Sunday, January 30, 2011

life long slacker

one thing that is a H-U-G-E challenge w/ the foster care process is that i (and darling hubby) are laid back life long slackers.

paperwork x's a billion, major renovations to home and "storage", and oh yeah... having to be neater and cleaner

HUGE HUGE HUGE challenge

my hubby is far exceeding me in his ability to change (at the moment)

i am tired and sore and cranky... less now that my class load has been lightened, but still not at my best.

i feel unmotivated (my spirit is into everything but actually getting up to do the needed work - not so much)

sooo... this post shall be short so i can move on... laundry and cleaning calls

Sunday, January 23, 2011

anticipation and dread... meeting 3

MEETING 3  - description from online adopting from foster care site

Losses and Gains: The Need to be a Loss Expert

Explores the impact of separation on the growth and development of children, and the impact of foster care and adoptive placement on the emotions and behaviors of children and parents. Examines personal losses (death, divorce, infertility, children leaving home) and how difficult life experiences affect success as adoptive parents or foster parents. Emphasizes the partnership roles of foster parents, adoptive parents, and social workers in turning separation losses into gains.

Blech... the part that makes me nervous -> examines personal losses. In other words... I'm going to have to tell my story (see top bar - what happened?). Don't want to.

Usually I'm cool w/ it and can detach and view it as a teachable moment.

I don't wanna... I don't want to change in their mind. I don't want to become the tragic story. I have a feeling the other couples have infertility struggles. I don't envy that. It's just the whole blood and gore... the "LIFETIME MOVIE" feeling of it all.

Something else that sort of freaks me out... I have to do it infront of my hubby. Maybe I'll have him tell the story, either way... it's a different pressure. We haven't ever had to tell people infront of each other.

Please keep us in your prayers this week...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

and then there were 9...

3rd class of MAPP (which is technically class 2 of the program). How do children come into foster care?

This class was great... we did a role play (they said it was sculpturing more than actual role-play). It took the ENTIRE class.

By the end of class I realized how easy it is for someone to lose control of their situation and end up in the system. In the scenario, we had a family go from "normal" stressed, family to having to have their kids removed. None of it vicious, malicious, just out of control. I asked in reality how long would the kids be in the system. 6 to 9 months. WOW. I felt a new appreciation for how difficult it must be for the birth parents and how not to demonize people in the system.

I had already been thinking about reunification and such after reading a post by FosterParentJourney. There was a comment to the post about how the goal is GOOD ENOUGH not ideal.

Our goal in becoming foster parents is to walk with #1 - the child and #2 the FAMILY of the child. I think so many people (not in the system) forget about the family. While I would love love love to eventually adopt children, it is a loss for the child, the family, and society if parents and children are not reunited. Our job as foster parents is to FOSTER a relationship between the children and the parents. To (in our limited contact) build up the parents, not judge for past mistakes.

Been really thinking of the parents as this song has been playing.

This has especially been on my mind as our class has dropped in size again. We are down to 9 (maybe 10) in the class. Darling husband and I are the only ones for foster care. FOR A FOUR COUNTY AREA. We are the only ones in this course (they have staggered courses starting every other month).

I read a stat (from 2008). Our area needs 300-400 foster homes. At the time - they had under 200.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

more than one way

one of the comments at the very first week of class that hit me especially hard...

the teachers mentioned that those wanting straight up adoption needed to realize that there wouldn't be any babies under the age of 5, and if they wanted babies they would need to do private or international adoption.

one of the other prospective foster parents made the comment about how it's a baby market and tsked tsked the idea

there are tons of ways that mommas hurt other mommas.

i remember thinking when i was a new momma being so angry at the judgemental breastfeeding mommas. i breastfed, loved it, thought it was the best for me. but didn't have the judgemental attitude that others had. i never thought i would be that way...

and then i looked at my attitude towards private and international adoption...

i have a confession. i used to not understand at all. i used to be resentful. i thought horrible things about the whole international adoption thing. i made assumptions that people were looking for high price babies as fashion accessories NOT love of children. i did not think they wanted to help kids. after all... if you want to help kids, why wouldn't you do foster care?

i was wrong.

