Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Things have been relatively quiet here. We have had an incredibly busy last few weeks with baseball, end of the school year activities and my oldest son's graduation. Yesterday we had a pool party and celebrated the May/June birthdays in our family. It was so fun to include Turtle in all of the festivities of our long 5 day weekend. I even told my husband that he fits right in. We were able to celebrate Turtle's birthday with our extended family and it was so sweet of everyone to sing to him and give him little gifts. I have the best family, and am so lucky that everyone is supportive of our role as foster parents. I am excited to plan Turtle's actual birthday party this week, now that things have quieted down a little we can look forward to a fun 1st birthday celebration! Since becoming foster parents just 2 short months ago everything has been sort of a whirlwind of events and emotions. I wasn't prepared for how quickly I would become attached to my boys and how much it hurt when Drummer left. Having Turtle come into our lives that very same day was actually a blessing, crazy yes but good for us. It has been amazing to watch the changes in Turtle, both physically but also in his countenance too, you can't help but see it. This morning as I came downstairs he caught sight of me and army crawled just as fast as he could over to me, he definitely knows I'm his mama! I am so glad that I get to love on him and that I have been blessed to have him in my life. So for now we are going to enjoy the next couple of weeks of summer and not think about what will happen next!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


We bought ourselves a little more time with Turtle yesterday! Court was postponed for 4 weeks because of a conflict of interest between the attorneys for dad and Turtle so Turtle is being assigned a new GAL and court is set again for 6/13. By 5 o'clock I hadn't heard from Mr. Caseworker so I texted him to see how things went. About half an hour later he called back to explain what happened. I am relieved and excited. When I told my kids that Turtle gets to stay with us another month we all did a happy dance around the room. Of course he has no idea what is going on but it was so fun to see my kids genuinely happy. I have been thinking so much about what my role is in his life and what really is best for him. I feel like if I am going to survive the world of foster care I have to be okay with letting my babies go home. The hardest thing is knowing that 9 out of 10 times we or another adoptive family could provide a much better life for these kids but is that really what is best? I think I have to come to terms with the fact that family is family and as long as it is safe for them to return home or with another family member then that is where they need to be. Going into this I really wanted to help strengthen families, we haven't had the opportunity to work with birth parents yet but I hope when we do it will be positive for everyone. If there really is no reason for Turtle not to be with his Grandma then who am I to stand in the way?  I just want so much for these babies to grow up loved, to have a chance at a successful future. I want the same things for them as for my own kids but maybe even more because it will be so much harder for them. Yesterday I attended an awards ceremony with my second oldest for an anti-drug video he made. We had the opportunity to hear from our County attorney who spoke to the kids and shared a little about his life and how he grew up in south LA, raised by a single mom. One thing he said that really stuck with me is that your circumstances in life do not dictate who you are or what you can become. That is true for all of us. I think I have been prepared for my role as a foster mom my whole life because of the experiences I've had growing up. We all have the choice to dwell on the negative things or get on with life. I choose to keep on swimming! I love being a foster mom, the good the bad and the ugly, I love it. Others may not think so but I think foster parents are a choice people. What we are asked to do, love these kids like ours and then let them go-I have never had to do anything harder in my life. It hurts, it hurts bad but we survive and we open our hearts to the next child that needs us because we know that our hurt is nothing compared to theirs. So, a lot of thinking going on here, I am learning as I go and with each new experience will come more confidence. The great news in all of this is I get to plan a 1st birthday party! Can you guess what the theme is going to be? Turtles of course!

Monday, May 14, 2012


Two more days until the fate of our sweet boy is determined. Mr. Caseworker just came by for his monthly visit, he was 10 minutes early in fact! Despite the fact that he forgot about last weeks visit I still really like him. We talked for awhile about what could possibly happen at court on Wednesday. Unlike Drummer's caseworker, he is very open and shared quite a bit with me. Apparently the judge assigned to Turtle's case is the most pro-bio family judge in the county. Great. Not what I was hoping for. Turtle's paternal grandma passed the home study but only marginally, she is dependent on the state to meet her financial needs. I know that she is family but she has never seen him, she has no relationship with him and he's about to be a year old. I also found out that she didn't even raise Turtle's father, he grew up in group homes himself. It breaks my heart knowing that there is a strong possibility that he will be placed with her. I could tell that Mr. Caseworker really loves this little boy. He has been his case manager since birth and has watched him grow up. I am glad that he came to see us, he admitted that he was initially against Turtle being moved from his first home, but now that he has seen him and the progress he has made in just the past month he is happy for him. He kept saying how much he's changed, that there is a 110% difference in what he can now do. He just sat here for awhile watching him play, not really saying anything. I think he was actually a little emotional! So sweet that there are people in the system that do love these kids and they become attached to them too. The next few days will be hard, I don't even know if he is leaving but just thinking about it I get a huge lump in my throat. It just stinks that this little boy has been through so much already, he needs a family. I  hope that the judge will see that and give our little Turtle a chance to have a life full of love and happiness.

