Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
Fosterland has already proven to be a roller coaster. We ended up not keeping the baby for respite after all (family decided not to go out of town). We've been asked for respite twice and both have cancelled. Hmmm, I'm beginning to think we smell or something :)
We went on the list on Nov. 1st and we were called for a placement on Nov. 2nd! I was knocked almost speechless and thought she was joking. I won't go into specifics since it didn't work out, but the placement was for two kids who were in a county that was 2.5 hours away. We said yes, knowing what that meant...driving to and from for weekly visits, but in the end, they were able to find a closer family which was the best thing for those kids. I could just imagine those poor kids having to sit FIVE hours in a car round trip each week...not to mention that visitations are already stressful enough as it is!
So for now, I'm still at work and we're just trucking along. My mom came for a visit this weekend and it was just what I needed! We went shopping for a few things that we felt like we could go ahead and buy such as toiletries (hair brushes, toothbrush, soap/shampoo), some sippy cups, etc. and we did go ahead and buy one childseat. We figure even if we were to get an infant, they would eventually progress to the car seat. We still couldn't get much, but I feel a little better and hopefully will be slightly less overwhelmed when we do get a placement.
Now, my topic for today which I will fully admit to being a RANT! But before I take off, know that while we get frustrated, we are willing to do what it takes in fosterland and it would take something much more than measley training hours to rock our boat, but they certainly don't make things easy sometimes! Also, I honestly don't mind training, I love learning knew things! And want to know as much as possible about helping these children! But, I admit that so much of our training I felt was severly lacking or not helpful.
Back in September when we were handed our license our case worker said that we had to have 20 hours of training a year, which we knew. I thought, well, we've got that in the bag! Nope! She was prorating us for 16 hours. Do what?! So all of that training we've done so far didn't count? Nope! So, here's a breakdown of the training we had so far this year:
PRIDE: 24 hours (? It was 3, 8 hour days)
Psychotropic Medication Training: 2 hours
CPR/First Aid: 3 hours
SAMA: 6 hours
Adoption Specific Training: 6 hours
Brain Development and Trauma: 2 hours
Education Services Training: 2 hours
HIPPA training: 1 hour
That's 45+ hours right there! I get that we are new and need to be prepared, but that's all the training on top of the applications, home study, home inspection, fire inspection, obtaining a will and life insurance, floor plans, evacuation plans, and on and on. With all of that, we only get 16 hours??
However, our case worker added that our four remaining hours needed to be 'real' training and not self study since we were new (you're generally allowed to take up to 6 hours through online or self-study). Seriously? For reals! Alrighty. But, our casework said that she would look into putting some training together for us and we even had a discussion on what training we would be interested in. Once we came up with a couple of topics she said she would put something together and would get back to me and that they could work around our schedule. Okay, that makes me feel better about the training hours we still needed to obtain.
So, I e-mailed our caseworker on Oct. 31st to let her know we were still willing to go on the list on Nov. 1st and that I hadn't heard anything about the training and had she looked into that yet. I receive an e-mail back saying that Buckner doesn't have any remaining training until after the first of the year and here are some places in Tyler with training and to look there. Whoa, back that up? So, that whole convo back in September was just to appease me from getting upset over the four hours and she really had no intentions of putting anything together for us? Had I known she wasn't going to do anything, I would have been looking into training so that we could get the ball rolling. When it comes to foster care tasks, I want to check them off my list and check them off now! I don't want to risk us being at fault at all!
I'm now irritated. Fine, I'll find my own training, but some of it now gets to be self-study since apparently we've slept since September and don't remember that conversation. I found a 4 hour training for last Saturday morning and signed us up! Bam! We'd be done! Well, here's where 'I' make myself mad! We show up to the site and no one is there! Perhaps it's now time for a smart phone (we say we'll get them when our current cell phones die..but they just won't give up! Clint has dropped his so many times and had to piece it back together, but it keeps on working, argh!). Turns out, they do their training at another site. My fault for not realizing this, but man, throw me a freakin' bone here people!
So, I tell Clint to book it back to Longview so that we can go to a training at Fellowship Bible. It's on brain development and trauma. Yes, you read that right, the training that I already had hours for, but didn't count. EXACT. SAME. THING. Oh well, I truly loved listening to him and was sad that Clint had missed it so it was still worthwhile. We get back to Longview and pull up just in time. The coordinator for the training is standing there at the door however with a worried look...speaker isn't there. Seriously?! I was feeling like a toddler in foster care and about to rage and tantrum on the ground right there! Fortunately, she was able to get in touch with him and turns out it wasn't on his schedule. He was coming, but would be a bit since he was coming from Hallsville. I'm so glad it worked out and in the meantime we got to talk to others in this foster/adopt world which I always enjoy!
I know this is only the beginnings of the frustrations with the system and I get that and am ready for it. Sometimes I just need to vent. And sadly, part of this training fiasco was my own fault! Dumb, dumb! I have found some online training for our other two hours so we'll get this training wrapped up for the year, just so we can do it all again next year!
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I finally had the courage to talk with my employer a few weeks ago about once we get the call, that's the end for me. He took it well and was understanding. Such a relief. That, and I am so happy that we don't have to worry about daycare, etc. now. I have one big project that I am working on, but if we get the call and I am not done, I don't mind coming in the evenings/weekend to wrap it up. Everything seems to be falling into place.
