Archive for Foster Parenting

Big Day for Little J

My friend Julie and her husband and daughter got an early Christmas present last week —- the finalized adoption of their little boy J.
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I was honored to attend their court hearing and see this beautiful family of three become a permanent family of four. We celebrated with cookies and brownies in the afternoon but I’m sure that was just the beginning. The four of them have a lifetime of celebrations ahead.

Merry Christmas, Little J! Santa was good this year.

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Dino Hat

I made this for a little boy my friend is adopting. He’s almost two and has suddenly been placed in their home.

A big fierce hat was in order. During those times when he’s sure to feel little and scared and confused by his new world, Little Man can put on his hat, growl, stomp around and feel big and strong. He’s in a solid and warm home with good parents who will gently nurture him through this transition. He’s surrounded by big, fierce mommy (and daddy) love. Welcome to your new home Little Man.

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First Day

Today was an important day for a little girl very dear to my heart. It was my former foster daughter’s last day in the foster care system. It was her Adoption Day. She is finally and officially the daughter of Julie & Randy — adoring parents who lavish her with love and tender care daily. I have only known them for a short time but during that time, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Julie grow from a tentative new momma into a fully confident and competent momma who knows her baby thoroughly. And what a brilliant and beautiful baby she is! Baby is thriving in their care —- she beams at her daddy and gazes adoringly at her mommy. She babbles and and crawls and even has started walking. Both parents bask in the glow of their wonderful girl and marvel at each accomplishment. The three of them are completely enamored with each other. They are a perfect fit and a perfect trio.

Meet Alana and her loving parents:
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May today be the first of many wonderful days and years of joy. Welcome to to first day of the rest of your life, sweet Alana. You are very loved.

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Attachment

Clio is coming for a visit today. I’ve seen her almost weekly since she moved into her permanent home. I am very very pleased with her new home. She is being adopted by a young couple who have been hoping/waiting/praying for a child for a long time. They clearly adore her and feel deeply connected to her and are committed to caring for her. When I saw her right after she moved out, my heart was so full of joy seeing how she gazed at her new mom and dad and her eyes were sparkling. Knowing she is happy and delighted with the people she is with is wonderful. I held her awhile. Then John held her. While she was in John’s lap, she was staring hard at my face. I looked back at her and smiled. She looked deeply into my eyes then her lower lip came out and her chin started to wobble. Tears came and she started bawling…..staring at me the whole time. While I know she is safe and loved in her new home, I also feel that she misses me. It pains me to think that she feels even a fraction of the emptiness that I do with her gone. But I know she feels something. And while I wish for her to know nothing but happiness during this transfer, I suppose this sadness is good. It is good that she has the capacity to love and miss me. It means we’ve done well by her. We’ve held her and loved her as deeply as our own. She was raised to trust and expect that her needs will be met and that life is wonderful fun and good. I know the sadness and heartbreak of our parting is part of the process of transferring this bond to her new family. Hopefully it will only deepen her bonds with them as she’s missing me, they are there comforting her and meeting her needs each day. And our continued visits, visits where I hold her and sniff her and kiss her sweet head, will remind her that she is surrounded by love on all sides.

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Life with baby

Life with Clio is going well. It’s been shocking adjusting the the frequent wakings of a newborn — especially one who is bottle fed and is required to sleep in a crib — no snoozing and nursing like with my babes. Sleep deprivation has caused many of my normal activities (sewing, cooking, etc.) to slow down. The upside of bottle feeding, however, is that John and I can take turns caring for baby at night. I go to sleep early and he stays up with her later. I do the first night feed, he does any later ones. We’re slowly falling into a routine and even baby is getting a routine. She has surprised us a few times by sleeping through the night (from 11pm to 6:30am). Unbelievable for a baby who isn’t even 6 weeks old yet. Baby is thriving, too. She’s gained 2 lbs since joining our home and remains easy to settle and calm. She now cracks an occasional grin at us and is more alert and wiggly. Her situation is still up in the air and we have no idea how long she’ll be part of our home. She has a court date on Monday and hopefully soon a plan will be in place for her future.

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Welcome baby Clio

On Monday at noon I received a call from my DFS caseworker. She told me they had a newborn girl just come into care and did I want her? Could I meet her at the hospital in an hour to pick her up. YES! I quickly grabbed my things, got Oli set up with John and left for the hospital. Can I tell you how surreal it is to walk into a hospital *unpregnant* and know you will be leaving with a baby? I dashed up to the 9th floor nursery where the nurses greeted me and lead me back to the row of bassinets. I quickly scanned all the babies, wondering which one would be coming home with me. In the last bassinet in the row was a little girl with a head full of curly hair — the prettiest baby in the whole nursery and she was MINE. I picked her up and rocked her while the nurse gave me her info and care instructions awaiting my caseworker. My tiny baby. The caseworker arrived and baby was officially released to me. We went home.

She came with a name but we’re calling her Clio. Her birth mother has proven repeatedly that she is unfit to parent. Clio is not the first of her children to be born drug positive in the last year — she also has an 11 month old sister who was taken by the state. And a 2 year old sibling as well who is in foster care. Neither of her bio parents showed up for the 24 hour court hearing after the state took custody. Tomorrow is another court date. If not one shows, the judge will likely move toward terminating parental rights (TPR). I do not yet know how long that process takes. Maybe months…..maybe longer? She will be with us until TPR is complete then she can move to an adoptive home. I asked if it would be hard to find an adoptive family for her. The caseworker told me that because she’s a black baby and born drug positive, there isn’t often a family willing to adopt. If she was white (and still drug positive) she’d be snapped up. Even bi-racial children get adopted quicker than black children.

I look into Clio’s little black face and wonder why? Why? She’s a perfectly delicious baby — she’s healthy and bright eyed. Aside from a rough first night of crying & fussing, she shows no sign of damage from her drug exposure. This little baby who smiles in her sleep and has merry eyes deserves a permanent loving home. It’s a shame that the amount of pigment in her skin will determine where that home is. Until her forever family appears, we’ll revel in her beauty and I’ll rub my cheek against her soft black curls, sniffing in that heady newborn baby scent. I’ll marvel over tiny fingers & toes and get lost in her unflinching newborn gaze. My hope for baby Clio is that wherever she goes, she will be treasured as much as she is here in our home.

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A tiny baby

Last night a little baby joined our family for a few days. He’s our first foster child. His name is Javy and he’s three months old but, perhaps, the tiniest baby I’ve ever held. He was extremely premature and sick for a long time so he’s working hard to catch up. He’s with us only temporarily for respite care while his primary foster mom is out of town. The reasons why he’s in care are many and who knows what his future will hold. Maybe he’ll wind up with his birth mother….or maybe he’ll be placed into an adoptive home. I carry him around in my sling and coo gently to him. I smile into his wide open eyes as he stares at me and grips my finger as I feed him his bottle. I kiss his silky head, hoping to fill him with enough love to carry forward wherever he may go.

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