how did i drop the judgemental jargon?

i began reading this blog and met the mother of this family through church i also met a mother (whose name i don't remember) who was PASSIONATE about international and private adoption and met my plans of fostering with anything but understanding and spent a good half an hour trying to talk me out of it.

i am ashamed now knowing how when i first heard of Kim's journey, i felt resentful. why raise all this money? there are so many kids who need homes here, and you don't have to raise money. i admit i was also in the midst of the grief of realizing we needed to push back our own journey in the foster care system by a year. a friend gently pointed out that there was more than one way to help kids, it went to the back of my mind and percolated. as i continued reading the RAGE blog and started my reading and research about transracial adoption (just in case we adopt across races). i read more and more about situations around the world of orphanges and the conditions some children live in daily.

then one day, it was as if scales dropped from my eyes.

she and i both love kids.

we both have hearts for kids who need love.

kids who others have forgotten.

she and i are both moms to kids we don't know yet.

kids whose names we didn't know, kids who we pray for, kids who we grieve for without knowing what they are going through. kids who live a life we can't imagine.

i am so glad those scales fell off. when she finally found out the name of her daughter and first saw her pictures. i was able to truly rejoice. this week she will be thinking of her daughter - who is still have a world away, as she turns 4. and i will hold them in my prayers.

while we are walking different different paths... to the same goal. to love kids.

God has a plan for all of us... while he will use me to reach kids in the US foster system... he will use other families to reach children all over the globe...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

MAPP Class 1 - for real this time :)

Apparently last week was an orientation...

This week the grand total of attendees was 14.

Quite a few of last weeks people are gone... including a interracial couple and a single black woman. I had really hoped they would stick around. I have read so much about how % of African American children in foster care is higher than the % in the general population. I will love any child and do my best. But... i know that my life experience has not prepared me to raise a child who may face racial discrimination, teasing, etc. I have been voraciously reading any blog I can find... and keep meaning to purchase books on the topic (to read when I don't know!)

Also not present was a couple who really seemed to have teenagers on their hearts. They spoke a bit about their faith and how they felt God was leading them to foster. I really hope there was a conflict in schedules and they return. They had asked some odd questions (like can we blood test kids for illnesses) but truly seemed to have the kids' interests at heart.

On the other hand, the woman who kept asking questions that were not "nice" about birth families is gone, as is the woman who was possibly intoxicated. While I would love to see the class chock-ful of people, I already feel protective and want only the best for these kids.

There were 2 new couples (yeah!) and a new single woman (but unfortunately i overheard a convo after class and sounds like something STUPID will keep her from being able to do it - she and the teacher were upset... teacher is going to see if there is a loophole or something). The new couples seem awesome. One of the couples includes a social worker who is looking at a specific group of 3 siblings!!!!! The other set seem like an awesome couple - man is a deputy... I was paired up w/ him for a get to know you activity. I asked if he has ever removed kids - yup.

We spoke about WHY kids are in foster care. There is a guy, who seems nice and will be great, who added if a parent has died. I asked if that happens often - quick answer - NO. What I thought....

then i heard the statistic 70%. 70% of foster kids have been sexually abused. 70%. my stomach hurts. i feel a bit nauseous.

as my dad has said when he gives people tours of the shelter and is speaking about the need to support the organization. you can ALMOST understand someone losing it once or twice with their kid and using too rough of physical punishment. those people have hope of rehabilitation. HOW HOW HOW HOW can someone f**k their own kid? HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW HOW can someone find pleasure? power?

my babies, my babies... that's all i can think about.

Most kids aren't removed for sexual abuse. but often once they are in care, it comes out.

We talked about looking at behaviors and what feelings and emotions come about.

They used a couple of specific example behaviors, which I cannot use here. CONFIDENTIALITY. officially... it will be a struggle for me but i can do it! One behavior (that is not case specific) is chronic, public masturbation as a sign of sexual abuse. This is of course in the case of young children (prepubescent). Since I worked in the shelter, I was not surprised, dear hubby though, had not heard of this.

