I haven’t updated my blog in a few weeks and honestly, sometimes I just don’t know what to say! LOL! My Dear Foster Daughter (DFD) has been with me for almost a month now and it seems like we are getting used to having each other around. She is still sweet as pie and as silly as she can be, but we also still struggle with tantrums and meltdowns occasionally (like I am sure most bio moms would say as well). Over all, things are going well. I am very grateful that all of my placements have not been tumultuous so far. I’m going to break this entry down into sections, so I can try and capture all of my thoughts.
This has been my first dealings EVER with the public school system as a parent. It started out a bit rocky the first week as I was trying to switch my DFD contact information from her previous family. It seemed like the school staff wasn’t sure of what information I needed to bring in to make the change. Usually all that is needed is the placement letter from DSS which lets them know that this child is supposed to be with me. The school did take that, but they were unsure of what other proof I needed. So… I waited. We got all of that sorted out within 3 days. I also got to meet her teacher to learn more about the classroom dynamics and to actually learn more about how my DFD interacts with other children. Come to find out she is a social butterfly! Always helping and talking to other students. For 3 weeks, I had to drop her off and pick her up from school which was a HUGE deal. She has an early start and end time… so I had to take a late lunch to pick her up. We finally got the bus last week (after I threatened DSS)! It was great the first day, but the second day we missed the bus because the substitute bus driver came 10 minutes early and left the pickup location 6 minutes early. I learned to just sit outside 10 minutes early each day. I also learned from this that if I have another school aged child I will have to think long and hard about taking the placement if their school is far away. Luckily for me, her school is only 10 minutes from my home… but if her school was further south in the county, that would have been a nightmare for me logistically.
After School and Adjustments
So my DFD is not an only child. She is used to having siblings around to play with… which has been a huge adjustment for her… AND ME! I grew up as an only child plus I am an introvert. I know how to entertain myself and I actually like being alone (or at least don’t mind being alone). My DFD is the total opposite of me! Like I said, she is a total social butterfly! In her previous home, there was a sibling there with her to play with and they also went to aftercare after school. So she is used to always having someone to play with or a lot of options for play after school. Here… there is only me and I am still working when she gets out of school, so she has to learn how to entertain herself. I have plenty of toys for her to play with, activity books, coloring books, Lego blocks… you get it :-). When she gets home she has a snack and can either have one hour watching TV or on the tablet… then she has to go play. Do you know what this little one told me last week?? “But, I only have 11 toys to play with… not 100!!” First of all… she has more than 11… LOL… second of all… pick one of the 11 to play with. So she chose to sit here and stare at me working for 30 minutes…. and pout. Sometimes she annoys me! LOL!
Discipline and Small Victories
So if you know me… you know I am a rule follower. I don’t really rock the boat, if I’m asked to do something… I do it… no real push back. As an adult that has turned into being a fairly disciplined person that expects people to do the right thing also. **Side note… I am often disappointed in life.** LOL! As I said, this little one is extremely well behaved. She is sweet and she listens for the most part, but like a normal child… she likes to have certain things her way. Most of the time I let her do what she wants, as far as what she eats (at my house… it’s always balanced), what she wears, what she plays with, and what she wants to watch (My Little Pony ALL THE TIME). We have 3 non-negotiable’s. 1) You have to go to school, 2) You have to take a bath, and 3) You have to go to bed. I actually had to ask a friend if I was being unreasonable asking her to take a bath everyday because it was always a source of a meltdown. We have gotten through these meltdowns with the implementation of a behavior chart. She earns stickers for each day she makes good choices. This morning I was very happy that she turned her meltdown around. I always tell her that she has the power to make a good choice and have a good or not so good attitude. She changed it this morning, made a good choice and even apologized to me for her not so good attitude! Whew, glad she did because I really didn’t want to cancel her Halloween fun tonight. LOL!
Appointments and Parent Visits
Since my DFD has been with me, we have gone to plenty of doctor, dentist and therapy appointments. At one point it seemed like all I was doing was trying to get her to all the places she needed to go. It seems like that is slowing down a bit (yay!) so we can kind of get back to normal. I also had to go to a training on becoming her educational surrogate. I was really annoyed because the trainer read the slides to me. I could have read the slides in the comfort of my own home! LOL! As far as her parent visits, she has visits each weekend… unsupervised. Her family seems nice. Her dad, he is a little touchy feely in a creepy way. I’ve had to place boundaries in place around that interaction. I’m not down for that… at all!
Play dates, my schedule and Races
Have I mentioned that I like running? Well, I am an avid distance runner and I spend most of my free time either running or at the gym…. seriously. When people ask me what I like to do for fun, I usually say “nothing” because a lot of times I get weird looks for my love of distance running. ANYWAY, this is about foster care! LOL! I have had a few races while my DFD has been with me and I was very worried about how to manage having her and still running. I’ve had friends totally help me out with picking her up for me or allowing her to spend the night at their house. Total life savers! If anyone cares, my races all went well! After my hip injury last fall and not running for 4 months, I am so proud of my recent accomplishment (running the Baltimore Marathon a full 26.2 miles)! I’ve also had friends bring their kids over to play… which helps my social butterfly AND me (so that I can rest my ears from all of her interview questions! LOL!).
As far as her case, it seems like this little one may be with me for a little longer than I anticipated. I was a bit sad about that. Not that I want her to go, but when I took the placement the plan was reunification and she already had unsupervised overnight visits with her family. That changed and it seems like things are changing weekly. Why did I say that made me sad? Well, I always feel sad for her shuffling back and forth between her parents and myself. She is old enough to know that she wants to be with her parents and she asks me all the time when’s the next time she will see them. She has no concept of days and times… so I am constantly trying to help her count the days until she sees her mommy again. Secondly, selfishly… I miss my schedule! LOL! I miss being able to run with my friends, go to the gym early mornings, and sleep in ANY DAY of the week. On the weekends I meet her dad at 6 am to drop her off. I appreciate the time she gets to spend with her family and that I have to myself… but every morning is early and sometimes I just want to relax! So, it seems she will be with me a while longer. Her siblings are moving homes today because their foster mom couldn’t do it anymore. I may/may not have been the one who inadvertently told her that they were removing the children (oops). I thought it was common knowledge… but she didn’t know. I felt horrible… but she was happy I told her to soften the blow of DSS calling her. That is sooo another story, but it just presses my point that these kids may be in care for longer than we all thought.
I guess I had more to say then I thought! Hopefully it was an interesting read! Happy Halloween from my little one!