Drop It Like It’s Hot

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I am going to physicall drop off my foster packet/application today! 

I was going to send it through the mail, but after speaking with my soon to be licensor, I’m not.  I just have that odd feeling it would be more easily misplaced.  And everything about me is in that folder…scary to think where it could possibly end up!

I found the cutest toddler bed on Craigslist last night!  I picked it up after work and I just adore it!  I have never really seen one before – I love how cute it is!  She gave me some fitted sheets as well. 

I also found an adorable girls crib blanket and dust ruffle!  It’s VERY shabby chic and I want it in my bed size too!  I still haven’t found boy stuff yet – although my goal is to have it be VERY girl for a little girl (duh) or VERY boy for a little he-man.  So all frilly and pink and soft, or all sports or whatever for a boy.  Yes, I am playing into gender stereotypical roles.  I don’t care!  It’s SO cute! 

A friend of mine talked me into signing up on a dating website again…I had gone on a couple of dates with one guy, but let’s just say it didn’t pan out.  I am trying very hard to move WAY past my ex…and my friends want to help that along I guess.  But I an not really interested (or maybe I am?) in starting a new relationship and trying to explain that they will be second to me caring for other people’s children, DSHS, social workers, appointments, therapy, etc.  I mean, when do I introduce THAT to someone?  Hi my name is Jae (but my real name, obviously) and I don’t have bio kids but I have lots of other kids.  I don’t know…

Being a foster mommy is more important to me than a relationship, but I do wonder how it will work out.  I guess we shall see. 

I can’t wait to get this process moving forward!!  There is some little kid out there that is going to need me as much as I need them…I hope there are things that we will teach each other. 

EEk!  🙂

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I could be a medic now…

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Well, I have now finished the initial training and classes to send in my fostering paper work. 

Saturday was the CPR/First Aid/BBP class.  I could give life saving breaths of air now. 

Syke…(I used to love saying that!)

The class must have been the bare minimum to get signed off.  Because Good God – it was not helpful!!

The teacher was nice.  He had been an RN for something like 27 years.  And had been teaching CPR classes since the 1970’s. 

Which is just great.

But when you have a guy that has like a 75″ waist teaching you about CPR and can’t even get on the floor himself because he is too big, it’s a little strange. 

But I get it.  He was there to teach a class.  And he did. 

However, I MUST complain!!  His Son?  His Helper?  He kept using the infant Little Annie doll to scratch his head, kept turning it upside down and shaking it by its leg, sticking his fingers in it’s eyes, tapping its head on the table and making the ODDEST “jokes”.  (Ok, I will go call 911 while you are giving CPR…but since you didn’t tell me to come back right away I will stop by Joe’s pizza and have a few slices.  I will make it back with some grease on my lips…) 

He was about 18.  Yeah.  And he sat in the front of the class while his dad was talking reading…a romance sci fi novel.

AND THEN?!  The crazy Teva sandal wearing couple was there!  And she put on such a good show!  🙂

She apparently is allergic to latex. Little CPR Annie MIGHT be latex.  This came out in not a moment of excusing herself from class.  No, it came out as a class announcement. 

She fussed a bit about it, asking questions.  Then asked “Do you mind if I go outside to my vehicle?  I always keep an epi pen and some non latex gloves in my car.  I don’t know if I will need the epi pen, but at least I could show everyone how to use one…HAHAHAHAHA”.  Heh.

So when it came time to give CPR/Heimlich to Little Infant Annie, Miss Allergic made a big ol’ production out of putting her Epi Pen out on the desk in front of her, having a GINORMOUS pile of paper towels and putting on her gloves.  She continued to announce that she is “so sorry to be holding us all up and she hopefully wouldn’t take this long if it were a real baby”, etc. 

She also kindly offered to pass around her epi pen for us all to see.

And it didn’t keep her from talking about all of her nursing knowledge the ENTIRE class. 

Oddly, she couldn’t do CPR on Little Annie.

Oh AND!!  There was a lady in there, who had come to my first Pride class, but didn’t see afterwards.  She was in the CPR class.  And MY GOD that woman can talk!!  About nothing!  Well, it was always ABOUT her.  But she didn’t even care if anyone was listening.  She just talked. 

