Monday, March 23, 2009

Family Update


Spring is coming, and the return of the killdeer in the front yard is always a good sign that the winter doldrums will soon be behind us. It's been a long winter for this family, and we're looking forward to the brighter spring days ahead. We're on spring break this week -- a good time to take stock of things around us and get ready for what lies ahead.

An update on the family:
Sarah -- and the girls are still with us. We've enjoyed watching C. and E. grow and change this school year. It's amazing what a difference a few months can make! Girl scouts, friends, soccer, and bicycles keep them busy.

Ben and Julie -- H and A are awaiting the arrival of their new little brother in August. Ben's new job is improving, and Julie's hobby of photography is beginning to spread by word of mouth. She now has her first client, other than family and friends. Check out her pics in their blog Count Your Blessings.

George and Liz -- CN is 9 weeks old now, smiling, and settling in to a routine. This is Liz's first full week back at work -- a difficult transition for them all. Julie will be her babysitter, along with H and A as helpers.

Hugger -- played basketball at the state Special Olympic games this weekend. He proudly showed us his bronze medal, and said, "We won, we won!"

Teenager -- is still having a difficult time, and we continue to ask for prayer for her. The plan is for her to live with a foster family until she can return to us. We love her, and would love for her to be at home with us again. We miss her!!

Whistle -- is playing basketball. I know that's not news. He plays basketball more than half of every day, I'm sure. School is going well for him, and his attention is improving. Soccer season is beginning, with practices this month. If it involves a ball, he loves the game. We're still waiting for court action toward permanency for him.
Here's to spring mornings, with juice or coffee on the front porch!

A Game of Hope

Everyone can use some encouragement, and this school shows a great Christian example of support. In serving others, often we are the ones who are blessed.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Old Friends

Last weekend, we attended a wedding, and enjoyed seeing many friends we hadn't seen in several years. The groom is the son of very dear church and fostering friends of ours -- our mentors and friends since before we were married. We are also acquainted with the bride and her family, so we knew most of the people attending. Some of those we last saw as teens, and now they have families of their own. That happens so quickly, it seems!

For a couple of days after the wedding, we were blessed with visitors at home, the parents of the groom. We shared a lot -- hearing about their humanitarian and church work in Mexico, our experiences in this church community, stories about former foster children we've both had including some experiences and children in common, and the trials and tribulations of fostering very challenging children. It's a special time when you can be with people whose experiences have been similar - they "just get it" in so many ways that others don't. We didn't have to fill in background stories, explain our motives, or the outcome. They just knew. It was refreshing to be together again, and we look forward to the next time, even knowing it may be years away.

We shared laughs and tears, and one evening the laugh was on me, for sure! For supper that night, I planned an Italian dinner -- two kinds of ravioli, two sauces, with salad and bread. We were spending our time visiting, instead of worrying about food, and all were things I had on hand and easy to prepare.

Everything was fine until our guest tasted his dinner and said with surprise, "Oh, there's a bite to that!" I was surprised -- he lives in Mexico, and surely eats a lot of hot things. I didn't taste that "bite," at least at first, but soon I knew what he was talking about. I checked the kitchen and discovered that instead of adding a jar of spaghetti sauce to my pot of marinara, I'd added a 16 oz jar of picante sauce. There was a "bite" to that for sure, and I think an Italian diner would be surprised! As my friend Karen said, A little Mexican never hurt anyone!

Friday, March 13, 2009

You Know It's Been A Bad Day . . . .

We sometimes read about the families we work with in the paper. Sometimes we read newspaper stories about kids in tragic situations, and we've already been asked to care for those kids while family problems get worked out. Sometimes we get a different sort of news -- as shown by my good friend, the Mom of the "Ours" family. We also know the person this story is about, although we haven't had direct connections with him in a while.

Read her story here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Dark Mornings

I've never been very bothered by the change to daylight savings time, but it was a little different this year. It started with Midnight Teen's arrival on Saturday. Then on Sunday night, I couldn't sleep, and got back up for a couple of hours. On Monday morning, I hit the snooze button a time or two, looked at the clock, and a full hour had passed! I don't know what I did - slept through the radio, or turned it off -- who knows? I do know we hurried to get 3 kids dressed, fed, and two of them to school in thirty minutes!

I think it bothered Hugger more this year, too. He has a new alarm clock and gets himself up now, and on Tuesday morning, he called home early, and sounded very slow and groggy. He said, "Mommm? It's . . . still . . . dark!" I had to be the bearer of the bad news, "Yes, I know, but it's still time to get up and get dressed." Poor guy - I knew JUST how he felt!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Update on Midnight Teen

As often happens -- things didn't go exactly as planned, but it was a good experience for us, and hopefully, for the teen. We did get a call giving us the option to keep her longer so she could avoid going to a temporary shelter until they locate and arrange a foster home, but because of our licensing capacity, we couldn't consider that. Also - we are still working closely with our own Teenager's situation, and we don't want to complicate that with an additional child.

