Monday, July 23, 2012

Getting Calls

My husband, Ryan, and I were licensed as foster parents in May. We are hoping to adopt an infant through the foster care system. We are willing to foster and see where the road leads, but in the end we are hoping we will be a forever family for some one.

So far we have gotten three calls. The first time we didn't have a chance to say yes or no. The second time we said no. The third time we said yes.

The first call came at 2 o'clock in the morning on a Saturday night. I hadn't seen the number before on my phone. My groggy self assumed it was a wrong number. But I couldn't fall asleep thinking it might be foster care calling. I sent a text to the number and they responded immediately. I stumbled into the kitchen to call them back. They were looking to place a baby and a child. We would have said no, but while I was on the phone the lady received a text and the kids were covered. It was nice to not have to say no for our first call. We would have said no because we don't feel our family is prepared to care for any children older than our youngest, for the long term. But it was nice to have the experience of getting a call without having to say yes or no. The next morning I told Ryan, "We got our first call last night." He thought I was joking. He slept through the whole thing. At first, I didn't think the call upset me too much, but as the day wore on I found myself a little shaken. Just knowing that somewhere in my city, in the middle of the night, two little kids were taken from their home because it wasn't safe. It's heartbreaking. I felt sad for the kids, and for the parents.

The second call came on a Thursday afternoon. I was in a meeting planning the dates and venue for a concert we'll be doing to celebrate the release of my first album. I apologetically excused myself saying, "This might be foster care." They were looking for a home for a toddler girl, whose case was moving towards adoption. I called Ryan. We decided the age difference between the toddler and Squeeze wasn't quite enough. I called back and told them no.

I then proceeded to feel like crap all afternoon.

I thought of a million ways we could make it work. I thought through all our reasons for the age difference, and questioned every single one of them. I knew it was the right decision for our family but thought, "Who's going to make the right decision for her?" The need overwhelmed me, even though I knew, deep down, it wasn't our need to fill. Ry and my sister reminded me that a little toddler girl was probably some other foster family's exact hope. By evening, I was ok with it all. I felt peaceful about our decision, and confident that the girl had been placed. We are, after all, not the only foster parents in this city. It was an emotional few hours. I hadn't expected it would be so difficult to say no.

The very next Friday we received our third call. I was in the check out line at Hy-Vee and ignored the call. I checked the voice mail as soon as I got in the van. This time they were looking to place an infant girl with some medical issues. I called them right back. She was definitely young enough for our family, and I was a little excited. Her medical issues seemed manageable. I called Ry, and he had some hesitations due to her medical issues, but his sister, who is a nurse, was with him and he got advice from her. I went to see my sister, who has handled similar medical issues with her preemie. A good friend who is a nurse, was also there and they both made me feel quite capable that we could handle it. With this baby's case we also knew that it was foster only, it was not moving towards adoption. For some reason I just felt we were supposed to say yes anyway. Ryan agreed and I called them to say yes. They told us that there was another family interested, and they would call us one way or the other. I hadn't really thought of that. As you can tell from my emotional reaction after our second call, in the heat of the moment I seem to think I am the only foster parent in this entire city. Even though I know this is not true because I'm friends with quite a few awesome foster parents. To make a long, few hours of washing baby clothes and making sure I had directions to the baby's daycare, short...they didn't choose us.

I was disappointed, and, honestly, a little relieved. I was a little let down, but happy to be just us and the girls for a little while longer. I felt a tiny tinge of sadness, but was so happy to know there was another family who wanted her. What a blessing it would be if our city was so over loaded with foster parents, there was always ten homes for every child.  By evening, I was tired from the emotional roller coaster, but I was fine.

Getting calls reminds me to take advantage of every day I have just me and the girls. We could get THE call any second. I'll continue to pray for the baby who will be placed with us, and their parents. It'll happen. I believe God has a perfect plan. Yeah, I'm cheesy like that.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Planning Ahead

Remember when I planned just one activity for each daughter, for every day, that one week? That was such a great idea. With not so great follow through. But I'm doing it again! Yesiree! And this time we will do it more than one week. Stop laughing. I'm thinking at least two. Actually, my goal is eight weeks of consistent, purposeful activity for Squiggle and Squeeze. Again, your giggles are not helpful.

