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 :)


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


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.