By the way, I managed to keep my house clean all week for todays visit. I even scrubbed my scary bathroom! My daughter's room is still a mess (she's grounded until it gets cleaned!) and the playroom is beyond help but it didn't matter because he never looked around! I know the one time that I throw caution to the wind and my house is a disaster will be the time someone decides to check in all the rooms! In all honesty it's never really that bad,  last week was just a little crazy and it got the best of me!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Yesterday we had an appointment scheduled with Turtle's caseworker. About 30 minutes after he was supposed to be here I sent him a friendly text asking if he was still planning on coming out today. Kudos to him he replied right away very apologetically that he forgot to put the meeting on his calendar and would need to reschedule. I can't tell you how frustrating this is. I have come to expect it but I am very busy too and am usually squeezing them into my schedule so if they run late it throws my day off too. Not to mention the stress I put on myself to clean the house, although that's not a bad thing I do stress over it! I am learning though, I never got to my daughters room and the playroom is a disaster but figure there was at least a 90% chance that he wouldn't even look around so I'd probably be good. I should have figured in the last 10% that he'd be a no show! I realized the other day that nobody except Mr. Caseworker even knows that I have him in my home. I don't even know how that is possible but the DE$ department that sends us our monthly billing statement showed no record of Turtle being here or even that Drummer had left, then I had to call CMDP the other day because of a problem getting a rx for Turtle and the nice lady that was helping asked if I was E****, the former foster mom. Nope, not me. So basically Mr. Caseworker has not filed the necessary paperwork to let anyone know that we have baby Turtle and as far as anyone else is concerned he is still somewhere else. I know there are a lot of kids in care and the system is overwhelmed but these are children and not one of them should ever be forgotten.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I called Turtle's case worker today just to get an update on things and find out if we would be able to take our sweet boy on vacation with us at the end of the month. I am still trying to figure out if I really want to know what is going on with my kids cases or if I like being kept in the dark.  I have to say that I really like this caseworker, I haven't called him much but of the few times I have he has answered his cell phone every single time, I have never had to leave a message. He caught me up to date on what has been happening, bio moms rights have already been terminated, I'm not sure if this happened since I've had him or before but she has never had any contact with him that I know of. Apparently there was a hearing today for TPR on dad who is currently incarcerated and will be for awhile. The bio dad's mother wants Turtle placed with her but everyone involved is against it, her background isn't too stellar either. A hearing to decide on his placement with her is scheduled for the 16th. I already knew some of this but having an actual date is so scary, if the judge decides Turtle be placed with his grandma he would leave right away. I don't know if I can do this again so soon. I knew Turtle was another short term placement, but still thought we would have him for at least a few months. I am still very hopeful that he will be free for adoption and we can help make another family's dreams come true. It is hard enough letting these babies go but to have to send him into a bad situation is just unthinkable. There is no way you can let your mind get too wrapped up in it all, I have to remind myself constantly that we are loving him and keeping him safe and that he is happy. I know that we have made a difference even if it is just for a little while. Just 30 minutes ago everything was great, now I have a BIG date looming over my head. Now what do I do the day of the hearing? Do I have everything packed up just in case, would they move him immediately? I wish I wasn't so new to all of this and knew a little more about what to expect. I think all we can really do is expect the unexpected!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I am cheap. I hate spending full price on anything. I love to shop clearance racks, use coupons and get a good deal on everything. I am frugal in some areas of my life but not in others, it's good to have a balance right? I heard that some places will give discounts to foster families but haven't had much luck finding any except for a local kids resale shop. Somewhere I heard that the YMCA gives discount memberships to foster families but haven't had time to check into it. I called the other day and the girl who answered didn't give me much information but just said to come in and talk with them. So today we took a little trip down to the Y and took a tour of their fabulous facility. Another mom was taking the tour too and actually brought up the question of discounts for foster families, she does respite care. The "concierge" told us it was completely free for the whole family! Oh happy day, gotta love free! I was hoping for a discount but heck, you can't beat free! I am very excited, especially with summer coming and the kids are all home from school. My teenager has been bugging us to join a gym so he is going to love it! They have a heated outdoor pool, top of the line fitness equipment, group classes, a huge basketball gym, rockwall, and a really fun kids area with free child care for the little ones while I make a fool of myself on the treadmill. I guess I have no more excuses for not getting in shape! I've tried looking online for other discounts maybe to our local museums or zoo but haven't found much. If you know of any please let me know!


In the last week people have asked me questions that have caught me off guard. I always thought I was of the opinion that I would rather people be upfront with me but I think I'd rather them keep their questions to themselves! At my daughters softball game last week another mom asked me where Turtle was from. We live in a big suburb of an even bigger city so I was trying to figure out what she meant, when she must have seen the confused look on my face and asked if he was from the United States. I know she meant well, and that she assumed that he was adopted but seriously, just because he is black most certainly does not mean that he came from Africa. I have no tolerance for ignorance. Then today as I was checking out at the grocery store the cashier asked if he was adopted. I absolutely don't mind this question because it gives me the opportunity to share our experience with foster care. After I said no, we are fostering I think she thought this gave her free reign to ask anything. She first started by saying oh, is he cross-eyed? Um, no he was looking at a toy hanging from his carrier that was right in front of his face, that would make you cross-eyed too. Of course I didn't say that, I am always the polite one! Then she said, so nobody wanted him? Excuse me! Uh, no they just couldn't take care of him right now. How dare she! I know I am just a foster mom but he is my baby. I hope this was just her being dumb and not that she thought that because he was "just a foster kid" she could say whatever. I am protective of my kids but since we started fostering I am fiercely protective of my foster babies. No one or nothing will hurt them if I have anything to do with it! I am going to learn to be a little quicker on my feet. Not rude, I just need a snarky comment to put people politely in their place!