He’s coming home!

He should be home next month!  It’s almost over, this long deployment!  I cannot even begin to describe the relief that I am feeling knowing that my soldier is almost home!  

I told the kiddos to make lists of what they want to do with Daddy when he gets here.  I told them we couldn’t do everything right away, but that we will work through their lists.  My husband still won’t be home full-time for a while.  His job is going to be complicated this year and he will be doing a lot of traveling, but he will be here for weekends, birthdays, and Christmas!  All of the things that he missed last year!  I’m so excited!!!

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Where’s your little boy?

We live in a “smallish” town.  We go to church, school, dance lessons, and the ball field all within about a five mile radius.  Most of the places I shop know me and my kiddos.  So, when we go somewhere these days, I hear, “where is your little boy?”  A little piece of me dies every time.  I explain in the most politically correct way that I can and I keep moving.  It hurts.  It rips off the bandaid.  But, I’ve just got to keep moving.  

“Foster Child”

I don’t know any.  In my book, they don’t exist!  Because, to me there are no “foster children.”  I can’t stand that label!  They are children!  

When you meet me or see me at the store, you may see me holding my daughter.  She looks nothing like me.  She is beautiful and she is mine.  I claim her.  I have NOT EVER introduced her as my “foster child.”  She is Baby Girl and she is the daughter God has given to me to raise right now.  She happens to be living in our home because she is a child living in foster care.  Unfortunate events that were completely OUT OF HER CONTROL brought her here.  She was let down at a very young age by the very people who were supposed to protect her and keep her safe, healthy, and fed.  She came to me a perfect little bundle and has grown into a wonderful bright and happy toddler!  She is my daughter and she currently lives in foster care, but I claim her and I always will! 

She’s 2!

I can’t believe my baby is two!  She has grown so much since that day long ago when she was brought to our house.  I want to share with you some of her preciousness on this special day!

* She is spunky, always ready to run and play!

* She is happy, such a happy happy baby!

* She is treasured!  There is not a day that goes by where I do not feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to our Lord for allowing me to be her foster mama!

* She is spoiled!  The members of this family have a hard time telling her, “no,” and she pretty much runs this place!  

* She makes us laugh!

* She loves her “baba” and her “gookie.” (Bottle and Pacifier)

* She doesn’t sleep as much as other babies, always wanting to be on the go and never wanting to miss a thing!

* She is loved!  We will love her forever, no matter where she lives!  

* She is the daughter of my heart!

Happy Birthday my sweet Baby Girl!

Dates 

I can remember them all.  Baby Girl has been in our care for 527 days.  I know all of the important dates that have happened during that time.  When I say I know them, it’s because I have journaled and written down everything that has happened in Baby Girl’s case while she has been in foster care.  I say this also because it is all still very cemented in my mind.  I can recall when visits were supposed to happen, but didn’t.  I can recall who said what to whom and when.  I have a written log of every phone call, every email, and pretty much every conversation that I have had with caseworkers, relatives, and lawyers or judges.  I know it all!  So, today when our new caseworker (our third one) called and needed dates because she couldn’t find them in the files and wanted to make sure she documented everything well, I was able to provide them to her immediately!  Foster Parents!!!  I cannot say this enough!  Document, document, document!  I mean everything!!!  Even though we have been visited by a caseworker repeatedly over the last 527 days, and some of them even took notes, I still am the one and only person who knows this case from start to now.  Me!  What if I didn’t keep track of this stuff? What if I didn’t care, didn’t know to, or didn’t think it would matter?  What would be happening to Baby Girl’s case now?  

I am so happy that I read somewhere in some blog or book to journal everything!  And so, I pass this knowledge onto you!  Please take notes, keep track, and journal all that you can!  I know you’re busy!  I know it takes time, but you might be the only person who does! 

15 years

Its been fifteen years since the day that I met my husband, my soulmate!  I cannot believe it has been that long and yet it feels longer.  I am so looking forward to him coming home next month and getting to spend time with him!  I don’t want much, just to sit next to him, hold his hand, hear his voice (not through the phone) and wake up beside him each and every day!  I can’t wait!  I feel extremely lucky and blessed that I am married to my best friend, and that after all of this time, I still really like him and want to be around him!  I guess long deployments and military assignments are good for one thing.  They sure do make you realize how much you love and miss somebody when they’re gone.  I cannot wait til he’s home! 

She’s going to be great!

We lucked out!  We really did!  Our new case worker seems amazing!  She came to the house today for her monthly visit.  She was on-time if not a little bit early.  She asked to see the house (thank goodness the kids did well cleaning their rooms last weekend) and the backyard and then we sat down in the living room to talk.  

She took meticulous notes, two pages full and didn’t rush to leave.  She wanted to hear the whole story from my point of view.  She had read the case file and she’d been filled in by her supervisor, but she cared about what I had to say.  After all, I am the ONLY person who has stayed the same since day one of this case.

She said the sweetest words to Baby Girl and I can tell that she truly likes children.  I should hope so!  She’s making decisions about the rest of their lives.  Anyway, all in all today’s visit went great!  I’m very happy.  

All over again

The brand new worker from the county will be here Monday morning at 10:00 a.m.  This will be Baby Girl’s third case worker in 17 months.  

We will pretty much be starting all over again.  Through no fault of her own, Baby Girl has now had three different adults who see her once a month (if that) deciding her future.  Three adults deciding what is best for her.  It is very scary to say the least.  But, I’m here.  I’ve been here since day one and I will be here to the end.  Until she is legally adopted or reunified with birth family, I will be here!  I am not going anywhere!  I will fight for her, I will advocate for her, I will tell her story to whoever will listen.  This baby deserves the best!  She deserves family!  She deserves love!  She deserves to be OUT of foster care!

You are wanted!

Baby Girl, you are wanted.  You are loved and you are adored.  Your little life started out so rough and I give all of the glory to God that He rescued you out of that bad situation at just 6 1/2 months old.  The moment you were carried into our lives through our front door, that lonely November night, your entire life changed.  Your sad little face took a few weeks to show happiness, but the joy came quickly after that.  You started to giggle and babble in your highchair right away, watching your siblings being so busy around you.  After we bonded and attached, you clung to me for several months, not ever letting me go.  You did not want to be left alone.  You would fight sleep and try to stay awake, I have no idea what your fear was, but we held you close and eventually you would drift off to dreamland.  We answered your every cry, running when you made just one peep.  You were loved from the beginning and 17 months later you are still the center of our world.  The whole house follows you around and watches your every move.  You have our full attention and you know it!  Telling you, “no” is hard and you definitely don’t like to hear it.  You dance, you sing, you have favorite songs and rhymes.  You play “patty cake” and “wheels on the bus,” and we all sing along with you.  You are our daughter.  You are our sister.  You are our joy.  Baby Girl you are loved!

It’s been 41 days since a social worker has been in our home.

It feels wrong.  I am so used to having a visit from a social worker at least once every two weeks.  We have two workers.  One from our agency and one from the county.  They both visit us once a month.  So, it is usually about every two weeks that we see one of them in our home.  But, since Little Man left over a month ago, we haven’t seen either of them.  Now, we have a visit scheduled for tomorrow with our worker from our agency, so the whole “social worker fast” will be over, but I was just sitting here today thinking how nice its been.  It is not that we don’t like our social workers.  Actually, the very opposite is true.  We like both of them very much, but its nice to just live life and forget about foster care for a while.

We’ve visited the beach, played in our pool, taken walks, watched movies, and just enjoyed being a family.  Only one more month and our Daddy will be home from his deployment to Afghanistan too and we’ll all get to celebrate together!