I’ve felt like a bad blogger lately, but there has been nothing to post about! After those first two calls, we went two weeks without hearing a word from DCF. Just last night I was trying to come up with some witty and thought-provoking topic to post about (I came up empty). Then this afternoon, we got the call. And now our house has things like this in it:
I think my writing will not be so eloquent tonight, so bear with me while I report the facts.
My phone rang this afternoon around 1:45, while I was with a student. Luckily, I have an intern who I was able to leave with the kiddo while I answered. As I’m sure you can assume, it was our family resource worker, who said “I have a beautiful baby girl here and I thought of you.”
The details (well, the ones I can share online): she’s not quite 11 months old, white with blue eyes (race has always been one of the first details we get), and was removed early this morning from a hotline call. Since she came into care from a hotline call, this is considered an “emergency placement” (AKA a same-day placement). I think her blog name will be Monica – because we love Friends and this baby eats as much as Monica must have eaten as an 11 month old.
Children in the care of DCF have to have a health screening within 7 days of coming into care. Monica’s screening was scheduled for this afternoon, and I was able to leave work to meet her there to do the hand-off. It was nice to be able to sit in on the appointment (the social worker was going to do it on her own and drop Monica off with us afterward) – I got to ask the doctor questions, and get some basic developmental info that will help us care for her. Per the screening, she seems to be healthy. In terms of the case, she was living with her mom when she was removed. Dad has been in contact but lives in another state and may or may not be a suitable parent. If he is, Monica could be placed with him as soon as the next hearing, which is in ~2 weeks. Given the timing of this placement, there is always the chance that a suitable relative will come forward at any time. If that happens, DCF will clear their home and do background checks / generally investigate (since there’s an open case, wherever she goes will be checked out), and then Monica could be placed there. All in all, there is no way to have a good guess about the length of this placement. It seems the chances are equal that we’ll have her for a couple weeks or for a year or more. The goal for this cutie is reunification with her family, and we will be thrilled to see her go home to live with family who love her and can care for her. Who knows when that will be. For the time being, she’s here, and we are a little family of three!
I promise not to give a play-by-play of every minute with this baby, but it feels appropriate to say how the first night has gone!
After telling my boss I wouldn’t be in tomorrow/generally freaking out to my coworkers, I got in my car and called my mom. Things I asked my mom:
- OMG, what do 11 month olds eat?
- When do they eat? How often?
- How often should I bathe her? (her response? “K, bathe her when she’s dirty”)
- Will she sleep through the night?
I met Monica and her (temporary) social worker at the health screening. She’s such a little chunk-a-monk! And is pretty much totally bald. I’m going to need to velcro a little bow to her head or something, even the doctor (who had her chart in front of him) kept referring to her as “he.” Awkward. Monica came to us with a carseat (phew), very minimal clothing which was all gathered from donations at the Department, and some formula/diapers purchased by the social worker to get her through the next few days. We waited in the exam room for an hour before she was seen by the doctor, but he was great with her and helpful in general. Poor nugget had to get a blood draw after that. 😦 She cried while it was happening but recovered SO much faster than I thought! She was her smiling self by the time we walked out of the room.
I was officially on my own with her when we left the appointment. After such a long day, she fell asleep as soon as I pulled out of the parking garage. We didn’t get home until around 7:00, and I really wanted to get her into a routine immediately. She and E got to meet, and we introduced her to Sheba the dog. Sheba will be something we figure out as we go – she got very excited/hyper and wanted nothing more than to lick Monica’s feet, which she was not a huge fan of. It seems like the little nugget may not have been around dogs before, so we’ll do a gradual introduction over the next few days. When we got home, we started on the night-time routine of bath, books, bed. Monica is used to co-sleeping, and apparently has spent most of her time being held. As such, we were a little worried about how bed time would go. We are not certain that she has ever slept in a crib/room by herself. Still, we were set on starting the routine right away – so into the crib she went. She cried (slash screamed) for about 15 minutes, but I think she was just too exhausted to fight it. As I type, she is peacefully sleeping in the crib, and has been asleep for about 2 hours. Here’s hoping tonight goes well! When I went in to check on her, this is how I found her:
What a chunker right?! Anyway, poor thing must have fallen asleep sitting up. Don’t worry, I adjusted her positioning appropriately, but not before taking a picture!
So that’s what’s happening. And here’s where I ask for advice! What do we do with an 11 month old? Any suggestions for activities/toys/foods/etc? Help these first time foster parents out!