My husband and I are leaning towards home schooling Squiggle for kindergarten. She is still three years out from that time, so we are still mulling things over. I thought preschool would be a great time to give it a try and see if it's something I enjoy, or hate. So I scheduled ourselves a school year from the beginning of July until the very end of April. (I read somewhere that if you live in a place that is HOT in the summertime, you should schedule your big summer break in Spring instead. Genius.) I planned it with a pattern of 8 weeks on, one week off. So it's like a year round school schedule, with a short summer break. Remember, this is all just one big test run.

I wrote down some goals I have for Squiggle and Squeeze this year. Things like recognizing the alphabet for Squiggle and naming colors for Squeeze. I also have some broader goals like scripture memorization for Squiggle, and reading the Jesus Storybook Bible to them both in the mornings. Spanish lessons are another big goal I have. Both girls are at a perfect stage for absorbing a second language and I want to jump on that.

I am planning one week at a time so I don't get too ahead of myself. I'm just using Google calendar to plan things. I just browse Pinterest and my favorite Mom blogs, consult my list of goals for the girls, and just pick some activities. I actually really like the planning part. Then I have a lesson planner to write down what we actually did each day. I know I need to keep some sort of records when we are in real school, so I thought this might be a good method to try out.

I'm nerding out about the whole thing, really. I hope I stick with it. At least for the first 8 weeks. I'm glad I have this time to try home school out without the pressure that my girls need to ACTUALLY be learning something. Like, important dates from the Revolutionary War. At the same time, I realize this won't be an entirely accurate picture of what it would be like to home school my girls in the future. But it will be a nice test of how well I can follow through and be consistent.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Squeeze and Elimination Communication: 19 Month Update

My daughter, Squeeze, now has 19 months of life under her belt. She also has about 18 moths of pottying under her belt. She is doing awesome. (I always get nervous when I write these update posts on elimination communication because EVERY time I do, I end up changing poopy pants that day. I swear. EVERY time. Fingers crossed this time I don't jinx it.)

Squeeze wears Gerber training pants during the day. For a while we were wearing those nasty plastic pants to try and contain wet messes. But I decided I'd rather clean up a mess once or twice a day, than have to pull those awful pants up and down her legs ten million times a day. Squeeze averages one wet accident, or miss, a day. She doesn't always volunteer that she needs to pee, but if you ask her she does know if she needs to or not. That is really helpful. She always volunteers that she needs to poop. We haven't had a poopy diaper since...I can't even remember. Probably since the last time I posted bragging about how long it had been since she pooped her pants.

This photo was taken in May. Isn't Squeeze a doll?

Squeeze is especially reliable when we are out running errands or doing something fun like the zoo. I no longer bring ten extra pairs of clothes in the diaper bag. She doesn't need to go every half hour while we are out, either. She can go almost two hours at a time without using the bathroom when we are out. She does a much better job of telling us she needs to go when we are out, as well. AND she says "Potty" now, rather than patting her crotch and saying "Boop". So much more socially acceptable.

When we are just hanging at home, we have more misses. My husband and I lose track of time, she's having fun playing, and she's more relaxed. But, still, not too many and no poop misses.

A newer development lately has been Squeeze keeping her pants dry at nap time and even overnight. She's pretty consistent with staying dry at nap. She has had a lot of dry diapers in the morning these past couple of weeks, too. That excites me. It means we are one step closer to making the smell of a pee filled diaper a distant memory. Until the next baby comes...

Overall, elimination communication with Squeeze has been awesome. I'm so glad I tried it a second time. Squiggle, my three year old, did great with elimination communication, but the second time around with Squeeze has been even better. I've been way more relaxed about it this time around, I started sooner, and have had a more rewarding experience.

I'll let you know if Squeeze poops her pants today after all this bragging.