Friday, May 20, 2016

The prayer request

After church, a teacher in the children's ministry told B about a prayer request.  Dinosaur had asked for prayer because he felt sad that Crocodile would leave our home and he would miss him.

There are no immediate plans for Crocodile to move, but there are several possible outcomes that lead that direction, some sooner than later.  And I think even if he thought he might stay, we would still plant the idea of a probable goodbye.  It's hard to know how to handle the possibility of adoption with kids, and I know if we had a case that really was going toward adoption, it would be hard to know what to say.  We have close friends who will be finalizing an adoption soon.  I want to celebrate with my kids that know that family, and yet I know it could be painful for them to know that for this foster family, they didn't have to say goodbye that time.  So why do they have to say goodbye to the foster siblings that they love?

We talked about his sad feelings.  "I just love playing with him so much!"  We brainstormed what can help (taking lots of pictures and videos, especially some of them playing together).  We had just watched Inside Out, and talked about how we can feel sad about happy things because we miss someone or worry about losing them.  We talked about how in the movie when Sadness came out, it could lead to help, comfort, and sometimes good things  And we were always hear to talk when he felt sad.

It still felt incomplete.  They fall hard for kids, and Dinosaur has fallen especially hard for Crocodile.  He talks about his cuteness pretty much every day.  God help their tender hearts, help them to mend and go on to be listening ears for others that experience loss.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Awkward Moments in Foster Care: Come on in!

We were expecting an unannounced caseworker visit this month.  The doorbell rang, and I opened the door to someone who introduced herself to me.  So, I introduce myself back and welcomed her in, thinking that our caseworker must not be able to make it for some reason, and this is a supervisor I've never met.

"Um, actually, I'll just pick up the t-shirts.  Are these the t-shirts?"

I suddenly remember that someone I hadn't met before was picking up t-shirts from me, totally not foster-related.  I tried to explain my confusion, but as she said goodbye I could tell she didn't quite get it.  "Nice meeting you!  Good luck on your interview!"

B pulled in and his first words were, "I think a caseworker is at the door."

Foster care: at least 50% of the people at our door are caseworkers.

Monday, May 16, 2016

A Day in Pictures - May 2016

I've finally admitted that I will nearly never get a "first day" post up soon after the first day of the month.  I have been pretty successful at remembering to take pictures on the first day of the month, though, so I'll keep doing that and posting them when I get to it sometime that month.  This was a Sunday, with church, crafty creations, some cool spring weather, and trying to figure out dates to suggest for an "unscheduled" caseworker visit.  It ended up happening on May 12, not even two weeks into the month.  Foster parents, is that not a first?  I'm pretty sure it was for us.  I'm always on edge before them, so I'm feeling pretty grateful.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

My stisters

Imagine Crocodile's sisters' names are something like Sonya and Sierra.  When Crocodile came to us, they had one name no matter which sister he was talking about.  Imagine something like Sina.  So, Sina was pointed out to us in pictures, and he would talk about what Sina did and we were never sure which sister he meant.

A few months ago, their names became distinct, though still not quite the right pronunciation, so something like Sira and Sina.

Recently, he uses their names, but he is also especially proud and pleased that they are his "stisters."  He likes to talk about this after he's seen them, and he just nods his head with a little more energy and satisfaction when he says it.

His "stisters" have not had an easy life, and Crocodile has been spared some of their ups and downs.  They recently moved homes, and Sonya asked a lot about Crocodile.  In transitions and unsure times, they cling to the most constant things they can: siblings.  I think of Cricket.  I talked to someone close to her after she moved to be with her sister, and she said she was like a different child.  All this hidden joy came out of her, having the security of knowing her sister was with her.

There is hope that if reunification does not happen that Crocodile and his sisters will be together.  We are not the family that can make that happen, but there is a possibility.  All of that is far ahead, and in the meantime we're going to try to make sure he can have more sibling time than the minimum we've been doing.  Where we live, that's once per month (plus they see each other at parenting time with mom).  Why not have more time in the first place?  It's hard to plan and schedule with busy foster families, honestly.  But the new family is eager to plan it and I think we'll make it happen.

The longer the case goes, the easier it is to forget sometimes that Dinosaur and Rhinoceros are not his only siblings.  I have to be pretty intentional to be a part of keeping that bond going.

I don't know our future as foster parents, but I hope at some point we're able to foster siblings and prevent separation in the first place.  I wish we could have been ready to do that from the start, but if we had waited until we were ready, we wouldn't have been there for the five kids we've had.  They would have just been in different homes, still separated from siblings.