A Revolving Door!

image1Where do I even start? So much has happened over the last week. I guess I will start from the beginning. Friday, 29 June, I went out for a walk during lunch time. Before I could reach the main road, my phone started ringing. It was my caseworker calling to tell me that she had a possible placement for me, an 8 month old baby girl. As my caseworker was telling me about the case, she informed me that this baby was pre-adoptive meaning that the plan was for her to be adopted by the family who took her in to foster. My heart dropped, at this time I am not sure if I want to adopt and to know that going into this placement… I just couldn’t do it. I was so sad, but I turned the placement down. I know the right family would welcome that little one so quickly. Someone who knows in their heart that adoption is their next step. Once I turned the placement down, my caseworker told me that she had another opportunity for me and to hear her out. Well, I was walking and my phone was breaking up really badly so I couldn’t hear a lot of what she was saying. I kept asking her to repeat herself and then my phone went silent. I tried to call her back, but I had no luck… so I started to walk back to my house to get better reception. My caseworker called me back and explained that she had a foster family that needed respite care for an 18 year old while her foster mom went on vacation. “WHAT??!!” You wan ME to keep an 18 year old? That’s a grown woman. What will two grown woman do in one house… who will win and be alpha dog (of course me)? LOL! I told her I would do it. I don’t know how to explain in, but in my gut… I knew it would be okay. She would be arriving on 4 July. (And to explain children in care can go on vacation with you, her mom was taking a girls trip and the family was going on a family trip the next month).

I was extremely nervous to meet this “kid” I mean, I haven’t been around teenagers since I was one! AND by nature I am really shy, so I wondered how I would interact with her. Well, I prepared the guest room and made a special space for her to hang out and watch TV in the basement. Then I waited…. She arrived around 1:30p on 4 July. Her foster mom (FM) told me she would be there by 11a (so now I know all placements are late… no matter if they are coming from the department or another family. LOL!) When the FM and the Dear Daughter walked in the door, I did not know who was who… LOL! The dear daughter was so tall! My anxiety spiked! She’s bigger than me!! I showed her around the house and then we sat down and talked. She really is a great young lady. We went to the Bowie Baysox game to watch fireworks. It worked out because she had never been to a baseball game before and she really enjoyed it.

Thursday, she hung in the house ALL DAY. I tried to get her to go out… but she was in love with my firestick. LOL! I think she told me she watched over 25 movies (not including tv shows) while she was with me. LOL! Thursday night I watched a movie with her… we had a good day. Friday, I took her bowling along with a friend of mine. She complained a bit, but in the end… she had a good time. Saturday, we went to Dave and Busters with a friend and her daughter they also invited us to their house later to watch a movie on the lawn. She really enjoyed that, she said she never watched a movie outside under the stars. Sunday came, she didn’t want to go to church or really leave the house… so we just hung out. I didn’t really have any drama with her. When I explained things that baffled me, friends that are mothers of teenagers told me, “that’s just teenagers.” Oh okay… LOL! She left around 9:30p and I was relived! Back to ME and my schedule… I don’t have to worry about anyone!! YAY! Boy was that short lived…

Monday, 9 July I get a call from my caseworker for a 5 month old baby girl. She tells me about her case and asks me the popular question… “would you accept the placement?” Yeah, sure. So she tells me a CPS worker would call me to let me know when I can expect her to be dropped off. To be honest, I didn’t think she would call. A family member usually steps up to keep babies out of the “system.” So I went about my day, around 11a the CPS worker told me that she was going to bring the baby at 2:00p. 2:00 comes and goes, 2:30, 3:00, 3:30… no baby so I figure she wasn’t coming. 4:00p she arrives. The CPS worker gives me so much information that I’m like “WHAT??!” The entire drop off took about 30 minutes. I called my mom and said, “Now what?” LOL! This little baby is smiling and looking at me. My mom comes over after work and helps me bathe her and dress her for bed (which is a joke cause the girl is a night owl)!

Tuesday was a flurry of trying to take care of her and find a daycare that had an opening for an infant. Side note, infant care is toooooooo expensive! Whew! I visited one in home daycare… I did not feel comfortable. Wednesday I went to my local center… it was nice, but way too expensive. Thursday, I went to a center about two miles from my house…. I really liked it an enrolled her, so hopefully she will start week after next.

She also came to me without a sleep schedule. The first two nights were rough! I called my cousin and asked her how she got her babies to sleep through the night. She gave me the magically tips (lol!) and they worked! She slept through the night two nights in a row!

I’ve had friends come visit, bring food, bring clothes, sit with her while I run out for an hour, call and “check-in” and offer much needed advice. It has all been great! I did get a little overwhelmed one morning and cried, my mom said “that’s motherhood.” I miss being able to do what I want when I want. LOL! But grateful for friends that have helped me (and offered to help me) get a break! Special thanks to my mom, who has been an extraordinary “Aunt B!”

