Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Big Load

This morning, waiting for the school bus:

Baby 4: I wish Baby 10 was here. Do you wish Baby 10 was here?

Me: Well, I miss her, but I'm happy for her that's she's back with her family.

Baby 4: I wish she didn't go back so we didn't have to say 'Goodbye'. I've had to say goodby to a lot of people

Then he listed all the people he doesn't live with anymore

It was a lengthy list

My heart broke for this tiny baby who carries a big load everyday. Usually he does it so well that I forget, but right then he was weary. The story that gave him a family also took so much away. Today it was more lonely than lovely. It's a normal Mama response to try to be the fixer, but all I could really do was hug him while he felt all his feelings.

Then he picked up his big load and went to school.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hallelujah Call

I named the calls I get for babies 'Hallelujah Calls' because on my old purple flip phone that I loved so much, the matchers numbers came up with the Hallelujah Chorus as the ringtone. I have since retired my beloved flip phone and no longer have the ringtone, but the excitement with each call is still the same.

Today I got a call for a baby. He was born premature, but healthy. He's a little 4lb peanut just like Baby 3. His family is having legal struggles that are preventing them from parenting him permanently. He has a relative resource that is raising his siblings. She wants him as well, but she needs time to decide if she can make the changes to her family that would need to happen before adding a new baby. The county does not think handing relative resource another baby is a good idea, but it will all depend on the resource and the judge in the end. I'm not ready to call him Baby 11 for that reason, but we're ready if he needs us.

The plan is for court at the end of the week and discharge from the NICU next week. I have to wait until court happens and the parents are informed of the removal before I can go see him. I'm hoping they go to court on Friday and inform the family of the plan right then so that we can visit all weekend and be super familiar with his care by discharge next week.

In the mean time, I have to:

  • Get preemie clothes down from the attic and wash them
  • Buy a visit bag and notebook
  • Buy newborn diapers
  • Wash the bottles
  • Wash the bassinet sheets for our room
  • Set up Pack'n'Play in the living room with the bassinet insert
  • Find my boppy pillow
  • Set up crib in Baby 4's room (I don't actually have to do that now, but it'll be good for Baby 4 to have time to prepare and for the caseworker to see our long term set up.)
  • Breathe

I'm fighting the urge to go out and buy every tiny cute boy thing I can. Little babies don't need tons of stuff, With all this time to prep, though, it's going to be a challenge. (Edit: between starting and finishing this post, I bought 2 onesies with little ties on them, a crocheted hat with matching pacifier clip, and socks that look like footballs on Etsy- So I'm pretty much doing awesome with this whole 'babies don't need stuff' point)

A week has never felt longer.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fare Thee Well

Baby 10 left yesterday. The first court date turned up a relative resource who was checked out and got custody yesterday at court. The siblings never ended up being placed together because the county figured less moves was better if they were just going home in a couple weeks.  Aside from the siblings being in separate homes, foster care worked the way it was supposed to in this situation. We kept 10 safe and loved until her family could make a plan to take care of her.

Baby 4 and Baby Girl both took to 10 very quickly. They wanted to be touching her and kissing her all the time. We explained what was happening Monday night at the dinner table. Baby 4 got teary eyed and wanted to talk about how he'll miss her and doesn't want her to leave. He also had a myriad of comments/questions about him leaving if his family can be safe. I reminded him that he's not in foster care and will live here forever no matter what happens in his family. He then asked me if I would have cried if he had gone home when he was in foster care. Seeing 10 leave obviously brought up his own grief and loss. I am proud of him talking about it so freely, though. Baby Girl is in total denial. In response to any questions about 10 leaving, she just shook her head no and signed 'all done'. Baby 9 was jealous and a bit displaced by the baby, so she's fine saying 'Goodbye'. 4 was comforted by talking about the next baby that might come. He might be a boy! He might be old enough to play outside with! 4 is excited to foster again. Brandon asked 9 if she wanted a new baby and she was very clear, "No.". We'll still have to work on her. She enjoys being the baby.

So I packed up all of Baby 10 belongings. She accumulated quite the collection in the 2 weeks she was here: clothes, shoes, books, diapers in two sizes, wipes, formula, rice cereal, bibs, burp cloths, blankets, swaddle wraps, bath soap, lotion, pacifiers, snowsuit (it is still snowing here in NY), coat, headbands. Everything the resource will need to take care of her for about a week, and clothes that should last until the next size up in a month or two. It might be overboard. I think overboard is a good description of how I foster in general. I want to be sure we make a difference. I want to be sure that we give everything we can.

I got the call after court and headed out to drop 10 off. It was a nice house in a beautiful neighborhood. Relative resource was pleasant and thanked me for caring for 10. She appreciated the notes I had written about immunizations, feedings, WIC, sleep schedules. Baby 10 was very comfortable with her right away. Turns out I had been saying baby's name wrong the entire time she was with us. Oops. I felt accomplished walking away knowing that they were set up to suceed in every way I could offer.

I cried pulling out of the neighborhood; then I turned down the radio and called the matchers to let them know we are open.

I had to stop myself from checking on baby 10 all night. I keep thinking she's sleeping in the swing or up in the crib. Baby 9 came and told me, "Baby's crying", and I had to remind her that Baby isn't here. It doesn't feel like we just fostered 10 for two weeks, she really became our family.

"Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation." Khalil Gibran