Foster Care has been a very happy and fulfilling journey for me. It's a path that I would choose again if I could do it all over. I love the person, faith, and marriage that has developed through my intersections with my babies and their families. My heart is full to capacity with the love and great memories Foster Care has brought me - and I'm excited because I know that someway, somehow more love will find a place as we add to our story.
At this very moment, however, I'm feeling the other end of the foster care experience. The part where I was "Mommy" to 3 beautiful babies who own my heart, but I can't hold, kiss, or rock any of them. They are celebrating today with people who don't know all the verses to "How much is that doggie in the window?"or that they like oatmeal made with apple juice. I don't know if they went to church this morning or if they had a nightmare last night. I can't kiss their next boo-boo though I want to so badly.
|Flowers from my Mom|
The fact is that Foster Care doesn't even try to give children the best life possible, it tries to give children their biological family. If their family is even remotely capable of giving the child a bed and meals, they get their kids back. Accepting that goal is part of being a foster parent. It's difficult to KNOW your child would have better nutrition, sleep schedule, schooling, vacations, and more hugs and kisses with you than with their bio-family, but that doesn't matter because the goal says that shared DNA trumps everything else. Today when I got a "Happy Mother's Day!" greeting, it was hard not to cry. I'd give up every single Mother's Day greeting, gift, and dinner for eternity if I could hold my babies right now. While the very caring people around me acknowledged my Motherhood, I had to go through the day without a single child calling me Mama.
|Cupcake Cake from Brandon|
This week we've had Respites 6 & 7 this week and they are really fun. They have the same types of medical needs as Baby 4, so their care fits nicely into our normal routine. 6 is the same age as 4 and they mostly enjoy each others company (although sharing is not a strong suit for either). 7 is 2yrs old, but she looks 18mo- tops. She has a very advanced vocabulary and this really delicate voice that makes her sound like an old woman. While she does her best to keep up with the boys, she still needs to be cuddled and babied sometimes. I've been more than happy to oblige. She gets tube feeds overnight and her foster mom told me that she has disconnected herself before, making a big mess by the time everyone else wakes up in the morning. I decided to put her in the crib in our room so I can make sure that doesn't happen here. I love love love having a baby in the crib in our room. A child that sleeps through the night is a great little roommate! It's given me quite the case of baby fever.
|Respites 6, 7, & Baby 4|
Our homefinding caseworker called me on Wednesday to set up a time for our re-cert inspection. She asked me what I thought of taking other placements, or if we wanted to put a hold on our house until we are better settled with Baby 4. She said that we are likely to get calls quickly now that we have done well with medically frail children. I told her we would want another as long as Baby 4 can remain the oldest, so under 4yrs old. Now I'm rethinking that- I really miss babies. While I want to call her first thing tomorrow and say, "Scratch what I said before, we want another placement under 1yr old.", I'm also questioning the intensity of my feelings. I kind of feel like the woman who wants to get pregnant to save her marriage, but of course that doesn't work because a baby just puts stress on the fractures that were already there. Do I want a baby just to smooth over the struggles I'm having with foster care? Will a baby just set me up for more heartbreak and doubt in the system that I'm a part of? Or would a baby just be awesome, and I over think EVERYTHING? Time will tell I guess, because you know if I get a Hallelujah call, I'm saying yes.