And when we were discussing flu vaccines and how it’s a dead sample they give you, so you cannot get the flu FROM the vaccine – well, guess what?!  SHE DID!  Yep, she said that she is considered a medical mystery.  The teacher said that maybe she either had the flu prior to the vaccine, got the flu AFTER from someone else OR just felt kind of icky after the shot (normal), but she did NOT get the actual flu FROM the vaccine.  She argued with him until he finally gave up and moved on.

Awesome.  Lots of side glances and eye rolling.  🙂

But all in all, I am glad to have had the experience.  I like being one of “the normal ones”.  🙂

Now I have a huge packet that I need to make copies of and get sent out.  I wonder when my homestudy will be…I wonder what my house will need to have changed…I wonder if I will even get approved!! 

I have some really cute little things for the child’s room…but I have NONE of it actually IN the room.  And I need either a toddler bed or twin sized bed.  I already have a crib.

I am up in the air on getting a toddler bed – my friend says to get it and not the twin bed yet.  That it’s such a cute little stage and you don’t get to have a toddler bed for all that long.  Enjoy it while I can.  And it’s small and adorable.  haha

I have bought a few little onesie type things, but not knowing the age range or boy or girl…well, it’s not easy to do. 

And I for the life of me cannot pick out curtains for the bedroom!  It’s the lamest thing, but I am having some serious issues with it!  I cannot pick a pattern to save my life. 

How do you have your room(s) set up when you don’t know who is coming?  Any suggestions?

Push It…Push It Real Good

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Tomorrow is my CPR/BBP/1st Aid class for foster parenting.  It’s in the same room I was in for my PRIDE classes…which had NO air pumping through it.  So I don’t know if it will be hot here tomorrow or not – but doing a lot of chest pumping in a hot room with a bunch of people – not exciting. 

I will be wearing some jeans that don’t fall off my butt and a long tank top…and lots of deoderant.  That is for those around me. 

This means that as of Monday, I will be able to send off my application packet!  I probably wont’ send until Tuesday though – I want to make sure to get copies of everything I possibly can. 

Always hear the stories of packets getting lost.  UGH.

And my nerves are starting to sputter up a little higher as well…I think “I am going to lose my freedoms”, “I am going to have my heart broken when they reunify”, “I am going to be ____ (tired, stressed, overwhelmed, happy, angry, scared)”  ALL of it. 

I also wonder if this is smart for me to do.  I mean, can I REALLY be a good mom to these kids?  Do I really have anything to offer?

And that scares me.  I have no bio kids and have only spent a lot of time with my friends children.  And I like that.  And they like me. 

But these kids are a lot more broken…and I don’t want to break them in any other way! 

I just am scared I won’t be good enough.

But I don’t want to give up.  I have a tendency to quit things even when they make me happy.  I slack off.  I worry that something will be a lot of fun and I won’t be good enough at it.

I hope my fears are normal.  Because the excitement is also there.  Fear and Excitement are parallell to each other – neck and neck.  Sometimes one gets a bit of a jump on the other for a bit, but the other always catches right back up.

I need to prepare the bedroom a bit more…maybe that will alleviate some of the fears when I see how wonderfully awesome it can be too. 

EEK!

Running Just As Fast As We Can…

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If you have, as a new foster parent, decided that you want to be a home for teenagers – God Bless you.  Teenagers in general still are pretty scary to me!  As are tweens…  They know way too much!  And they THINK they know even MORE!  🙂

In our Pride class, one of the topics was run aways.  It happens.  The thing is positioning yourself as the child’s ally, not their sworn enemy. 

One of the things that was suggested is that if a kid (I like that word for some reason – kid) says or makes threats to runaway, make a Run Plan (AKA Safety plan) with them. 

If you are just leaving a parental visit and the child is upset (ala one of the videos we watched that started conversation) they might make some statements that they want to run away and they hate you, etc.  They don’t really hate YOU – something happened.  They are having a reaction to the situation they are in and they are just mad.  And that’s ok and it’s understandable.  Don’t take it personal.

Tell them that you can see that they are pissed off.  Give them a bit of space.  Don’t smother.  And tell them that if they are going to run, that you want to come up with a run plan.  That you can’t stop them from going, but you want to help keep them safe. 

Remind them that maybe at home they will need their cell phone charger, their iPod, an extra change of clothes, some snacks, etc.  And maybe a good meal.  Remind them that you will not stop them from leaving – but that you don’t want them to go.  And that if they do run, that as long as you have an open bed, they are welcome back there. 

