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(no subject) [Jul. 24th, 2006|01:21 am]
I plan it in my head, and the words are there...

but when I actually speak, they come out wrong...

and I am left aching once again.

Then the phone rings.  Its 1 a.m...  

He is ok, but their car is battered up. His girlfriend is shaken.  

And the ache gets bigger...

Then a small voice 

from the darkened room...

Ma Ma

Is it a question?  Or a statement...

Yes dear, go to sleep sweetie...

 mama is here.

At least for now.

And the ache grows yet again.

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(no subject) [Jul. 20th, 2006|07:04 am]
Things are moving on.

She finally talked with me, which makes me feel much better.  The silence was deafening, and my heart ached to know she was alright.

Took Lynn bowling yesterday.  Bowled about 6 frames and she was ready to go home.  This was our third week and I am getting the idea that we are done with it.  

Nateefah is pulling to stand all the time now.  Very ackwardly, with her feet all pronated, with toes pointing straight out sideways and actually standing on the insides of her feet.  But she is pulling to stand so that is an accomplishment.  

April is getting very cute.  She is a funny baby - all cheeks, hardly any nose, slits for eyes - she always looked put together from pieces of several different faces.  But as she is getting older, she is getting much cuter.  And her personality sparkles.  

Her auntie (out of state) has been approved but needs to take new foster parent classes which are not offered by that agency in the summer.  So they are trying to find her classes through another agency.  Now the worker says another relative has come forward up here, so we shall see.  Why all this checking of relatives didn't happen sooner I'll never know.  Mom has been 'blowing it' again and again over the past couple of years (she will be here 2 years this September!!!) and it seems someone should have seen the signs that maybe this wouldn't work out with mom and maybe we should be working toward placement with someone else as well.  

Between last week and this coming week, I will only see my son for 1 hour IF I can time it right to come home from class at just the right moment.  *Sigh*   I will miss him, but the girlfriend he must see.  He says he is enjoying camp counseling, and that it doesn't feel like he is 'roughing it' so that is good.  

Its hard to have your kids grow up, everything changes and despite you love of each other, they move on.
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(no subject) [Jul. 4th, 2006|05:38 am]
What causes a young woman who is beautiful, kind, talented, artistic, and interesting to have no confidence in herself?  And those adjectives are not my words, but the words of many, many others.  Why is it necessary to have a guy around to prove one's worth? 

And why would a young man treat the women he claims to love (mom, girlfriend) with such contempt and distain?  Why be so intolerant of faults in others when you are asking them to tolerate you with all your faults and and short-comings?
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(no subject) [Jun. 21st, 2006|07:17 pm]
"I realize, too, that I now have a substantial past, which means that I am no longer young, but have become more interesting to myself."

                                                                                 Shirley Hazzard, The Great Fire

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(no subject) [Jun. 21st, 2006|12:27 pm]
Nateefah had her MRI done yesterday.  So in a couple of days I can call the doc and see if anything has turned up in either that or the bloodwork or pelvic x-ray he ordered.  She is finally getting on her hands and knees occasionally, (20 months of age, 16 1/2 months corrected) and yesterday for the first time she put her hands on the bars of her crib as though she were going to try to pull up to her knees.  She didn't but hey, it's a start!

Last night I again taught the class for new foster parent/relative care providers.  This entire class is relatives caring for children already in their home.  My regular agency co-trainer was off for the evening and she sent a substitute.  The topic was discipline.

There is one couple who are very forward, brutally honest, and somewhat confrontational.  They brought up several difficult issues:

"You're tellin us we can't spank the kids or you will take the kids out of our home.  But you give the kids all the power.  We can't spank them, we can only take away privaleges, but what happens when we take away a privalege and the kid gets mad, picks up the phone and says "uncle so-and-so just spanked me" - you come and take the kids out of my home.  So either way I can't win"

and, in response to the worker stating that you don't want to spank a kid, you just want to love them (which he repeated again and again, ad nauseam)

"When I was young I got beatins' when I was bad, but never once did I question that my mother loved me."

To both comments:  

Agency worker:  "Thank you for sharing, we need to move on:"

These folks were completely shutting down - heck, if you won't listen to them, why should they at all listen to you?

