Friday, September 30, 2011

Starting to become REAL

We received THIS on Tuesday:

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 New Toy!

I've been waiting and waiting until I could purchase this:

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 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? :)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Brain Matter

On Tuesday night I attended one of Buckner's training sessions on Brain Development and Trauma. It wasn't a required training, but can go towards future needed training hours. However, it had nothing to do with 'doing the time' I was genuinely interested in the topic and I am so glad that I went! I wish Clint had been able to attend. He was unfortunately out of town for work.

A lot of what Dr. Winstead told us we had touched on in PRIDE, etc., but he told it with science and factual terms that really hit home to me! These kids that come in to foster care aren't 'messed up' and behave badly just because they were hurt in some way, their brains have actually been underveloped in certain areas, effecting their ability to self regulate. And regulation is the core of survival of this world!

If I had a dollar for every time someone said to me (after hearing we were adopting from foster care), "well, at least you are getting them young before they get all 'messed up' (people LOVE to use that term." If only I could have plopped them down in this class for them to grasp the realization that trauma and brain development start even before they are born! Now, while the training session really hit home the cold hard facts of what these kids have been dealt in life, there was hope too. They can overcome these circumstances (okay, I won't say ALL can, but you get my point) with some (LOTS) work on our parts as parents.

However, our paths to get these kids to be responsible, self-sufficient adults will have to be different than the 'typical' path. Logic and consequences DON'T work for these kids. This is going to be a HUGE learning curve for me. I mean, I'm an Engineer for crying out loud, logic is all I know! But I'm willing to learn new tricks.

Throughout the session, I kept seeing my girls that I mentored last year. Oh, how I failed them! No, these girls weren't orphaned, etc., but I know their home lives were not good, definitely dealing with trauma in various forms. These girls were sent to me because of their bad behavior and while I knew they were 'bad' because they weren't shown the 'right' way at home, it runs so much deeper than that! Their lives were a state of disregulation! I was catching on though, I saw how they melted at simply complimenting them on their smarts, etc. Gosh, I bet they rarely heard that. In the end, I was quite frustrated with their teacher (although admittedly I was never in her class nor had to deal with what she had to on day to day matters) because I felt like they could do no right. After what I learned on Tuesday, I know there were better ways to handle those girls. I pray that teachers down the line will give them a chance, be the encourager they need!

Overall, it was a VERY informative 2 hour session. All through PRIDE, etc. we had it crammed down our throats that these kids were hurt, grieving, sad, mad and the list goes on, but we kept saying to ourselves, okay, so what are some effective tools we can use to HELP these kids! This training session did just that!