Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Recertification Blues

Last year I so lucked out. The normal inspector just quit after taking a vacation and then a medical leave, which was followed by a personal problems leave, which segued into blank stares and vague excuses why she was no longer with our agency.

The office manager, newly promoted after everyone moved up the ladder rung left by the first director did our inspection. She sat at my kitchen table for much of it asking me where things were and how things are done. And apologizing for being disorganized. I assured her it was okay. I told nothing but the truth, but I didn't invite her to check things I thought she may have missed; that was her job and she was definitely stressed out and did not need more to do.

This year will be tough. I can feel it. Plus, we haven't had kids for a while so we are soft - as I sit looking at the Advil bottle and other meds on the counter, the wire and computer stuff sitting on the unused high chair tray, and the piles of "stuff" everywhere that will have to find its home before a week from Wednesday. Neil also has three mixers in the driveway and a work bench piled high with dangerous chemicals that toddlers like to drink for snacks.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the brick pile and posts that sit on the side of the driveway. The side that Neil backed his truck into last month. (so glad that wasn't me! I'm am so sure there wouldn't have been as much laughter. :-)

So you get the picture. Things are bad here and we needed a reason to clean up. So basically recertification is a blessing in disguise?


Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Psalms 2:12

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Book Review: Swings Hanging From Every Tree

Swings Hanging From Every Tree - Daily Inspirations For Foster & Adoptive Parents

This is really a great book for those who have been there. The stories are touching, sad, funny, and everything in between. These are their stories, but they are ours also.

If you have done foster care you will read stories that you could have written yourself and recognize your former children among these pages.

This book is set up as daily devotions for foster & adoptive parents so they are a quick read. Read it daily, or read them when you can, but do read the stories. They will touch you and inspire you to keep going when the going gets tough.

I also really enjoyed many, but not all, of the quotes throughout the book. If you have read my blog before, you know I'm a sucker for a good quote. ;-)

Warning: You may even cry while reading the book, but it will be a good cry.


P.S. If you know a foster mom who needs a little something to remind her how important she is, this book would make a wonderful gift.

"Sit loosely in the saddle of life."
Robert Louis Stevenson
from the book :-)

Monday, August 11, 2008

What ever happened to N?

Loss is a sad part of life in the foster care system.
  • children lose their families
  • parents lose their children
  • and foster families lose multiple children they have come to love
So, what about N? We truthfully never expected her to be a "loss" for us. We didn't want to take her in the first place, weren't supposed to have her more than a few days, and she ended up staying for over two months. We all fell in love, but were prepared for her going. It was a good thing; an aunt in TN was adopting her and we were all thrilled.

We met the aunt, talked with her several times, had her over at our house when she came to go to court, and we really advocated on her behalf so she could adopt. We also helped her to build a relationship with N for those two months. The plan was to stay in touch. N was really attached to us and it seemed like a positive thing for all.

N left in early June. And called us almost daily for weeks. Really. I also talked to her Aunt on a few occasions and we seemed to be friends. We have a big box for N that we stuffed with a few things she left and many more things we wanted to give her: some books and movies she loved, and a new t-shirt we bought for her. We called for the address and they have never called us again. N would not stop wanting to talk to us overnight. She was calling us all the time with her aunt's permission.

What happened? Did N have problems attaching and the Aunt thought it best to cut all previous ties? Why not tell me? I don't think we will ever know. We want to send her the box and I could call her adoption worker and drop it off to her, but part of me thinks it may be best to just forget it. The whole situation is weird. I know N had lied in therapy previously and caused huge problems for a previous family. Did she say something about us because she was mad at us? I hate to not follow up to protect myself, but self preservation is a natural reaction in the system.

Goodbye N.

Fare thee well! and if for ever,
Still for ever, fare thee well.
~Lord Byron

Friday, August 8, 2008

D Update

Staying in D's life has been such a blessing - so far - because most bio mom's do not want the foster mom around after they get their children back. I understand why they feel that way. Who wants a constant reminder of when you were thought to be an unfit parent? And I wouldn't want the woman around who had raised my children. Especially if the child stilled called the other woman mommy.

Thankfully D's mom does not feel the same way. She has let our family have D about every other weekend for the past few months since the kids were returned home. She says she has hurt D enough and doesn't want to cause her more pain by cutting off her relationship with us. (although, the mom still professes innocence. . .) I know the mom enjoys the free babysitting, but I truthfully don't care why she let's us see D; just that she does. D thinks we are her family and we really are. Blood does not make a family.

