Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Four Hours in a Row!

Yes, I really did get four hours of sleep - all in a row last night! Baby J has not been a good sleeper from day two. Day one, he fooled me, slept all night, never to accomplish this task again. It must have been the trauma of leaving his mom, the strange family (us ;-) or the first night in his comfy new crib. For whatever reason, he slept until morning and I thought I had hit the foster care jackpot.

A baby who sleeps through the night is a thing of beauty.

Day two: J settles in and reveals his true colors. He is a horrible sleeper and proud of it.

Hence, I have been delirious for the past three weeks. Oh, other family members try to be supportive, but how can they? They have never gone through mommy 101, so they do not have the natural inclination to arise from slumber when a baby whimpers.

Brandon will stay up until all hours of the night with me if a baby will not go to sleep, but if a baby wakes up at 2:00 am it is really useless to wake him as he probably just fell asleep himself.

Brianna, bless her heart, is just not a night person. The other children and I have had to come to terms with this. Somehow she did not get the night owl gene. When her clock shuts down for the night it is over. Now, she is the first one to rise in the morning and always has been, so what she lacks at midnight she makes up for at 7:00 a.m morning feedings!

Brooke has a heart of gold and good intentions. She will even plan our middle of the night sessions with the crying baby of the month. Pick a movie or two ahead of time and insist I wake her up when the little tyke starts to cry. Well, good intentions are just that sometimes. She really is a trooper if I have the energy to drag her out of bed, but a quick tap or jarring nudge will usually just cause her to pull the covers up tight as she rolls on over. The first few nights she will jump at the call, but when her sleep meter gets low and she is not functioning on her full beauty rest, it is hard to convince her to get out of bed for another round of Anne of Green Gables or Pride and Prejudice.

So what do I owe this night of a little over four hours of uninterrupted slumber? I would love to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you. . .


How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
Proverbs 6:9

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Something Positive Out of the Pain

I am sure you have all either experienced it yourself or at least been close to someone who has.

You know when you are going through a horrible trial and the pain is so great you want out. Sometimes, someone, a well meaning friend or family member, says those words that don't help at the time, but they are mean to comfort you. They will tell you that someday you will be able to help someone else because of the trial you are going through now. The experience can somehow be positive because you will use it to ease someone else's pain and suffering. . .

Today, N, our seven year old foster daughter asked to call her mom. She meant her previous foster mom. She has been moved from her home and is missing her and her two "foster sisters" she lived with. She was not told why by any therapist and so she has not been able to heal or have any type of closure about the move. I decided enough was enough. She needed to be told something.

Well, I did explain things a bit more than anyone else did. It really helped her to understand that it was out of love that her foster mom tried to sabotage her adoption by her aunt. Her foster mom loved her and wanted to keep her. But it was wrong and now she can't have any contact with N because of it. (it is a long story!)

I was also able to explain things using the comparison of me and D, our foster daughter who was returned home to her mom while we were in the midst of adopting her. She lived with us for one year. N met D last weekend when she came for a visit.

I explained to N that I loved D like her foster mom loved her. I loved D so much that I wanted to keep her and adopt her. But the judge at court decided she would go home to her mom. Even though I disagreed, I had to do what the court said to do. support the decision and return D to her mother. Since I did not try to sabotage the plan or get in the way, or cause problems for the mom, I now have been so blessed to have D remain in our lives. She is now with her mom and family, but comes to visit every week or two. N saw how much D loved us and how much we love her, but that it is also good that D is with family now. We didn't try to keep her so we can still see her.

N was able to understand finally that her foster mom loved her so much that she did something wrong and now can't see her. Not because she doesn't want to.

I know you see where I am going with this. :-) Our trial and pain of losing D has helped me to explain to N what happened to make her half to move and not be able to talk to her previous family. She really was happy to finally know the truth - or as much as I know.

So it is true that God can help you use your trials to help others. I still don't want the trials, but it is nice to have something positive to do with the pain. The Lord does command us to encourage and lift up one another. He even gives us the means to do it.


Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Foster Care False Allegations and Mandatory Court Reporters

Yesterday was an eye opener. I had the experience of someone allowing me to eavesdrop on/ their conversation and truthfully I kind of wish I had left to give them privacy. I heard something that was downright frightening to think about. If you aren't a foster parent it isn't something to worry too much about - although it could happen to you too.

keep in mind that I am changing the names to protect the innocent, but giving them names to help the flow of the story)

I was at our foster agency picking up the baby from his visit with Best Drug Mommy. Another foster mom was dropping off two of her little ones to visit their mom. She asked the mom to come outside to speak with her. My daughter and I were there so I told Donna that we would step inside. She said no, we could stay where we were. We stayed.

The mom of her two foster kids is a mentally ill woman and she has abused and neglected her kids because of it so her kids are in foster care. They were taken into custody to protect them from their mother and they are in a wonderful home. I know of the family. They are upper middle class, middle aged, stable, loving, and do foster care because they can provide a good home for children who need it. Most foster homes are not abusive low class families doing foster care "for the money." Believe me, they could make more with a job at Walmart.

Back to the conversation: Foster mom Donna, a conservative Christian with a classy European accent, quickly asked me to excuse her French. I guess she knew the conversation would be bad.

It turns out that the bio mom reported the foster mom for abusing her kids. CPS (Child Protective Services) had showed up at her door to investigate. It was a false report and the bio mom tried to deny it at first. She said her therapist had reported it. Well, her therapist has never seen the children and only was taking the moms word for it. The mom said her daughter had a black eye.

The daughter is anemic and always has dark looking circles under her eyes because of her condition. Her son apparently had a bruise on his forehead one day that he got while playing and walked into the wall. The bio mom knows the kids aren't abused and she is darn lucky they are in such a good home! She is mentally ill, her children have been taken away and she is trying to cause trouble. She is actually hurting her children. They will now be moved from an excellent foster home and a family that they have bonded with. People always complain about all the moves foster kids go through. The bio mom caused this herself.

She has also caused trouble for a caring, responsible, safe, and loving foster family. Yes, the report will be found unwarranted, but the damage is done. This family will have this on record and suffer through an investigation because the therapist is a mandated court reporter and he is required by law to report this.

Could he have called the agency, social worker involved, asked someone to check the children, or used common sense before calling in the report? Probably. But he didn't.

Who else is a mandated court reporter for expected child abuse? All public officials, doctors, teachers, and more. And me. Yes, foster parents are mandated court reporters. Would I ever call in a report because of one bruise on an otherwise happy, healthy, well cared for child? NO.

But some people do and it is a little scary. Will I think twice now before taking in an older child who could call in a false report themselves for attention? Will I refuse to take a child from a mentally ill parent who has visitation rights? Yes, to both of those. I know there could be exceptions, but I have a family to think of. I know things can happen anyway, but I can't knowingly and purposely put my family in harm.

It could happen to any of us, but the fact that we are more at risk is kind of scary and sad.

Yes, someone has to protect the little ones. But there is real abuse going on in the world. Calling in a report for a little girl with a dark circle under her eye and no other cause for concern is crazy. What's the world coming to?


You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
Exodus 20:16