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One Week Later – Feeling Better

Napkin Holder

It was just last Saturday that we reunited Boy with his parents. It was really stinking hard to get anything done last week. Beautiful made great progress on house stuff on Monday and then quickly slipped into wandering around in a daze. I don’t blame her, since she was the one whose schedule was most impacted by Boy – I still had to come upstairs to work every day.

His parents (wonderfully) e-mailed us multiple times per day to let us know what he was doing, how they were doing, and even questions about “he’s doing this, what would you do?” Those messages, more than anything, lifted our spirits. We knew each day that, though he has a different life with them, it’s not a bad life. Different doesn’t mean bad, it just means “not how we did things.”

They soon friended us on Facebook (yes, I’m doing THAT on Facebook, but that’s about it) and we are going to walk with them in Dad’s diabetes walk this Saturday. By the time the weekend rolled around, we confirmed going to Home Depot with them for the monthly kids’ project – a turkey napkin holder – and brought over Beautiful’s homemade lasagna for lunch. I think we were pretty much with them from 9am until 2pm.

They confirmed our picking Boy up in the morning for church, so we were back again at 9am and brought him back for nap around 2pm (see a trend?). He fell asleep in the car on the way there, so I think he was tired from playing and having time with our whole family at our house. He noticed everything that had changed (not much) around the house, and I think that brought continuity to his young mind that we are still there, his old room is still there, and that we all still love him.

We’re still reeling from the change, but excited to see how excited they are.

Our Last Day with Boy

Today is our last day to spend with Boy fully in our family. Tomorrow morning, we’ll be dropping him off at his parents’ home for reunification with them. We’ve done as much as we can to prepare him for the transition, and he is clearly troubled by the proclamation of change coming.


We told him Wednesday morning – I immediately declared to the world that I was taking the rest of the week off – and he often stopped playing and stared at his toys for a while. We started giving him the toys we’d bought for him for Christmas and went to Target to get him a (Spiderman) backpack for his cars… and I couldn’t resist getting him 5 more cars.


He woke with a very troubled cry and Boy sobbed on my shoulder for a good 3 minutes before I got him out of his nite-nite diaper. We gave him another toy (a huge John Deere tractor with a front-end loader) and we played with it for a while until he got that stare again. Once in the kitchen, he lost his dinner from the night before – he was so worked up over the whole thing.

Instead of his parents’ normal unsupervised visits out and about, we took him over, sat and talked with them, answered questions, set up his toys in his room, and played a while. Then we left to come back 3 hours later after they’d had lunch.

When we returned, it was clear that he belongs with them – he was comfortable and looks so much like them! We went straight to Nana and Papa’s house for playing and dinner. He got some more presents and we gathered more things for him to get started in his new home.

Going forward

Super encouraging, his parents expressed how much harm they think it’d be to never see us again, so they said we could pick him up for church every Sunday or whenever. We invited them to hop in the car whenever they want to come along to get out of the house on a weekend. On our way home, we realized how nice it was to sit and visit for far longer than we expected, it wasn’t awkward, and we thought that instead of always taking him out, we could sometimes just come over and bring dinner for everyone.

So… tomorrow, we’ll drop him off, go home for a few hours, and then drive across the bay for his mom’s wheelchair games event. We asked if they’d rather us bow out from that earlier invitation, given the timing now. His dad said, “we might as well make it a big, fun family day together.” They consider us his family now, and we don’t have any problem with that. We’re here to help, encourage, and continue a relationship with Boy as we build relationships with his parents.

Taking a break

Fun - after a whileWe are going to be taking a couple of months off from fostering now. Our specialist moved us to the inactive list while we heal and get to know his parents. Besides that, we personally need to spend more time together: dating, laughing, relaxing – the stuff we did before we had a toddler who was the focus of most of our daily attention. Business-wise, we’ve had several “barely made it” months and a couple of dipping into savings months, so I really need to build up another nest egg before we bring in another little one. After the holidays will be best for all so we have some idea of planning things without last-minute “oh, you need to be available for a visit on Thanksgiving or Christmas” news.

Changing things up

We are thinking that, since we went a bit over our comfort zone of 0-2 with a 2 1/2 yo we had for 6 months, we’d try to wait for a 4-12 month old girl this time. Not walking or talking would be a change, eh?

Going Home – A “Happy” Ending

SadIf we were really happy, we wouldn’t be so sad. We’ve both already cried today and it just about made it impossible to put on a happy face for Boy.

At 4pm, I got a call from his case manager that his parents were cleared for reunification with him this weekend. We are glad that he gets to leave “the system” now and have spent some quality time with his parents recently, so we know more of what he’s going back home to – rather than reports, hearsay, and a butt-load of “he said, she said” from various parties.

They absolutely want us to continue to be a part of his life because they feel that to never see us again after 6 months of constant care and attention would only further damage him. We whole-heartedly agree. We’ll definitely need wisdom to know when and how much, but they have (more than once) suggested weekends or vacations.

Future possibilities

How cool would that be?! We foster a boy from 2 1/2 to just past his 3rd birthday, take him from pointing and saying one word to ABCs, 1-10, Jesus Loves Me, using his imagination to play with his tractors (John Deere, of course), and climbing our stairs like a pro… let him fly away like a dove, but then get to watch him grow up.

I’m beyond words and I will be for a long time about how he’s changed us and how we’ve changed him. When it’s bedtime and he’s not ready to sleep yet, we can hear him singing and counting and then – wait for it – cheering himself on when he gets to the end!

Almost all of the food issues, separation issues, peace and safety issues and hitting, kicking, and biting have stopped. He’ll occasionally regress to a scary place in his mind and get quiet as he tries to make sense of where we’re going or why Jesse yelled “OUCH” as the wooden fire truck corner scrapes away a layer of skin off his shin.

Our last week

We took him out to dinner as a family tonight for the first time since we’ve had him. He really liked it! I’m taking the rest of the week off to be devoted to ensure that his transition home is as smooth as it can be.

I’d be proud to call him “son.” Man, I’m glad this isn’t on video… I’m a wreck writing this. He is so smart and nurturing with a memory far exceeding either of ours. But we both know from training that it won’t take much for him to fail in life.

We’re going to take a several week or several month break after this. We aren’t like normal foster parents who run their house like a dormitory or a puppy mill for foster kids. He was our only child for 6 whole months. Our daily activities revolved around him. We will never be the same.

Truly blessed. Lots of lessons learned for later posts.

Frustration, I Call You “The System”

When we started our foster care training, during the very first class the instructor told us that we will never know frustration like that experienced when dealing with “the system.”

Many times over already, this has been proven true.

We’re split up today with me at Nanna’s house working and writing while she plays with Boy and Beautiful is home packing the car and doing errands so we don’t make Boy worried all day since we still don’t know if we’re leaving.

Our latest saga involves giving Boy’s case manager 3 weeks’ notice that we will be making a trip to Ohio and we worked out what we could do with Boy during that time. Knowing full well about the trip and most of its details other than exact dates or exact time requested, she didn’t say a word to his parents for permission.

Here is is, 1pm with a target departure time of 6pm, and she says she can’t get to their house to ask them (long story about why she can’t call them)… and even when that happens, I’m thinking there is a 2% chance that she can get a court order to take him, unless she has the order made and just needs actual permission.

We’ve contacted our Family Care Specialist (she’s basically our case manager to help us in our dealings with case managers) and she’s seeing how she can expedite things and has a call in with said disorganized person’s supervisor.

I’m thinking that when we return, it’s just going to be time to have it all out in the open with the agency because of repeated last-minute demands and various emergencies at the hand of their lack of planning.