Ask what their plan is – money? Food?  Housing?  Don’t threaten them with these questions.  You are there to listen.  To be their ally…(Pete and Repeat were on a boat)

Make their favorite meal.  Then maybe let them know that it would probably be good to get a good night’s sleep before they go.  That you won’t stop them, but you want them to be well fed and well rested. 

Remind them that while you will not stop them, that you need them to know that it is still your responsibility to call their social worker and the police that you have run.  It’s not to be mean, but because you yourself don’t want to get in trouble. 

This cycle can go on…they may not REALLY want to run.  They want the freedom and their choices.  But they may not want to go. 

The ones that want to go WILL GO.  And you won’t be helping by trying to keep them from doing so.  But stating facts and trying to help create a plan may show that you do care.  Even when they feel that no one does. 

It’s sad to think how scared, upset, angry, pissed, sad, guilty (some cases)…these kids feel.  Kids of ANY age shouldn’t have to feel all of this so profoundly. 

So by creating a run plan with the kid may end up just buying enough time for them to process through their hurts and not leave.  But don’t make a HUGE deal about that either.  Just continue on…make them feel welcome.  Secure. Wanted.

Things that are so absent from their life.

Fear & Pain = ANGER

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One thing I want to do is talk about some of the things that I learned in the PRIDE training – other than about the annoying people.  🙂

I am going to try and take a tidbit and focus on that for one post.  Not sure if I will actually accomplish this…but let’s try.

One of the things we focused on in class was emotions.  And the main one being ANGER.  All anger stem from FEAR or PAIN.  It could be the fear of having pain, or the pain of being fearful.  But those two things are what CREATE anger. 

And there is a huge difference between ANGER and being frustrated, annoyed, edgy…etc.

Anger doesn’t JUST happen.  There is more behind it.  And this is where a lot of tantrums from children come from. 

While a tantrum may not be rational to an adult, it is to the child.  It could be over not getting ice cream for dinner (fear they will NEVER.EVER. have it again, OR the pain of hunger creating the fear…), or it could be the fear of being abandoned YET AGAIN by someone else they love. 

One of the ways the teacher discussed dealing with a tantrum or a fit or any kind of anger, is by “wrapping words around the emotions” and becoming the child’s ally. 

That does NOT mean giving into the child.  But it also doesn’t mean ignoring the child or screaming back in your own anger. 

It means validating the emotion.  Showing that there are still strong boundaries, but they are made out of love and concern.  Not being mean. 

The teacher gave the example of his daughter having a screaming rageful fit about not having more chocolate ice cream.  He validated that the lack of more ice cream made her sad, and that she was scared she wouldn’t have it ever again. 

She was like 2 years old.  This is a TOTALLY rational fear at that age!  LOL

My takeaway from this – validate emotions. Don’t take out your own issues on the child.  Anger, fear, happiness – all emotions that deserve validation.

I got PRIDE, yes I do, I graduated PRIDE HOW BOUT YOU?

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HA!

I gradumacated my foster/adopt PRIDE class on Sunday!  Yay!  I got my little certificate and everything!  I officially donated my weekends listening to people talk and got a certificate for it!  (Honestly though, the speakers were awesome!)

Last Friday I went and got my TB test done and did my fingerprinting. 

The TB test was a tiny needle that went under the first few layers of my skin on my left arm.  She forewarned me that it would leave a really strange bubble effect on my arm…It didn’t stop me from freaking out when I saw it!  It looked like I had some weird growth or HUGE whitehead/zit on my arm.  And it started bleeding.  So I had a nasty looking cyst type thing.  And I had to go in public still. 

I ended up with random blood dots all over my shirt. 

Thanksfully the bubble of ick went down by the time I was fingerprinted at the State Patrol office.  I am afraid that with the lack of english that the fingerprinting lady spoke, she somehow would think I had leprosy on my arm or something.  But as I said, it just looked like a small veiny bruise by then.

One of the girls that was in my PRIDE class was the most.annoying.lady.ever.  She was EXTREMELY soft spoken and no matter how hard the teacher guy tried to get her to speak up, she would always say it’s because the vents were blowing too loudly over her head and she couldn’t hear…um, we can’t hear YOU lady.  You can hear yourself in your head I hope? 

Every day Crazy Annoying Lady would bring in several different containers.  All of soup.  Different kinds of soup.  But still soup. 

