn't for them. That could save a child that extra loss in their life of being rejected and moved again! I think that this should also be region specific and include what to expect from that region, what complications are typical and most of all to connect you with other successful families that have completed adoptions from that country/region. Wishful thinking??

I don't feel that we were adequately prepared for our adoptions and if it weren't for my sister and the host of other wonderful adoptive/Christian families to support us, this road would have been MUCH more difficult! So...although all of this paperwork, etc is a huge pain, it will ALL BE WORTH IT when we see firsthand that we have shown the love of God to a child in need.