The mom looks like a hooker all of the sudden. She had on tons of makeup last time we say her. I mean a crazy amount, and all glossy and thick. She is on the hunt again.

Since leaving, D's hair has been chopped almost to the scalp by a crazy uncle who I don't trust. But DCFS seems to be fine with him so who am I to judge??

Now the mom said we could have D on Thursday and on the way there she called me and said she was on the freeway on the way to Los angeles, and that she had just been picked up. Then acted surprised that we were on our way to get D. Why the call? I'm not sure.

I am a bit worried. And no, I don't think this mother is going to just surrender her child to me out of the goodness of her heart. I am not naive. Still, I will stay involved and watch out for D and all her siblings. And if the mom ever drops the ball we will be there to pick it up. In the mean time, we are blessed to have our D fixes when we can get them. When foster kids leave they do take a piece of you with them forever, but D owns all our hearts.


While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I'm Expecting. . .

the phone to ring very soon. Call me crazy, but I called to put my name on "the list" again.

I found out the intake worker for our agency has left, so now we have to break in another one. That is okay. The last one tried to make everyone think that you were her favorite family, so she was basically always lying or manipulating you.

Lying and manipulation in the foster care system? I know - a shocker.

Really, she is sick. She would call you with a baby or child and act like she had done you a favor and given you something that many would kill for, but out of her love for you and only you, she has bypassed the other deserving souls on "the list" to give you this new prized possession.

When I called today and spoke to Miss A who is filling in until someone is hired, it was quite refreshing. She sounded genuinely happy to speak to me, but did not make fake professions of love. It was nice for a change.

She did say that "the board" was not filled, meaning there are not many homes available to take children now, so it shouldn't be long before we are called. I'll keep you posted.

Tomorrow Neil and I are going in for some training, but the yearly requirements really are a post in themselves so I will leave that for another day.


I waited patiently for the Lord
He inclined to me and heard my cry.
Psalm 40:1

Monday, August 4, 2008

#1 Worst Thing About Being a Foster Care Parent

How do I choose? There are so many horrible things about being a foster parent. . .

If I could choose from a list of bad things about being a foster parent - the list would be long - this is my choice:

You will fall in love with the children.

So, you may ask what is the #1 Best thing about being a foster parent??

You will fall in love with the children.

Whether they leave in a month or a year, it will be one of the most painful things you ever go through. But, like childbirth, we keep doing it over and over again.

Why? It is simple; the good outweighs the bad.


Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127: 3-5

Friday, August 1, 2008

We Miss Babies

My girls have convinced me it is time to open our home for foster children again. Time to open our hearts to a child who will need love more than a place to sleep, food to eat, and clean clothes to wear.

Brianna and Brooke talk about it all the time.

We were in a store the other day and looking at some item, and I claimed we didn't have anyone in our house that needed it. Brianna says we need to call up and get us a baby. I said okay.

Then I laughed to myself. What a funny conversation if someone were to overhear us.

Here is a funny story from a foster mom talking about her young daughter:

". . .I asked the typical 'do you know where babies come from' question. Without hesitation she replied, 'Of course I do Mom. You just call the case worker!"

For many families, she is exactly right.


Families with babies and families without babies are sorry for each other.
~Ed Howe

Catching Up. . .

We have had much going on here: Many things and people to pray for and thank God for. I realize that I post on really personal stuff about babies who come and go, but not my family. So for a change, here is what is up with us:

  • Job didn't work out in Vegas, but Neil did get a better job here at home the day he returned. Thanking God He had plans we were unaware of.
  • While in Vegas we were able to see Grandpa, maybe for the last time. He isn't "our grandpa" although it feels like he is. In his 90s and dying, Grandpa still made you feel loved and special when you visit him. We will miss him and are praying for his family.
  • A good friend's dad died this last week. He was young and it was somewhat unexpected. Although I didn't know him, I love my friend who lost her daddy so I still cried.
  • My mom had a hip replacement while we were in Vegas. She looked great two days after surgery and I am praying she will get some quality of life back. We saw my dad and that is always fun. We get our sick warped humor from him. :-)
  • We are trying to save our house since it looks like we are staying. Praying our loan company may renegotiate with us. It is a long shot, but worth the try. Moving would not be fun. Have you seen our house?
  • Brandon got his driver's license last week! You can't keep them babies forever. Now to find him a car that is cheap, reliable, gets good gas mileage, and fits a 6'5" baby boy.
So, that is what is up with us. Oh, I'm sure there is a bit more, but Ill save it for another day. . .


Give thanks to the Lord for He is good;
His love endures forever.
Psalm 107:1