I still haven’t gotten everything from DSS to get her enrolled in daycare, doctor visits, social worker (for her), that process has been an exercise in patience… really. HELP ME HELP HER! LOL! But I am doing my best to keep the little one safe and happy.

On Sunday, I am getting another respite placement of TWO three year olds! I accepted this respite before I got the call for the baby. Please pray for me! It’s only for one day, but 3 kids and I am a newbie… yikes! LOL!

This little one is THE BEST. Her smile is great! Everywhere we go… people fall in love with her. She has the best spirit. I don’t know how long she will be with me, but right now… I am truly taking in the idea of being “mom”… better known as CC :-).

image2
Night snuggles

TWO Calls…. still no placement

Phone callFirst of all, thank you to everyone who has reached out to me through my blog, Facebook or Instagram with your words of support! I really appreciate the kinds words and perspectives that were given.

This week has sent me on a different emotion! I went from anxious, to excited, to disappointed… in a matter of 1.5 hours. On Monday, I received a call from DSS at 1:08 pm. Of course I recognized the number and answered… heart beating fast (of course). My social worker exchanged nice pleasantries with me… so at this point I am thinking it is a social call, but also thinking… “why sway?” She quickly changes gears and lets me know that she has a placement for me. Young siblings one and two years old. My mind went NUMB! What??!! TWO Babies? I listened while she gave me the reason the children were coming into care and their health report. So now it was my turn to speak, these children fall within the age range that I desire and they seem to be healthy (from what my social worker could tell me)… so what am I going to say??? My mind started thinking of having two young kids in the house, I only have one crib… I only have one car seat… there may be a language barrier. BUT I will do it! I just had to ask my caseworker one tiny question. Me: “You said there are two children coming into care, can I take two kids… I am only licensed for one?” Caseworker: “Let me look at your license…. oh yeah, darn! Okay, false alarm. BUT I will be calling you soon.” Me: “okay, thank you.” Insert small tear of disappointment. 

Called my mama, my cousin, and my good friend to tell them what was up and how I almost had a placement. While I was on the phone with my friend, I get another call from DSS, this was about 1:25 pm. “I have a placement for you!” My caseworker again starts telling me about this particular placement. This time a four year old! Okay, within my desired age group… and here comes the magic question, “Will you accept the placement?” Yes!! I accepted the placement as was told that someone from the department would be calling me to schedule a drop off time. So, I know not to get too worked up and start buying things, but I did make sure I knew how to remove the crib rail from the bed (to turn it into a toddler bed.) **side note: I was really impressed with myself that I could do this without help or even calling someone to walk me through it! Yay me!** Called my mom and let her know that YES!!! I will be receiving a four year old that evening. Well, that excitement was short lived! At 1:40 pm I got another call from DSS, apparently they were able to contact the child’s grandmother to place her with family. I was happy that she was able to remain with family, but couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed. I am glad I read in another foster blog to NOT get too excited about placements. This blogger stated that placements actually come to your home less than 50% of the time (because they find family members to place the child with), so I accepted the placement with a perspective of “I’ll talk about it when I see it happen.” I was glad for that nugget of wisdom, it helped to keep me from posting on social media or writing a quick blog about it… LOL!

On another note, I attended the PG County DSS Foster Parent Conference on Saturday, I met a lot of other foster parents, two who I used to be co-workers with, and expand my support system. I also got to see a lot of children in care… and that they are not all scary monsters (like tv makes you believe). I also got to see that there is a possibility for the care of younger children as the children at the conference were between 2-12 years old.

So, back to waiting for now. I’m not complaining or even in a rush. I know God will put me in the path of the right child… at the right time.

My First Call

Last night, I received my first call from DSS for a placement. I was at the gym, about to workout and heard my phone ring. I immediately recognized the number as social services… and my heart starting beating… QUICKLY! The social worker introduced herself and let me know she was going down her list to place a 16-year-old in care for one night… possibly two. I thought about it, asked questions, went back and forth in my mind for a few minutes (which seemed like an eternity), but in the end said no (I did not accept the placement).

