Monday, May 14, 2012

Easter is for Pink Dresses

When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.
Deuteronomy 24:19

Facts and Figures
       I wanted to talk a little bit about what the first step in the foster to adopt process is. This part I would call the re-unification portion. When you first get a foster child the county's goal is re-unifying them with their family. They believe that the best place for any child is with their parent/s. While most of us would be critical of this is a very basic right. The right to be a parent is one of the most primal and basic rights any human has. From years of observing families I know that truly in a healthy family children belong in the parents so questions ask but what about an unhealthy home?
      If I were a parent who had lost their children to the system I know I would want every chance I could have to get my kids back. This part of the process is really hard on a lot of foster parents many of them have the hardest time dealing with a drug addict parent getting their children back. From the other side however there are actually a lot of birth parents who want their children back but because of their life circumstance they don't complete the goals that are set up for them by the county these services are called FR services.
   FR services stands for Family Reunification services, this is where the county by court order is mandated to make services and opportunities available for the birth parents to get their kids back. This looks like finding them jobs,  apartments, drug rehabs, giving them monitored visits with their children, programs that can help them get on their feet, and/or parenting classes. The county social workers try and help the parents get their children back. So this part is on the parents, they have to show up to their child visitation appointments, they have to pursue job leads, go through rehab, complete parenting classes, and stay on schedule. Most child visitations are 3 times a week for up to 3 hours each visit. It can be high stress of foster parents who are required to drive the child back and forth from the visits. Some foster parents stay during the visits to bond with the birth parent. That is completely up to the foster parent.
    If however the birth parent fails to show up or completely the plan set in place for their success the county will move to have what's called termination of FR services. That means that the county will no longer make an effort to help the birth parent get their life together. At this point when this happens the children are moved to homes that are more of a permanent placement if they aren't already in one. Children will be placed immediately placed in an adoptive home if there are other siblings who have already been on the county's case for a while and the parent has made no effort to visit or has failed to complete the tasks at hand. The judges assign parents a high number of visits in the beginning because they believe that if a parent can't be a parent for 3 times a week they can't be a parent for 24/7 when they get their kids back. So for them it's a quick plunge into what it would be like to have kids for a period of time.
    With children who are placed into an adoptive home right away because of a history with the birth parents they usually do what's called "Fast Track." This basically means that they will only give the birth parent 6 months with FR services for that child. Unlike what they did with the older children which could be longer than a year. When the "Fast Track" a child from start to finish they want the whole thing to take less then 18 months. The reason being especially for newborns it's hard to pull a child out of a home at an age but especially after 18 months. Again however with the FR services if the parent shows up to the visits consistently and is on track with the plan DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) has put in place they will give the parent the chance.
    From a foster parent's perspective this is so hard, to see a birth parent who has obviously done something to jeopardize this child's life and you have to be for the re-unification. You can't do anything to mess up this child going back to their family you have to sit and smile and your feelings have to be stuffed way down because you don't want to loose this precious one either. It really is hard for everyone involved and if the child is old enough to know what's going on it's even worse for them. I do however still believe that the effort of the county to help these parents get their children back is great. It may seem counter intuitive to say but they are really the unsung heroes of this country fighting to keep families together and in healthy homes. Do they make mistakes of course and in their jobs mistakes can be fatal but they are the ones doing a really hard job I don't think there's any room for criticizing.

 Thoughts and Journal Entries
April 2011
   Wow, I can't believe it's been over a month now since I've had baby girl in my life. I don't even remember my life before her it's as if it all lead up to the moment of having this little one in my life. We have had 2 scheduled visits with the birth mother but both times she didn't show up. It was gut wrenching both times but God keeps telling me she's yours and I have to trust that voice. I know she's not my adopted daughter yet but I asked a friend if he wouldn't mind doing a photo shoot for us. I want to take pictures while she's still tiny so that she can look back and see that we were together pretty much from the beginning. The pictures turned out fantastic!
   It was also her first Easter this month and I dressed her up in a cute fluffy pink Easter dress she really looked Hispanic, she was adorable! She's the most precious thing ever! We've had a couple rough weeks with her recovering from a severe diaper rash and me trying to find the right formula. I really wish I could find breast milk for her I think it would be the best but it's so expensive. I got her on WIC program which gives us welfare checks for formula but the only formula that it buys is the one with corn syrup and sugar as the first ingredients. It's really outrageous how from birth they set up the poor for health failure. Come on people! Literally the woman at WIC told me there's no difference from an organic formula to the formula you can buy with the checks we give you. I wanted to strangle her, though I do have to say I looked as poor and undereducated as some of their clients so she wouldn't know I knew better.
  Other then that our agency social worker who comes by every week is a sweet heart. She's a bit new so she's a little more strict on the rules then my home study worker was but she's great. So when she comes the knives go in hiding along with the meds, vitamins, and anything else considered dangerous. It's hilarious that for an infant who can't even hold her head up I have to hide the knives.
  Being woken up 3 times a night can really mess with your head. I'm exhausted, I can barely think straight. Every morning I wake up and drink a whole french press of coffee. I know it's bad for me but I don't care at this point I'm just trying to get through the day without collapsing. I realize why I want to get married more now then ever before. At this point however with my dark circles, barely showered, messed up hair look I'm sure I'm attracting no one. Oh well Jesus knows. Climbing up the stairs to my apartment with a baby and groceries is a real rough task but hopefully that's considered exercise because it's going to be a while before I see a gym again.
   I started taking baby girl to the chiropractor seriously it has saved my life! She's no longer complaining at night of stomach pains, her gas is gone, and she's sleeping for longer bouts. While I know I'm breaking the rules I have to keep the baby in my bed at night there's no way I can get up and get to the crib in the middle of the night. It's way easier for me to just roll over and feed her a bottle at night she goes to sleep faster when she can feel me. I don't think that the rules of not sleeping with a baby in your bed are healthy in the beginning. Especially because she wasn't born from my body she's still learning my scent and heart beat. Before I put her to sleep I've just rocked with her head on my heart letting her hear me. I've been consistent with the bath routine every night the same routine about the same time. Even though I'm over worked and exhausted it's all worth it. She's the light of my life I wouldn't have it any other way!

Link I read about co-sleeping:

My baby girl!


First Easter

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