The activities were great, and really focused us on what to expect.
A surprise at the end of class ---- our first home study will be scheduled soon --- and it will be in the next couple of weeks! ohhhhh crud.... sooo.... ciao as I begin the deep cleaning of our home!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

MAPP Class Week 1 - Orientation.... or wow... wonder who'll be back next week

Ok... i know i'm a geek and obsessively research things.

but seriously - some of the people at the MAPP class tonight shocked me w/ how little they seemed to know.

it was almost as if they had plucked 16 other people off the street to take the course.
there were two personalities that stood out the most to me...

one woman who... talked MORE THAN ME!!!!!!!!!! interjecting her personal experiences to every question or comment people had... and would end up making the two teachers cringe.

some of her questions/comments that most shocked me:

---- why would anyone ever consent to an open adoption, it seems mean and confusing to the kids, and if the parents are drug addicts, not safe, you never know what they may do... and proceeded to tell a horror story of a friend of hers whose open adoption is going badly

---- what if the natural parents come and bang on our door and try to get their kids back? will we be safe?

The best response I heard from our teacher... "you really need to stop watching LIFETIME movies". she also was quick to point out that of her EIGHT adopted children, FOUR are OPEN and they have never had anything nasty or horrible happen to them

another woman was (according to hubby) drunk or stoned... i think maybe mentally impaired w/ a thick "King of the Hill" mumbling accent (according to hubby - she was slurring)

i know i'm being slightly harsh.... i remember thinking the same thing in birthing classes... don't these people know how important this is????? why haven't they read/researched/learned everything they can????? i was especially surprised with this in the foster care classes because it is such a concious decision. you don't ACCIDENTLY become a foster parent!

So... the class

Mainly tonight was all paper work to be filled out and due dates (oh my!). Good information was learned --- but thanks to most of it was review for us.

i knew what to expect tonight because i had googled the crap out of MAPP foster care classes trying to find some sort of outline.

best source ---outline of different foster care classes

I love the two teachers so far.

In our area there are TWO agencies that deal with prospective foster/adoptive parents. In order to protect our and (their) anonymity somewhat --- they shall be called Ray(she is full of sunshine and happy) and Daisy.

Ray is from the agency that my father has been involved with since it's founding. It began as a children's shelter and had grown from there. Sounds like they will be doing alot of the support for foster parents. Daisy is from the case worker agency. The agency that is, in some ways, over the other (but not really).... nothing is clear in this picture. They deal w/ adoptions as well.

i am sooooo excited to get into the classes where we learn more information. nervous to see who will return. so far from the 4 counties these agencies serve... we are the ONLY ones from our county!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

48 Hours

48 hours from now...

we will be home from our first class...

we will have officially "started" the process that began almost 15 years ago and confirmed 4.5 years ago...

we will see what "other" hopeful foster parents look like...

we will (maybe) have some questions answered...

we will officially become the "annoying" students (i am prepped w/ highlighters, color coded sticky notes, and a soon to be LONG list of questions to be answered)...

i can't believe it's FINALLY happening... i can't believe it's ALREADY here --- an oxymoronic statement but true to the core....

Years of research finally to have the specifics for MY area covered.  Anytime you research foster care it's always with the caveat that it's different state to state, county to county....

48 hours.... we will be home after our first MAPP class!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

the thought that counts...

Some of my favorite gifts this year were sweet, small and thoughtful...

My dear sweet hubby stumbled upon was forced to purchase my peanut charm <3. He had actually ordered a diff charm (but cancelled the order) of a family of 5!

My dear friend... whom I shall forever now refer to as Vixen due to a recent facebook post :) (and who has been previously mentioned as the giver of peanut's crib) bought a very sweet charm (little heart growing in big heart).

I have been wearing these charms almost everyday since recieving them. The peanut charm has become almost a worry stone whenever I think of my sweet baby(ies) and what they are up to.

The third gift is an awesome book that I admired at my friend's (L) baby shower. (nickname to come... inspiration has not quite struck). It's a line a day book. I had told her I wish we had done one w/ Bee when he had been born, and she got one for our family and our new journey!

I have been itching to start and already have to play catch up as we were out of town on the first.

Speaking of our new journey... 4 days until we attend our first class! I have a feeling it will provide some interesting blog feed :)