Last Thursday evening we accepted a respite placement of a 7 month old little boy I'll simply call "C." He was soooo cute but very high maintenance! The kid was over 20lbs easily and just wanted to be held. His FM told me that he needs to be rocked to sleep, held when eating (table food), etc. She is a single FM (my hat goes off to all of you who do this alone!) and he is the only child in her home. Yeah...you can imagine him coming to MY house! We do not do quiet very well here! lol! He was a bit overwhelmed at first, but overall adjusted pretty quickly.
Having him here was weird. Everything I did for him I would daydream a bit back to when I did that for Choo Choo. Making/feeding him bottles, rocking him, laying him down, playing with particular toys and so on.
Yesterday I served in the infant room at church and there was a sweet young 20-something in there. Her comment to be was "babies and I don't get along!" I thought "why are you serving in here then?" lol! I told her she may change her mind in time and she said "I doubt it!!!" After a bit I put "C" near her to see what she would do. He immediately tried to pull himself into her lap. She accepted him and the rest was beautiful! She sang with him, played with him, and by the end was telling me what an amazing thing we were doing for him. She said that her family had adopted a boy from foster care on his 14th b-day :) While we were cleaning the toys after all the parents came she said "can I show him to my mom? She's in another room." I told her "sure, why not?" I walked with her over there and she said to her mom that "when she grows up" she wants to adopt! :) Several other women, some of whom I don't even know, were so excited to gush over a baby and one even said "I heard through the grapevine you had another one!" Really? I don't know you, but that's great!
I was really tired yesterday (he didn't sleep well) and I'm getting a bit of a cold, plus I had a horrible headache. I feel bad for the woman who said "I could never foster because I'd get too attached and couldn't let go!" Ok...we foster parents hear this (bad) excuse ALL the time and perhaps I was a bit short with her, but let's just chalk that up to not feeling well and "things we don't say to foster parents." lol! No really, I wasn't mean, but I did give her my spiel :)
It's really interesting processing grief. This is our first "long-term" goodbye and the sadness pops up at the craziest times. A wise and sweet social worker (you know who you are!) told us not long ago to "feel everything." If we stuff these feelings (no matter which ones they are) we cannot heal and move on to continue to fulfill our calling. Yesterday afternoon as I pulled in the driveway after picking up Choo Choo he realized my husband's car was not there. He immediately burst into tears and said "Mommy I'm sad!!" :( I got him out of his car seat and we just had a good cry together in the back seat of the minivan! He was trying to hold all that in, but Daddy not being home when he got there was just the last straw! :( That won't happen again!
On Sat. I talked to him on the phone and he didn't have much to say other than "I don't know" when I asked him questions. The only thing he asked me was "do I get to come to your house today?" He didn't cry at all. I think it's starting to sink in. He didn't call it home :( Everyone is trying their best to prepare him. I sent a picture book with him and some of his personal toys to keep over there. I think gradually moving his things will help him as well. I sent a church CD that his favorite Miss Leah gave to him and his uncle said he blasted it in the car and in the house and wanted to listen to it over and over.
He has been a bit different coming back this time. He's not so aggressive...more loving and just wants to be by us. There has been some tussles with Michael though. All Michael does when Choo Choo leaves is ask when he's coming back, but when he's here all they do is fight. I'm just not sure if it's his way of processing, or if Michael is pushing him away to start to separate the emotions. I can't get in that 4 yr old's head, so we just keep on giving lots of love and reassurances. Michael really enjoyed having the baby here this weekend though and gave him lots of hugs and kisses.
Hubby and I had discussed having a "party" for Choo Choo as our final goodbye rather than a "cold" parking lot transfer. I approached Uncle about it and he thought it was a great idea. We are going to meet at a park 1/2 way between our houses and Choo Choo's two families will have a bbq, have some cake and play together. A celebration of his first family (ok...so we really are his second, but we are the only ones he ever really knew) and his forever family! Uncle/Aunt say they want us to remain in his life, so we are praying we will have continued contact with him and get to continue to watch this amazing little person grow and develop!