I know it’s been a while since I have posted anything here… like a LONG while! I have been meaning to get back into it… so I thought I would start with something light. I do not know what it’s like to be a bio parent, but I LOVE being a foster parent. So this article will focus on Foster Parenting vs Bio Parenting. One day we hope we will be able to call some of these children our own. Until that day, I can only imagine. I will never know what it’s like to carry a child, but I believe… no I KNOW I love these children like they are my own. I want what’s best for them, no matter the cost. So here is a day in the life of me…
Working from home with 2 toddlers, and two teenagers: wake up at 5am to 2 yo knocking on my door. He wants to cuddle (aww) so i do that. While doing this he pokes me in the mouth, ears, and eyes and when i ask him to stop he giggles and gives me the cutest grin. After about 20 min of this he starts making demands. Milk! Cookie! Spiderman! So i turn on the tv then get up to bring him milk and breakfast… “with you” he says… so i pick him up. In the kitchen, 30lbs in one hand, I grab a bowl pour cereal, cut a banana and put yogurt in it… grab a sippy cup, pour milk then set him on the ground. He drops milk three times, and cries.. I pick it up and hand it to him each time but now he is frustrated and doesn’t want anything but for me to console him for 10 min. I grab him, his sippy cup and cereal bowl and head towards the tv. Set him down at the little table once he stops crying. It is now 6:30am (what?) Go wake up teenagers for school. Then I head to work on the computer with 2 yo happy, and teens getting ready.
As soon as I log in, 3 yo wakes up, and climbs onto my lap and presses his lips to mine says good morning mommy (awww). He wants to get dressed and go outside. Nope never mind he wants a snack… not breakfast, fruit snacks… we don’t have any (not that I would let him have them) and no I am not driving to the store now. I make him the yogurt cereal much to his dismay. Pour him milk… he wants juice. Set him up at the little table. He doesn’t like this show… I tell him he can pick the next one. Eventually he is happy too. I go wake up the teens… again “Bus leaves in 40 min! Do you want coffee?” They do… and so do I! Husband made coffee! Thank God for this wonderful man. I kiss him goodbye and bring coffee to the teens. Then grab a cup for me, and say goodbye to teens!
As soon as I sit down, 2 yo wanders over and wants to cuddle again (aww) so I pull him onto my lap and he starts playing with the keyboard making work impossible. I lock the computer and bring him over to the couch. We cuddle and sing songs. 3 yo is done eating and wants playdough. I tell then they have to get dressed first. Then we get the playdough out and have fun. Supervision is an absolute must here. After about an hour, everyone wants a snack. I check my phone, 9am (what?!?!). I grab snacks for everyone, then clean up the playdough disaster. I get a phone call from the Health Department, we need to do a 20 minute phone interview for the teens and their health concerns.
Where is my coffee? Cold! I drink it anyway. Kids are now playing with toys, I ask them to put their dishes in the sink. Try to get back to work. A fight starts! I go and help them settle the argument which has lead to tears. I pull out the legos and we start building. Once they are engrossed in that I head back to computer 11am (what?!) Maybe I can get 20 min worth of work done, then start lunch. Been up for 6 hours… 20 min work logged! Woohoo! I get lunch ready, while finishing cold coffee. We all eat lunch, starving cause this is my first meal. Once lunch is over it’s naptime!
We head to the room and each kid picks a story. We all sit in the rocking chair and read. 3yo goes to his bed… and I lay with 2 yo and start counting (this helps calm them down) at around 300 2 yo is asleep and 3 yo is calm enough so I head out, and go take a 5 min shower. The house is a disaster, and I need to figure out dinner. I straighten out toys and vacuum. I pull out chicken and defrost it halfway, then marinate in Italian dressing. I sit down and fill out applications for the teens to attend therapy. They are long, and monotonous… each form basically has the same information on it. The teens need to sign and initial a bunch of stuff. I will have them do this when they get home.
Then I set to work again 2pm (what?!???!!). I get 40 min in… soooo tired… kids are now awake. I get them a snack, turn tv on again, and try to figure out how much tv they have watched today… feeling guilty. Their mom might be here for a scheduled visit at 3pm, or she might not. I let them watch tv hoping that if she doesn’t show up they won’t notice. I am exhausted so I sit down and check facebook on my phone. 3:30pm she shows up! Thank God! I turn off the tv… kids aren’t too thrilled but are easily distracted by the sugary treat their mom brought. Teens come home and grab a snack, I have them sign and initial the paperwork then scan it so I can email it to the caseworker. The visit goes until 5pm… Supervision is an absolute must! We say our goodbyes, the kids are used to this by now. Bio Mom is sad the kids are not as attached as they used to be. I stress that continuity in visits could help, and remind her that she can skype with them every night if she wants, but I know she won’t do this.
I thank God she came today, the days she doesn’t come I dread. It’s R that has the difficulty, J I don’t think realizes who she is anymore. He was 9 months when I got him, R had time to form memories and really bond with BM. J I don’t think did. Sometimes R doesn’t notice, but most times he does. I don’t think she realizes how observant they are, or how it affects them when she doesn’t show up, or when she is late. This is especially apparent when she starts making conversation with me. Telling me about her past, or things that are inappropriate for the boys to hear. Our caseworker refuses to pull them out of daycare anymore and wait at McDonalds just to see R’s face crumble when she doesn’t arrive. She makes her confirm, then waits to see if she is there, then she goes to pick them up. Things are still up in the air after 18 months in foster care… this should have been an open and shut case. I don’t understand why things are not moving along. And everyday they are with me is going to make it harder if they are reunited with Mom. I worry most about J if that day comes.
Time to start dinner! Turn the tv on again, feel guilty… but if tv is not on dinner won’t get made. 6pm husband is home, we all eat! Then it’s time to pick up toys, bath time, stories, soft music, essential oils, then bed. At last they are asleep! Time to work again… 9pm (uggg)… so tired! I log another hour of work, but it’s pretty unproductive. I am exhausted, and I know it’s bedtime for mommy.
As you can see, life as a foster parent has a lot of similarities… but what a lot of people don’t realize is that while they seem like all the other kids, their struggles are unique and . When I take J to daycare, watching him melt down when I leave is the worst part of my day, that is only bearable because his teachers tell me that he is fine about 10 minutes after I leave. I know it’s normal for 2 yo’s to have seperation axiety, but what’s not normal is that this 2 yo was taken from momma when he was 9 months. We may never know how or if that affected him. When I pick up the kids from care, and R tells me solomley that his mom didn’t come to see him today I console him. It kills me to see him like this, but on one particular day he said to me “Mommy, that’s okay I know you love me and that you’ll take care of me.” His wisdom is well beyond his years, and that fact makes me sad. I wish he could just be a kid with no worries.
More updates to come…