Both times I felt the need to interject, and I hope the worker didn't feel I was stepping on his toes.  He actually seemed appreciative.  I think he was caught off guard and didn't know how to handle their comments.  But it is important to acknowledge folk's feelings and concerns.

To the first comment, I aknowledged that we are in a tough situation.  And the scenario he suggested does happen - and did happen recently to someone this couple and I both know!  My only suggestion was to be pro-active.  As much as folks do NOT want the agency involved in their lives, the agency is involved.  So use them!  If you are at all concerned about a child's behavior or their response to your discipline techniques, discuss it with the worker.  And keep the lines of communication open - 

plus I shared what recently happened with me and Lynn.  She woke up with what initially looked like a 'fat lip'. 

I said "Lynn, what happened to your lip" and she got all upset and made punching motions towards her mouth and said "oh, oh, got hit, got hit".  

I said 'did someone hit you?" and she completely calmed down and said 'no.'  

So I said, 'let me look at your lip' and she repeated "oh, oh got hit, got hit", gesturing toward her mouth.  But there were little blisters there as well, and so it didn't look like someone had hit her if you looked closely.  

So I said "Lynn, did someone hit you" and she calmed down and said "no'.

Well, you can bet I got on the phone with everyone - doctor, school nurse, and case worker.  Because I wasn't going to wait until someone else asked her what happened to her lip and have her state 'someone hit me"

Turns out it was a cold sore - but it shows how vunerable we are as foster parents.  

To his second comment about being raised with beatins' and still knowing he was loved, I felt it important to acknowledge his point.  Many of us were spanked and turned out just fine.  But I wanted to point out that many of our kids - the ones in care in our homes -  do not have that strong foundation - they have been abused, or neglected, and do not have the strength that comes from knowing that you are loved unconditionally and that family will be there for you always and forever no matter what you do.  

Hopefully it gave them something to think about - this couple is caring for a niece and it has rocked their household.  The agency needs to work with them to acknowledge that yet help them to embrace agency policy - but this trainer made it seem like if we just love these kids everything will be perfect.  "just love them, just love them"  - he was like a broken record.

The woman I usually train with has been a role model for me - she doesn't dismiss folks, or their issues and concerns.  She meets them head on and addreses them.  So I can't take credit for interceding but...

hey, the system does suck at times, and if we won't admit that there is no hope of reaching folks.  But I hope by addressing their concerns I sent them home with stuff to think about rather than to just dismiss.  We shall see...

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(no subject) [Jun. 16th, 2006|02:25 pm]
Is it ok to slam doors and scream in here?

Cause if I do it at home, it scares the babies...

But I need to let off steam somewhere.

Life has felt a bit like a steamroller for the past few weeks.  And today, I got a chance to lay the babies down both at the same time, then laid myself down for what was going to be 15 minutes of time to relax.  It's just been a bizarre mix of appointments, meetings, and some unexpected happenings for weeks, complicated by what I think is a sinus infection that has been feeling kinda punky.

So, I lay myself down for that precious 15 minutes, and barely did my head hit the pillow (and I never, NEVER, lay down in bed during the day, so you know how desperate I was) when the doorbell rings.

The aide is here to pick up April for a visit.  No visit scheduled for today, this is the in-between week.  No call from the worker to make me aware of this unscheduled visit.  April is not ready, AND I WANT MY NAP!!!!!

But mom is on her way so instead I take two aspirin, and get April up and dressed and ready.  She looks adorable.  But now there is no time to lay down before the kids get home and I take Lynn to the doctor.  And the aide wants me to rush back by 4:30 so she can leave on time because her vacation starts today.  

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(no subject) [Jun. 9th, 2006|11:18 pm]
I don't often cry in this 'business'.  My heart breaks for these kids - for their pasts, for their stories, for their losses.  But I don't often cry, because a few tears would, I fear, open the floodgates and the flow would never stop.  And then there would be no hope, for hope would drown in the tears.  And I have to have hope in order to let go and move on.  An optimism that the future will be better than the past, that change is possible, and that any calamity can be overcome.

