This week we made it to a milestone. Well, I am not sure that it’s a real milestone in foster parenting, but in most jobs you get a 90 day review. I have learned that this a great opportunity to help employees know how great they are doing; really show them how they are contributing and fit in on the team. Of course, there is room for coaching BUT focusing on the really good things tends to reinforce the employee’s efforts.
So instead of self-depricating all over this post I will attempt to focus on the good things we have done in 90 days.
First, remember back to day one? The phone call came that the children would be in our home by the end of the day. Of course we assumed that would be around 5pm. Mary Beth came over and helped us sort clothes and toys; she ran some last minute errands for “needs.” Sharon and Lisa brought pizza for the kids to eat when they walked through the door. I can remember when we thought the kids had arrived, I had never experienced that level of nerves. They scooted out the door and we sat for another hour or so waiting.
It was around 9:30 pm when the car carrying the saddest, skinnest kids ever. The babies were here and crisis intervention began. We were all so scared.
I think we have sustained crisis intervention as part of the day to day, in my opinion that is probably the large majority of parenting. We put out fires of all sizes everyday starting at a bright and early hour. I would mostly say we are successful at morning routine. Kids get up, get dressed, brush teeth, eat breakfast, and go to school. 1-2 out of 5 days a week we nail it. The other 4-5 there are lots of tears and toddler stand-offs (yes, you have to wear pants EVERYDAY).
The drop off occurs, either way. All the children go to their place of business. I am so proud to announce we are 75% tear free. I am not a statistician, but it feels like more than less of the time the littles go to their rooms and play with friends. K, loves school; always has…mostly because she LOVES her teacher (and so do we). The challenge has come in the actual academic achievement. Its hard to play catch up when you weren’t present from the beginning. School is tough and I am not a teacher. But we often reflect on the feelings associated with homework and school related struggles. I even made a cute little worksheet for K to use when she is upset. And she sometimes (okay 3 times so far) uses it.
We are all growing and gaining weight. We talk, a lot. Specifically M. She is a chatty Kathy. She wakes up with a word quota and is diligent in reaching it. We are interested in hair and makeup including a daily ponytail and bow. H even wants a ponytail; anyone who has seen him recently can relish in the gelled little boy cut with chubby cheeks to boot.
We LOVE the dogs. From the cut, Berk and Ral were quarantined while the kids were getting acclimated. Now all the kids want to cuddle the dogs and participate in walking, feeding, and loving on them. Its really just the most adorable thing!
Church. Girl, I cant even go there without melting into a puddle. Those kids, that place. It’s the second most comfortable place for them. They sing songs, pass the peace, and reverently (well mostly, reverently….we are working on that) participate in communion. We love childrens church. And they sing all the songs all week long. We start everyday with the prayer from childrens church: God be in my head, God be in my heart, God be in my right hand, God be in my left hand (either hand can be left or right in our version), God be in my whole life. Amen. We started staying for the Sunday school hour because K is interested. The littles will hang in nursery without us (that is a miracle on its own). We sip coffee, holds hands, and connect (bless those moments).
We have FUN. Our life is so fun. We are exhausted all the time but its SO worth it. There is a lot of dancing. A lot of cookies and goldfish. Lots of park time and lots and lots of hugs, kisses, snuggles and I love you’s. We have sticker charts for good behavior and bubbles for the front porch. We have so many people who want to love on us and the kids; and we are humbled. Most recently we’ve started to mingle with other parents with kids and that is a really cool!
I feel like this is getting long but there are so many good things! When I am feeling down I will write a part 2; the areas of growth are unreal.
Some updates about us in the adult world. Because parenting 3 kids seemed boring (sarcasm) Meg and I are both in job transitions. Meg went back to American Work (where she worked in Augusta). It’s a dream job, well as dreamy as mental health can be. She is their Clinical Director for all their sites in the state and she gets to work from home. Boom, what a blessing. The job requires some travel but its totally within reason. I am starting my new job as the Program Coordinator of the Girls Residential Program at Wellspring Living. I am sad to leave the Georgia Center and this move is so fresh, I have nothing but a bag of mixed feelings…I cant wait for my new opportunity and I will miss the team I get to work with now.
We have learned a thing or 2 about teams, we are growing our “babysitter base”. We realize we need help all the time. From sick kids (they are basically germ factories) to date night to mothers helper nights we are very interested in asking for help when we need it. In fact, we are almost ready to re-engage with our adult friends on a more regular basis. Not that we’ve completely disappeared into parenthood but we are looking forward to sliding out for adult beverages with friends more frequently.
Lastly, the sunshine is here. Life with kids with sunshine is AWESOME. See below we ran in the sun all day today.
I will leave you with a snippet from a Facebook message I was having with my friend from college. She asked the most famous questions, we get these ones a lot. How long will this last? And how will you cope when they go?
“Our babies are with us until they aren’t. There isn’t really a time frame. Their parents are currently “working” their case plan. And with the most professional hat on we really hope mom and dad get it together and get all their kids back. All 9 of them. In all reality we went in to this with the hope kids would go back to better versions of the parents who lost them. It’s very Pollyanna. In the meantime. We are LOVING the shit out of these kids and giving them all the opportunities to thrive and experience childhood. When they do leave. Because they will. That’s pretty certain. It will be pretty shitty. We are all pretty attached Thems the breaks. We understand it will be hard. I am sure we have no idea how hard. But gratefully we have each other. And hopefully we will have the strength to do it again. I am sure the coping will involve heavy drinking And a lot of trips to the therapists office.”