Wednesday, November 23, 2011

First Placement!

Well, who knew that a week and a half after my last post we would get a placement! And we didn't just get a placement, we got THE placement! A new born baby girl! And she's not just any baby girl, she is PRECIOUS! I seriously cannot put into words how adorable, perfect, and wonderfully made she is! Not only is she beautiful, but she is sweet to boot. We are definitely being spoiled by her easy going attitude. She eats, sleeps, repeat. We have been warned that this is the honeymoon phase and that it won't be long until things get difficult. However, I don't care if she was crying all the time (other than being upset that she was not happy or in pain), I'd still love her to death! We have had such great joy showing her off and everyone agrees, she's amazing! It's been great fun to let everyone dote on her. She deserves all the spoiling she can get!
Our time with her is most definitely short term and will probably not be a forever placement. In fact, there is a family member that wants to take her and if the judge decides next week that this family member is fit to take her, we would lose her that very day. Foster care is such a mix of emotions. We are blessed to have been given the opportunity to care for her and love on her and letting her go is going to be the hardest thing to do. However, we do unerstand that family is best and if this relative truly is a good person that can care and provide for her, then she should be returned to her family.
With that, we are loving her with all our might while she is here and she'll even get to go to Thanksgiving with us and meet the most awesome Nana ever! :) And Nana can't wait to get some squeezes in!
By deciding to go the foster to adopt route, we never expected to get to experience newborn-hood. What a blessing to have the opportunity as it is such a sweet and special time. We are honored. And hopefully, we aren't messing up too bad. I took her to her one week follow-up doctor appt. and her doctor says that we are doing a great job, whew! :) She is gaining weight and is perfectly healthy. Couldn't ask for more!
And a follow-up to my last p0st. We were able to complete our final two hours of training through an online/over the phone conference call. So, until next year, we can now take a break!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Training, training, training

Before I get to the heart of my post, I apologize for my pity party in my previous post. I'm better than that! I suppose I was just feeling alone and helpless, but we are going to get through all of this and I am a strong person and whining is so not flattering :)

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

Activation Day!

Well, October went by in a blur and here we are at November 1st! The day we said to put us on the 'list'! I can't believe we are finally here! Now, it's just a matter of time and waiting for the special call. Clint and I are pretty patient and if it takes awhile, it takes awhile. God has his plan and his special timing. Everyone around us seems to be standing on their heads though :) As I've said before, we've got many years to be parents.

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.