All through my workout, I just felt so bad. I didn’t expect to have this feeling of sadness because I guess I never really thought about placements that I would not accept. I gave DSS a preferred age range of 0-5 (and maybe accepting 6-8) and was told in training and during my home study that I would get a call for any age from 0-20, but I guess I never took time to understand how I would feel about “rejecting” a placement for personal preferences. I always knew that if I already had a placement, I could not take two… or if I was about to go out-of-town or had house guests, I would have to turn down placements. BUT I never explored how I would feel about just saying no. I was so sad, I felt like I let the child down… I really wanted to help, but something on the inside told me no… not this placement… not this time. It really hurt my heart.

doggy
This is how I actually looked throughout my entire workout. LOL! (Did I mention I was so bummed)

I am grateful for friends and family who encouraged me afterwards (did I mention that I was really bummed), to stay true to myself and listen to my “gut” otherwise named the Holy Spirit. That it is okay to say “no” and stick to my boundary. There were other factors I will not discuss that I learned through my questions… and I just didn’t think I would be able to deal with them properly. I went to bed really early last night… just because, did I mentioned I was bummed… LOL! But woke up to one of the most encouraging text messages from a friend that changed my entire outlook.

So here’s to documenting my first “call.” I’m pretty sure this will not be the last, but now I know that all calls, whether accepted or not, will have some sort of effect on me… in some way.

Licensed.

The last time I posted, I stated that I was still waiting to receive my license. Well, I am happy to report that I received my license on 6/14!! I am so excited! The good news is that I am now licensed to receive a child coming into care, the not so good news is that I still have to wait to get “the call.”

license
What what… Got that license!

I am not rushing this by any means. It’s just that I’ve had soooo much information thrown at me and as much as I am “prepared” I won’t really know until I have a child here. It’s like learning how to swim on dry land, you can have all the principles and knowledge down, but until you jump into the pool… it doesn’t mean squat! LOL!

The past few weeks have been exciting. I have gotten the last of the items needed (car seats are expensive!! And oh yeah, a kid just may need soap! LOL!) and have organized the room as best I could.

Org
Trying to wash and organize all the clothes!

My friends have been super duper supportive and threw me a foster shower! It was so unexpected and I was truly grateful for their expression of love towards me and this journey. I received gift cards that will be extremely helpful when a child comes into care.

Friends
My wonderful friends showering me with love!

Just to be clear, the baby I am holding above is my 2 month old godson Joel :-). Everyone coming into the shower (and my friends on social media) thought I had gotten a baby… still explaining to folks who he is… even though I put it in my status update. LOL!

I am feeling both excited and scared to receive my first call… so here’s to waiting….. again :-).

Small update…

waitI haven’t written in a while, but just a small update to my journey.

It is finally finished on my end (truly). All of my references have been interviewed. Both of my in person interviewees said they feel like the interview went very well, so I am very hopeful and optimistic that I “passed.” Now I am just waiting for my caseworker to write my case study and to be able to go in and review it before she forwards the study to her supervisor(s) for approval.

The true waiting begins now. Thanks to everyone for your continued support :-).

 

The Waiting Begins…

I had my last home study visit yesterday. It is the final step in the process that I am personally involved in. It’s now up to my references, my caseworker’s quick ability to write up my study, and her supervisors’ approval of my study. I am a bit anxious, but I am also very excited. Hopefully, I will know more at the end of next month… but for now… I wait!

al bundy

Now I assure you this is NOT how I will be waiting, but that is how I feel most days. LOL! I still have some things to do to get ready. I would still like to make my guest room a little more inviting to a child. Currently the comforter design is more for an adult, I know it is not important, but I would just like to make it more neutral with lighter colors. I went to a consignment sale over the weekend and purchased a nice wall art piece, so I will try to match with that… I know, that is so unimportant.  I also purchased a dresser and a changing table online. My friend (and running buddy) Temeka came by and helped me put it together. I am soooo not handy (It’s actually pretty bad) and she is, so we gave it a go. Well we tried, but this dresser just won’t cooperate! I am currently waiting for the company to respond to my request for replacement parts. My friend keeps reminding me that this is like a puzzle and we will figure it out. And just like parenting, things don’t always go as we think they will… so for right now, we are waiting to finish putting this puzzle together.

Temeka

I would like to close this entry by thanking my friends who have supported me by giving baby and toddler furniture and toys. Mr. Dickerson, Dafnette, Renita, Wendy, Deidre, Kaje, Cindy, Lezlyn, Vernessa and Latricia. It has been a tremendous help and encouragement! I would also like to thank my neighbor Carl and his nephew for coming and helping me lift that HEAVY dresser up to the room. I thought I was strong, but not so much. LOL! Furniture is heavy!! Lastly, I would like to thank many of my readers who have extended kind words and wishes. It means a lot!