A few phone calls back and forth, and a pair of workers traveling from several counties away to meet the on-call worker from last night who was picking up her belongings. Plans to meet at the typical meeting place -- McDonald's. Midnight Teen is now on her way to a temporary place, and eventually, a new living situation. Children are not moved from home to home willy-nilly, as some think. There's always a reason. We do wish things were better for children, but many kids and families have more problems than they can deal with, and the resulting fallout is not good. Those problems are often multiplied through the generations. It is very sad. We are so limited in what we can do, but hopefully, we've been a bright spot for her for a few hours, at least.

Midnight Teen - we are saying prayers for you, and wish you well.

Middle of the Night Phone Call

It's 1:50 a.m. and if I hadn't done it earlier, I could change the clocks at 2:00 a.m. as the newspapers and anchormen remind us to. Instead (because I set my bedroom alarm clock in the afternoon, because that's the clock that really matters), we sit here waiting for a teenager to arrive. A teenager we haven't met yet - and we don't even know his/her name. We were told the sex, the age, and only because we asked, the circumstances of why this teen needs a bed in the middle of the night. From the relief in the worker's voice when we agreed to take the teen overnight, I think we were a long way down the list of emergency foster parents; those who would consider taking a child on very short notice.

One part of foster care that isn't often talked about is called "emergency foster care." Usually, kids come and go during weekday, daytime hours, but that isn't always possible. Things happen at odd times, too. A parent gets detained or arrested and there's no one to call to stay with the children; a teen runs away from home, foster home, or other residence; or some other circumstance. The story is never the same. Once we had 3 preschool-age children, including a baby in an infant seat, arrive at midnight, because the parents' meth lab in their home was "busted." The children were very thirsty, very dirty, and very upset and crying over the disruption to their "normal" life.

Lots of things go through our minds as we begin to wake up, and make preparations for the new arrival. Tonight, our first realization was that Hugger is home overnight, and is in the bedroom we need for this child. Oops! He's cooperative, although confused, and moves across the hall to sleep in Whistle's room. I check the room, taking out anything that could be dangerous or tempting to a teen, and make up the bed. Then I check the bathroom, and then wait. Will it be an angry teen, fed up with the system, and be at risk for running away? Will this be one who needs medication, and will they have it with them? Not likely. Will we regret that they don't have their medicine, and haven't had any all day? Possibly. We were told that this child would be picked up tomorrow by another agency, and transported elsewhere. Will that actually happen? Maybe. But maybe not.
Update: unknown teen is here, is tired, and is cooperative. At least for now. My first impression is that this will go well, and for that, I'm thankful. Morning telephone calls should make the transfer plan for later in the day, and we'll see what happens. Back to bed now, and hopefully we'll get a little more sleep before morning comes.

Friday, March 6, 2009

LSD is Homeless?

I'm not feeling inspired to write anything insightful, so will share with you this headline from the local newspaper:

Deputies Find LSD in Search of Home

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Answering Machine Error

I made a phone call yesterday, and this is the message I heard:

(Automated voice) "The person you are trying to call . . .
(Homeowner's voice) "I'm sorry, but I'm not available."
(Automated voice) ". . . has a voice mailbox that is full." "Please try your call again later."

Today, I tried again, and heard:
(Automated voice) "The person you are trying to call . . ."
(Homeowner's voice) "I'm sorry, but I'm not available."
(Automated voice) " . . . is not available . . . "

Technology . . .gone dorky. It struck my funny bone, but now that I'm writing it . . . maybe you just had to be there.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Grandma Time!

I saw a baby onesie with the saying on it, "I need some Grandma Time!" What a great idea, a tee shirt to remind those kids of ours to come visit, and give us some grandma and grandpa time! This weekend it was extra nice to have an opportunity to spend some time with the three youngest girls who call me grandma.

Ben and Julie came to the area to celebrate a friend's birthday on Friday evening, and they and their girls spent Friday night and Saturday with us. It was a special pleasure to read to H at bedtime, pray with her, and be the one to tuck her in. They helped us with some church cleaning in the morning, and we spent the afternoon just relaxing, reading books and playing with the girls. Thirty minutes after they left, Liz and George arrived for CN's first overnight visit. At this young age, every visit brings lots of changes as she goes from being a newborn, to an infant who reacts to things around her.

What a joy to get to be with these delightful little girls!

Speaking of granddaughters -- I've begun to notice changes in C and E, too. Since they came to stay with us a few months ago, C is stretching up to be so tall -- she reminds me more of a 4th grader than a 2nd grade girl. She busies herself around the house with coloring and other creative projects. She spent the night last night with her friend Firecracker, and it sounds like there was not a dull moment with the two of them together. C's sister E is also growing up and changing. She has just learned to "ride a two-wheel bike," so she goes outside several times a day to ride down the driveway and back. E loves helping grandma with the cooking and cleaning, too. Last night, she helped Hugger set the table for dinner, and she told him to get the casserole from the oven. He did as she instructed, and it wasn't until 30 minutes later when I went to check the status of the cooking dinner that I discovered it was already on the table! It went back into the oven to finish, and we had a family dinner with George and Liz, even though a little later than expected.

5 sweet little girls. What could be better than that? Well -- only the anticipation of the next grandchild in August. Next month brings the time for the sonogram, so we may find out if it's girl number 6, or our first little boy.

There is nothing sweeter to my ears than those little voices saying, "Grandma . . ."