Monday, October 7, 2013

Wistful but blessed

No news on when Pterodactyl is leaving yet, and I just have a wistfulness going on.  This is what we wanted, to care for kids as long as they need our home.  I knew my heart would be broken, and it isn't nearly as dramatic as it could have been.  Our first placement could have stayed for years and then moved on.  That actually happens.

But I'm just thinking about the things that will remind me of her when she's suddenly not here.  The Voice: I watched an entire season while sitting up with her in the middle of the night.  When I'm Gone by Anna Kendrick: the song she loves that her birth mom was playing at a visit as I came to pick her up, so relieved not to hear crying for once.  All the baby girl clothes: I almost became more of a shopping mom with my first chance to dress a baby girl.

I'll add a few blessings.  We are blessed to see her calm down from her fussiness and a glimpse of the person she will be.  That brings some of the wistfulness, but at the same time, I wouldn't trade those smiles and bright eyes for anything.  She is healthy and growing up well.  We are blessed to know this transition is coming, somewhat.  We are blessed to know that her grandma wants her very much.  We are blessed that she is making this transition now, not after years without really bonding with her grandma or brothers.  We are blessed to have foster parent friends that understand our bittersweet feelings.

My heart is torn, but we are blessed.  And we have God as our help, and God as Pterodactyl's help.  At church on Sunday, in a time of speaking out scripture, I heard someone quote Psalm 121:8.  I love this psalm, but had never focused on that particular verse.  There's a lot of coming and going in foster care.

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Recording a foster child's life

Pterodactyl is still here, and I haven't heard anything new about her moving to her grandma.  The caseworker said it could be very soon, it could be weeks still.

So, I've started preparing for her move.  I'm replenishing many of her supplies like bottles and pacifiers to make sure she has plenty of the right kind, but mostly I've been working on her life book/baby book.  It's a bit of a combination, as life books often involve the child in sharing their thoughts and feelings about their foster/adoption story.  For children adopted as babies or very young, it provides a story of their transition from birth family or orphanage to adoptive family.  It might involve information on the birth family.  In our case, Pterodactyl will be with her birth family, her maternal grandma.  She will be the resource for family information, not my limited knowledge.  I considered just making it a book with photos and generic captions, but I wanted Pterodactyl to have a bit more than that.  She is the only one of her siblings that went into non-relative foster care.  What if later in life she's confused about that and has fears that one of those notorious in-it-for-the-money foster families took care of her?  What if she just feels like those months were lost while her grandma can tell stories about her brothers?

So, I'm telling a little about what she was like as a newborn and an infant.  I'm using two pages to show our family, cautious not to overwhelm her or her grandma with the presence of our family, but including us for who we are.  A note about how Dinosaur told the social worker every week at visits without fail, "She is such a cute baby."  A note telling the name the Rhinoceros called her, unable to pronounce her real name.  I'll include a letter from me that I haven't written yet.  I hope to end it with pictures from a good-bye party.  I hope we have enough warning for a good-bye party.

I hope whatever the grandma has been through (and I honestly don't know a lot of it) doesn't make her want to hide Pterodactyl's beginnings.  I hope Pterodactyl sees this book when she's older and somehow knows she had a loving home.

I hope we make it through this.