So now I wait….. hamilton-wall-clock-by-howard-miller-2

The Home Study Interview… Part Deux

fcbb44e963a6fe2a5477f3639dce51c2.jpg

Yesterday I had my second home study interview. I get a lot of questions about what the home study entails, so basically it consists of 3 visits to my home to make sure I am who I say I am :-). During the first interview, my caseworker sat with me and discussed various parts of the process and asked if I had any questions from the training. She did a walk through of my home to see the space to gauge where the child will be sleeping and to see if there are any areas that needed to be changed. Thank goodness that I didn’t have a lot of things to change, just moving a bookshelf from the child’s room (apparently kids like to climb). I have a great support system and two of my friends (Shout out to Naomi and Rasheda) came over to help me move the books and shelves down to the basement. This second home study visit was a little more personal. The case worker asked me more about how I was raised and my relationships with my parents. She also asked me about how I think people would describe me… to be honest, that was a hard question for me to answer! LOL! How DO people see me? I dunno? She also asked how I am feeling as the process is getting closer about how my life will be different. This is where I got a little misty eyed.

If you read my first blog, I eluded to the emotional rollercoaster that I have been on throughout this process. This process has made me face a lot of emotions I have been dealing with on the inside for a while. It started last week when I took a trip out to Babies R Us to see what sale items may be available (yeah right!) for me to stock up on. As I went through the aisles of the store, I was first of all very overwhelmed with all of the options for infants/toddlers. I mean, different types of pacifiers, nipples for bottles, etc. I was screaming on the inside “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT I NEED!!” How can I even begin? LOL! I picked up a few things that another foster parenting blog mentioned and some things that I knew I would need regardless of the age and some toys. BUT as I was going through the aisles and seeing mothers with their child(ren) and pregnant women shopping with their families, I did have a feeling of sadness come over me. Later that day, after I had time to process my feelings… I cried to the Lord for a least 20 minutes. I could not stop crying. I felt so sad that I was going through all of this… buying baby and toddler items… and it was not the way that I pictured my life. I thought I would be buying these items for my own biological children. My cousin helped me put together a crib and I was excited and wanted to take pictures, but then I realized… I didn’t. (see emotions all over the place, LOL)

giphy

You couldn’t tell me in my teens, 20’s or even early 30’s that I would not be married and have my own children by now. The reality is… that is not my story and I really grieve for that [story]. I go from excitement, to fear, to sadness, to relief, to stressed, to indifferent…. all in a weeks span. LOL! This process has been wonderful, my trainer and caseworker are both really nice people. I have met and spoke to other foster parents who give great encouragement and support.

My third home study visit is scheduled for next week. By this time, I should have most of the things in place to welcome a child into my home. I will have a final interview and my references will be interviewed. From there my caseworker will put my file together and route it through to her two supervisors. If all goes well, I will then get my license.

As I am traveling on this road to get license I know that this is something that I really want to do. I know it will be hard, anything new is… and parenting is never easy. My goal is to just be there for a child who needs me.

 

So… I Guess… I want to be a Foster Parent

Over the past year, I have been going through the process to become a foster parent. I have a lot of emotions over this decision. I have been on an emotional rollercoaster through out this process, but I guess I will take you guys back to the beginning. The question I get most often is “why?” Why did I choose to go through this process? I have always had this passion in my heart… just to help others especially children. I attribute this to two reasons. The first, when I was in high school I remember watching an episode of ‘A different World’ where Freddie worked with a group of orphans and she was encouraging staff on campus to adopt this particular little boy. Well, no one wanted to adopt this little boy and he was so disappointed… I just remember him saying, “Why doesn’t anyone want me?” that broke my heart. I never want a child to feel that way, that they don’t matter or that no one cares about them. Over this past weekend, my mother reminded me that when I was younger (elementary school age) I would always encourage her to adopt a sibling for me… so I guess it has always sort of been in my heart, even before I really knew what it was. The second reason is attributed to a saying that one of my Aunt’s used to always tell me, “A kid is only a kid for a short time, they should be able to enjoy childhood and be a kid.” That is my goal, to allow a kid to be a kid!

I know it is going to be hard, I have gone through all of the emotions of an expectant parent. LOL! I have gone through excitement, fear, terror, sadness (yes, sadness at the loss of some of my freedoms), and joy as friends and family have supported me. As the process to become licensed has been coming to an end, I have found myself crying uncontrollably as I wonder what will happen next (when I tell you an emotional rollercoaster, I was not joking… LOL!). I have had folks encourage me, support me, tell me the truth and make me take a look at the hard side of becoming a foster parent. I have also experienced not so supportive people who make me feel as though I am making the biggest mistake of my life. It’s in those times, I have to dig down deep into myself and remember that God will give me the strength to get through each moment. Will it be easy? I don’t think so! Acting as a single parent will be tough. I was raised by a single mother, so I have seen first hand how hard it can be. Will it be tough? I do imagine. There are so many possible trauma’s that these children face and variables that I may not know how to handle. Will it be rewarding? I know it will! As long as I keep my focus on the purpose, I know that I will see nuggets and gems somewhere.

So, why did I make the decision to become a foster parent? If one child, even if they don’t remember my name or even me… if they can remember that at a moment in their life… there was a time when they felt safe and able to just be a kid, I will be happy.