Friday, July 1, 2011

All Possibility, No Certainty

This week has been super fun and crazy busy. We have Baby 4, Respite 2, and Respite 8. They are all fitting in well together. While these next few weeks are jam packed with trainings, service plan reviews, preschool testing, and court- I'm enjoying every minute with these 3 cuties.

Baby 4 has been such a big helper, and has increased in his usual request of having, "2 babies and 2 boys" to having "5 babies and 2 boys". I have been very intentional about making him the star of this week. I tell him all the time that he is my favorite, and that I'm so happy to have a big boy in our family. He thinks it's so funny when I say, "Oh 4!! These babies make me do so much work! Giving them bottles and changing their diapers makes me so tired! When are they going to be big like you?!". Brandon also made a big deal of having a big boy day with 4 and taking him to see Cars 2.

I called our caseworker on Tuesday to let her know how much we are enjoying Respite 8 and how he has reinforced my desire for a baby. Her response? "Yeah, I actually thought of you guys when he came into care last month." WhAt?!?!?!??!?! We were skipped over for him?! She went on to explain that his case was pretty clear cut and he would be reuniting with his Mom very soon and it would be hard for us to have such a short placement. I agreed and I get it, but it's a little unnerving to know someone else decided against letting us add to our family- even temporarily- especially since his foster care placement is expected to be about 8weeks long and we're doing respite for 3 weeks. How are we to emotionally engaged to do 8 weeks, but not 3? hmmm... I guess I don't like being aware that there are people sitting at desks in an office building making big decisions for my family.

Speaking of big decisions about our family- I think we're being considered for another baby. Our county has all the kids in care go to the county foster care clinic. All of my kids have regularly seen nurse practitioners, but there is one pediatrician who is technically the Dr for all the kids in care. When we were there last week with Baby 4, the Dr stopped me in the hallway and says, "Your name came up in a meeting today." She told me about a one yr old who has severe congenital defects and very low function. She said that although he's 1yr, he functions like a newborn and needs a lot of medical care. The Dr said he'll be coming into care soon and we were being looked at for his placement. She said that we were her recommendation. My caseworker hasn't heard about him yet, so who knows what will happen.

Some of the considerations that we would have to make before accepting another medically frail child would be:
Can he travel in the car?
How many surgeries/ hospitalizations are expected?
How much nursing/ therapies does he need weekly?
What is the expected bio-parent visit schedule? Do I have to be present for those? (I have to be in the building for 4's visits because nobody there is proficient in his care)
Do we expect his condition to improve over time, or is there a poor prognosis?

This is where life with foster care perks up. We're coming back from the black hole of "goodbye", made it through the rocky road of a new case, climbed the mountain of new caseworker style and information, and navigated through the detour signs of relative resources. Now we can be happy- knowing we are living our calling and enjoying this stage of our family. It gets even better from here as we are continually getting better at reading Baby 4's cues and needs, and he gets better at being open with his hopes and feelings. Even though I'm looking forward to the next Hallelujah call, it's not that urgent, "I don't want to be alone" feeling. It's a peaceful, something good is going to happen feeling. I cherish the memories I have when we were in this phase with Baby 1 and then 2 & 3. It's exciting to know this time will be on my list of favorites forever.

Baby 4 ducking on the caterpillar ride at the festival

I have no idea what's in store for our family. I don't know what would have been if Respite 8 was Baby 5. It's a toss up if we will get a call for the precious baby with the broken heart. I could be writing to you next week about our new sibling group of 4 or it could be months before I hear the matcher's voice again. Anything is possible, nothing is certain, and everything has been planned by my God, who knew our story long before we started living it.

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