We are now at the five month mark… things are running pretty smoothly. The boys are completely comfortable in our home. R (the two year old) calls it home, he calls me mom, and he calls Jason ‘d’! They have both become very attached, and we are crazy about them! This has certainly been a wild ride! So… where did I leave off? The first night!
When you take in children through foster care you have a lot of work that needs to be done! It’s insane really. I was lucky to get advice from a new friend, a former foster mom who knew exactly what we had to look forward to. My first priority was to find a daycare center for the boys so that I could continue to work (only twice per week)! My job is such that if I am not there I have to call a bunch of people to cover my shift… so my choices were either quit or find daycare! Before we got the kids we checked out about a half dozen places. The best fit for us was the first place we went to… it is practically a pre-school, a clean place, friendly and knowledgable staff, and the best part was that they would accept partial DCFS payments without making me cover the rest! No other daycare offered this so it was an obvious choice, plus it was conveniently located just a couple of blocks from home.
The new friend I mentioned is a teacher there… she was fantastic. Not long after we enrolled she called me and explained that she was a former foster mom and had some information that I might find useful. She typed up a document with phone numbers to pediatricians, dentists, therapists, eye doctors, ear doctors, you name it it was on that list. The thing with foster kids is that you can’ t visit any old doctor, you have to go to one that accepts medicaide. If not for Miss C I would have been lost, she saved me hours of calling around! She also organized a clothing drive and we got heaps of second hand cloths for both of the boys, a few gift cards, and more! I nearly cried when they gave them to us.
Our next task was to make sure they were physically and emotionally well. We needed to visit all the doctors and Miss C’s list. So I started to call and make appointements. I felt like a smart cookie when I went out to purchase an accordian file folder, it has proved very handy! Each doctor we went to visit seemed to refer us to a specialist of some sort. Although most of the issues were very mild, it was a very interesting and intimidating experience. The doctor referred us to a developmental specialist to assess R’s speech (which was basically non-existant), and recommended a helmet for J’s ‘flat’ head. The dentist (a man) informed me R had several cavities and that he could not handle them because R was could not coorperate… R is wary of most men. We were referred to UIC College of Dentistry because they could put R under in order to extract the cavities. Hearing and eyesight were excellent, no specialists there at least.
It turned out that J’s flat head was not flat enough to qualify for a helmet. I was glad we had that experience, but relieved that we didn’t have to do a helmet. R had an assesement for his speech and it was discovered that he had a 33% delay which did qualify him for therapy. I was truely happy and excited to learn about that process. The dentist we had to go to was downtown Chicago, and although it was difficult to get in when we finally did I really appreciated the dentist that saw us! She was perfect with R! It turned out that he did not even need to be sedated, but I appreciated them so much that we might just use them as a dentist afterall!
If that wasn’t enough of a whirlwind, we also had the health department calling us daily (at first), we made an appointment to set the kids up with WIC, we met our caseworker who came to visit, another developmental therapist from DCFS came by to assess the boys, there was a lawyer that was assigned to the boys case who also came by, and our licensing worker came to check on us. Jason and I were truely overwhelmed with all of that for a good 6 weeks! Not to mention all the SHOPPING we ended up doing. And of course making sure everything was being documented accordingly, and all paperwork is completed and submitted. I thought were were done with all that paperwork!
I may have just talked a bunch of people out of fostering children, but please know that there is so much more! Joy! Incredible joy! Saving that for another post!