Our trip to Aruba was wonderful! I need to do a post just on our vacation! We took so many pictures. It is an absolutely beautiful island!
We got to babysit a precious little baby girl last Thursday and will get to keep her this coming weekend as her foster family goes out of town so we are looking forward to that. I am anxious to get to know the local foster families better as I know I will definitely be leaning on them for support! I think Buckner has a pretty great group though! Which is good, because we have had NO success (other than one other future foster family, thank you Mikki!) in finding anyone willing to babysit for us (we have to put together a list). Not that we plan to go out on the town every night, but I know there will be times where we need 'us' time. I miss my best friends who unfortunately don't live here. I miss having people who would do anything for you and who I would do anything for in return. I don't have any close connections like that here in Longview and I just don't get to see my friends near enough. It's frustrating and what had me close to moving before Clint came along. Anyway, I did not mean to go off on that tangent, but it's just really weighing on my mind (especially after getting a call from my best friend who is really going through a difficult time and I hate that we are so far apart). And who knows, perhaps people aren't willing to be listed as a babysitter because they are scared of foster kids or think that having a backround check is too invasive or don't want to have to come to our house to babysit. We were the ones willing to take on the hoops, others may not, nor should they be obligated to do so.
So, here we are in November, patiently waiting :) Who knows, perhaps we'll have an extra guest (or two) at the Christmas table.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Our license for foster care! If we wanted to, we could get a call today! But we won't because we requested to be activated on November 1st so that we can get through our vacation, etc.
It seemed like such a long journey to get to this point and at times didn't seem like we would ever really get to here, but we made it! Of course, our work is not done...and never will be as long as we are fostering. I discovered that our home will be inspected every quarter unless we have children in our home and then it will be every month. Of course, then there's the 20 hours of annual training as well. But we'll bask in the time-being that we made it to this milestone and the fact that Buckner deems us worthy of such an important role.
I'm starting to have some panic moments. Originally, we were counting on one child, with two being the exception. However, we were told that with being open to two, that this was huge, so now we know that two is more likely and one will be the exception. TWO? Can I handle two?? Heck, can I handle one? I'm realizing how little I know. I've been trying to read and read, but the stack just gets taller rather than smaller. We have to come up with a daily schedule for their week. I don't know what we are going to do from day to day!
We don't have anything! No sippy cups, bottles, clothes...hard to buy stuff when you don't know what you are getting! Yes, we will get these things once they are here, but I am overwhelmed with all of the THINGS we will need to get.
I read a blog of someone talking about how her mom leaving after being there for 10 days to help out with the newborn baby. I'm not going to have that! I'm going to be all alone, left to care for children I know nothing about!
Don't get me wrong, I am so so excited, but for some reason getting that piece of paper handed to me put the 'scary' in overdrive for me.
Friday, September 16, 2011
A DSLR camera!! Obviously this picture was NOT taken with the new camera. I am always so envious of just about everyone elses pictures. Of course, like with bike riding, just because one buys a fancy bike, does not make them a great cyclist...so goes for photography as well. And I admit to being totally clueless about photography. Just taking the camera out of the box was scary, like holding a newborn baby that you are terrified of dropping! And all those knobs and buttons? Eeeks! Where's the 'on' button?
I'm determined though! We will have pictures of our lives! Being able to get the camera now comes at the perfect time because we will have to put together lifebooks for any foster children that we take in to our home. I want these kids to have good pictures because they may be the only ones they get from childhood!
In addition to reading the owner's manual, I'll be starting off with a beginner photography class through the parks and rec. department, which starts next Tuesday. I hope it will be a good place to get my feet wet, ask questions, and learn about other resources for additional learning. What I'm already reading/hearing so far is that really, it just comes with practice and to do that, you have to take LOTS of pictures. I'll have to take lessons from Clint in that department. I'll carry our little point and shoot everywhere and not take a single picture. If Clint gets a hold of the camera, you'd think his finger would get a cramp with all the pictures he takes. On our honeymoon, we had bought an underwater camera and I handed it to him. He was through all the pics before we even hit the fish on our snorkeling trip, ha
I am thinking about setting up a 365 blog so that I am forced to take a picture every day. Our lives aren't exciting, so would probably not be of interest to anyone else, but at least it would get me in the habit of taking pictures and practicing with different settings. I am excited about my new little hobby. And I am thankful to Justin at Best Buy (yes, if you want to buy a camera here in Longview, seek out Justin!...or James, he is supposedly good too). We went to pick out our camera on a Tuesday evening and I bet I waited a good 30-45 min. before I got ANY help. I was just about to give up and go buy my camera in Tyler when Justin appeared. I had done some light research on the internet and decided that I wanted the Nikon D3100. My parents had the D3000 and were happy with theirs and this was one step up from that one. The features seemed good (not that I know anything) and was in the price range I was willing to spend. Mr. Geek Squad really took me through the cameras and showed me the operation of each and I decided to go Canon. It just seemed so much more user friendly and I need all the 'ease of operation' I can get! And I think the camera I bought was actually a little step up from the Nikon I was looking at.
So, hopefully this blog starts to get a little more colorful :) And I'll post the link to a 365 blog if I decide to go with it...just prepare yourself for lots of dog and bike pictures until kids come in the picture, ha! However, I can't post pictures of the kids until/if they are adopted, so yeah, did I mention dogs and bikes? :)