But tonight I cried.  At Lynn's prom.  For in that room was so much hope and optimism, so much enthusiasm...

...yet so many calamities that can not be overcome.  Downs, microcephaly, fragile x ... the parents of these children can not hope for change.  They face a future very different than the norm.  The past is full of memories of classrooms and teachers, therapy and special programming, care and security.  The future...a large unkown.

Yet these children danced their hearts out.  Together, alone, it didn't matter.  It didn't even matter if the music stopped.  They danced on, they laughed, they ate, and they enjoyed themselves.  

And for some reason,  I cried...
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(no subject) [May. 31st, 2006|11:46 pm]
When our kids do something wrong, it is hard on me and R.., and our relationship.   

I think I understand more about that after tonight. 

I tend to look back, while he looks forward.   

:   Remember when they were little, how they used to...(insert any cute behavior of said children)          Remember when we were younger, how we used to...(insert your choice...sex, drugs, rock & roll...whatever...the 'sins' of our past) 

What will become of this child of ours if they continue to...(insert any mistake said children have made)            How long will we need to continue to support them if they...(don't shape up and make something of themselves) 

And, his insistance on the ultimate question - WHY? For which there can never be an answer that satisfies. 

My head is turned to the past.  R.. and I made many mistakes when we were younger.  There were things we did that, had our parents found out, they would have been heartsick.  There were choices I made that my mom agonized over, fearing for my future.  So, I don't know how can I step in and give ultimatums to my children when they make their own mistakes?   

R.. has his head turned the other way.  He fears for their future, and wants the best for them.  He doesn't know how he can NOT give ultimatums and try to guide his children so they won't make their own mistakes.   

So, we butt heads.  And it is a shame, because we both love these kids tremendously and have their best interest at heart.  It just comes out is such different ways.  He sees me as a limp rag when it comes to discipline and I see him as a ...actually I am struggling with words because everything comes out very negatively.  But I see him doing too much of the talking and questioning without actually listening to the answer, and of course there is the WHY? that drives me nuts because there can never be an answer that doesn't result in 'But why would you think/do that?' And every 'because' brings another 'why?' 

On a lighter note (Hahahahaha) - only one more day before inspection day.  The basement is the last place I need to tackle - mostly piles and piles of laundry to finish and put away.  Want it to look 'well ventilated' down there - last time the inspector kept poking around down there and asking me if it was well ventilated.  I didn't understand the question until she said that paint must be stored in a well-ventilated place, and we have a number of paint cans down there - all latex but she didn't care.  It is actually well-ventilated, I think, however piles and piles of laundry make it appear stuffy and close. But tonight I am too tired, and tomorrow I have something going on every minute until 9 pm, so I guess this will be a middle of the night project tomorrow night. 

Tonight, I must go cuddle with R.. - we deserve that time together.
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(no subject) [May. 28th, 2006|05:20 pm]
Lynn needed to get three immunizations the other day, and because of her low platelet count, the shots left huge bruises on her arms.  Poor girl, : (  her arms look so sore.

So, the bathroom is 1/2 done, the kids clothes are all organized finally - Lynn was living out of bins because I had no room in the dresser drawers because of out-grown baby clothes.  So now she has a dresser, April has a dresser, and Nateefah has a drawer in Kyesha's room plus a big under-the-crib bin.  Hope that is good enough for the inspection - I know they ask that each kid have drawers but as such a baby, Nateefah has no awareness of having drawer space or not.

I swept out the garage.  

Rob got me a new vacuum today.  It is purple, so Kyesha loves it but not enough to make much use of it, I fear.

Now I am going to clean up and vacuum the living room, then on to cleaning out the hall closets I think.  Most of my cleaning products are up out of reach of the kids, but I want to be sure nothing has creeped down to a lower shelf.
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(no subject) [May. 26th, 2006|08:26 pm]
19 months of age

and she has discovered the great wide world

or at least the great wide reaches of our home.

On her belly, using one arm to propel herself, legs dancing behind

Nateefah has learned that she can move from room to room


Maybe she is not keeping up with April

but with a little time she will get there.

hooray, little one!!!!!
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