And she would slurp them.  Not the little “oops, I slurped a bit” but the full fthhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhht, with some of the noodles popping up and smacking their wet end on her face.  Well, except when she had the world’s most smelly broth type of soup.  That she dipped her bread with oddly colored cheese into. 

She ate soup about three times every class. 

After a full morning on the first day of class, listening to her slurp, I had already mentally evaluated that I hated the fact she was breathing my oxygen and no matter what she did, it would drive me nuts. 

And she drove several other people nuts too – that is one thing I love about “micro expressions”…they are SO easy to read on people. 

For the most part, everyone in the class was extremely nice.  A lot of kinship folks in there.  There was one couple that were a tad…whacky.  I can’t think of any other way to describe them.  No matter what she was correcting the teacher on (yes, because she knew EVERYTHING because she went to college and volunteered with kids once), her husband always looked at her with a mixture of cracked out-ness, fear and sexual ick.  She was a biiiig girl.  He was a scrawny Teva sandal wearing peg legged pants wearing wee man. 

And she always sat with her legs as far apart from each other as humanly possible.  In her skirts.  While constantly talking about how nothing but whole foods and organic were allowed in their house and how they worry about biological parents trying to rape them.  Or something…but that isn’t too far off. 

Anywho, I got my TB test read and I am negative.  I wasn’t exactly concerned.  But still – that would be my luck.  Everything else checks out but I have TB or something.  Or leprosy.

 

 

Oh, I could NEVER give up those kids…

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In 2008, when I first started going through some of the foster care classes (PRIDE), I started hearing this from people.

The “Oh, being a foster parent is not for me.  I could NEVER give back those poor kids.”….so, what?  Am I an asshole then?  I believe families should be together if it’s possible.

Or the “You have such a big heart! You can help a child!” I don’t know about all that.  And who is to say that that kid might not be helping ME?  They have almost all gone through more than most of us can even imagine.  And children are resilient.  It takes a lot to break that…and some are profoundly broken unfortunately. 

“Foster parents are saints”.  No, just normal parents.  Taking on some extra challenges.  Forming families a little differently than most.

Oh, and from a co-worker today…”Oh, Jae!  You really should talk to so and so.  What they went through was so heartbreaking.  And really think this over.  Raising children is so hard!”  Um, no shit?  But I am going to take a stab in the dark here and say that millions of women have children.  I may not be great.  Hell, I may realize that I am just not cut out to parent these kids.  Hell if I know. 

Oh and I had NO clue that children could be anything but FUN!  FUN in the morning!  Fun to take to the store!  Fun to watch cry and scream because dammit you won’t give them that chocolate milk right this freaking very second oh my God my life is over! 

Yeah…I am 30.  I have been around LOTS of kids.  I have had roommates with kids.  So yes, I have lived with kids. 

And no, I don’t think it will be the exact same as when I am the parent.

I am not the freaking brightest crayon on the box, but I am not a freaking nitwit. 

Plus, my mom DOES live with me…oh happy happy joy joy.  Granted, for the most part I don’t mind it. 

Anyways, I have the second two days of my PRIDE class this weekend.  Last weekend were the first two.  9 am to 5 pm.  On super beautiful days here in my neck of the woods.  And tomorrow, I am taking a vacation day so that I can get a TB test done and maybe get fingerprinted as well. 

My packet (application, etc) is almost completed.  I am ON.MY.WAY.

Ooh, and I have a crib, two strollers, two car seats (only one base though), a baby bath, a baby papasan…and that’s it.  And there could be a kid in there soon.

Or not…which is the part I am so scared of.  My mom recently got a DUI.  An extreme one.  In Arizona.  Eeeeesh.  She spent time in jail, has to get a restricted license, attend meetings and classes for three months…all that fun shit.

And it’s considered a gross misdemeanor.  The amount of money it is costing US (yes, I help support her) is gross.  And I am SO scared that since she has to have a background check and fingerprinting done as well, that they will say I can’t foster because she screwed up once.

Literally – once.  She has never even received a speeding ticket in her life.  She drives about 5 to 10 under the speed limit.  Typical 60 something year old.

So…who knows.  I am scared of not getting licensed, scared of getting licensed, scared of screwing some kid up worse, scared kids will hate me and kick me, terrified of the homestudy and my house not being ready, scared I won’t have the floors done in time, scared that m house smells like a damned animal and I won’t notice it, scared of Freddy Kreuger…oh wait.  That’s a different issue.  Damn it.

Honestly.  At some point I am going to start pulling my hair out.