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Breaking the Silence in the New Year

I’m not even sure where to begin here … it’s been quite a while (“hiatus” indeed, right?!). I suppose I’m here to reflect. How unique of me to do around New Years.

2013 has been certainly the most memorable year of my life – the highest of highs and lowest of lows. A quick review:

  • January 20 – E proposed, I said yes!
  • February – E and I officially start our journey toward foster parenthood by attending an info session
  • March – MAPP classes begin
  • June 27 – We became parents to a beautiful 10 month old
  • August – We celebrated Monica’s first birthday
  • August 23 – We said tearful goodbyes to our first child
  • August 24 – Our wedding shower
  • November 9 – E and I said “I do,” the happiest day of our lives.
  • Our first holidays together as a married couple

I’ve tried many times to blog here again, and I never quite know where to start. I’m all too aware that my readers (if indeed I still have readers) are a dizzying mix of people who know every detail of what has transpired over the past four months, those who know just enough, and those who know nothing at all. As I’m sure those of you who don’t know have guessed, E and I are no longer parenting Monica. Though I cannot (nor do I want to) rehash the whole story here (I know, I’m sorry), Monica was moved from our home at the end of August. We are no longer privy to information about her, but we believe she is still in foster care. She was moved to another home in our state, and is (per account from a social worker months ago) doing well. I’ve had the past four + months to think about (in detail) all of the broken components of this system that, from our perspective, failed Monica, us, and countless future foster children we most likely will not care for. Despite all of this time, we still can’t quite sort out all that we’ve been through, and why. 

When it comes to Monica’s departure from our care, the most difficult thing for us was how sudden everything happened. From the time we found out about the move to the time we said goodbye was less than an hour. Neither of us were prepared for the total lack of time to prepare ourselves, say goodbye, pack her things … it was a truly upsetting emotional experience. Worst of all, poor Monica was just as suddenly thrust into yet another world she didn’t know, with not one familiar face. E and I are so lucky to have had our amazing support system of friends and family to help us through the loss; Monica had to deal with loss on her own, with only new people around to help her through. Unfortunately, our ability to grieve was disrupted significantly due to our need to deal with the workings of a broken system, including protecting ourselves. We had done so much to prepare ourselves to say goodbye to Monica. In fact, we knew it was an inevitability. Regardless, nothing could have prepared us for the manner in which we eventually had to say goodbye. Only now, more than four months later, have we begun to be able to talk about Monica, laugh about her quirks, bring her up in casual conversation … It was only two weeks ago that we went through all of her things and started the daunting task of dismantling the nursery.

Although all of the things that drove us to foster parenthood still remain, at this point, we are not fostering. I believe we may revisit fosterhood at some point, but for now we need to focus on healing from our experience and starting our lives together. Obviously, we’ve had quite a year! Our wedding was so perfect, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be legally wed (it really does feel different!). We are hopeful that Monica is in a good home, continuing to thrive and to transfer her healthy attachments to her new foster parent. This year saw us become parents, and now we are parents without children. I truly hope (and believe) that 2014 will be a year of healing, of love, and maybe even pursuit of parenthood (foster or otherwise) again. 

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We have crawling?

Well we have a couple of strides at least. The most I’ve seen her take is 3 little scoots with her knees, but what a leap from not being able to get her foot out from under her!

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The current issue is … she’s too content! It’s hard to motivate her to go any further than 3 little scoots because she doesn’t care enough. Things that have motivated her to go for it: our phones, my old iPod (AKA phone fake out), and cake. A run-of-the-mill favorite toy just won’t do the trick. She is seriously content to just look at the toy while she rolls onto her back. Oh well, we are getting closer anyway.

Monica keeps showing off her ridiculously positive temperament wherever we go. We had a blast today at a pool party (slash engagement party). There were many doting aunts around to give Monica attention, which she ate up as always. I don’t think she cried once all afternoon. We are definitely screwed when it comes to any and all future children in our lives … I can’t imagine any baby being so easy and happy! She doesn’t just make life easy, she makes it super fun.

Update-wise, we really didn’t hear anything from DCF this week. I suspect that we won’t hear anything until the inter-state cooperation business is worked out. It’s just a little tough that we have no idea how long that will take. I’m not complaining though – no news is good news to me.

Point of clarification: the pool/engagement party was not for us – rather, for our good friends.

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This Girl

This Girl

I just can’t take the cute. Her kisses have become seriously slobbery and are always on the mouth now. And a big thanks to C for the sun dress … can’t get much cuter than that.

E brought Monica to meet me for lunch at work today, where she got to meet the WHOLE motley crew. She was her bright and shining self, winning everyone’s hearts with her smile and chunky thighs. I mean, she’s won all of your hearts and you haven’t even seen her smile amiright?!

So today you get this picture. Who needs toys when you have a cardboard box?

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Kicking Ass and Taking Names

E was a baller stay-at-home foster mama today. She was everywhere – kickin’ ass and takin’ names. Seriously. On my first day solo-parenting (I just tried to link to a post from that day and there isn’t one … which perfectly illustrates my point) I was just surviving – I spent all of my energy making sure Monica ate and slept and didn’t get hurt. Well E struggled through that for a couple of hours (taking a short break to call me and inform me that she does not want to be a stay-at-home mom), and then she decided to get shit done.

Things E did today:

  • Woke up and walked Sheba with Monica in tow
  • Kept Monica alive and nourished all day long
  • Grocery shopped
  • Went down to the organization that coordinates day care to fill out a mountain of paperwork and get it sorted out so that she can go to a new day care tomorrow (yes!)
  • Went to the WIC office to apply, which apparently took 2 hours (but worked out – we’re set for 3 months to get formula/milk, fruits and veggies, and cereal for Monica, and the grocery store on the corner accepts WIC)
  • Came home and prepared food to host our awesome friends M and M for the home run derby.

Kickin’ ass and takin’ names right?! She is fabulous. What a gal.

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This picture was from yesterday – Monica helping E and me register at Crate & Barrel. I wasn’t there to take pics today but I imagine it was even cuter than this.

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Day 2

I’ve been trying to write a “day 2” post for a half hour without typing even a word … I’m tired! Today went well. Little Monica slept through the night again, and has continued to be such an easy-going, happy, social little dream. She makes it easier to deal with the stress of the system. Our current stress? Daycare. When we took Monica in, we were told they would coordinate emergency daycare (a local organization offers 10 days of emergency care while a more permanent solution is being worked out) to start on Monday. So E and I both took Friday off to get to know the little nugget and adjust to parenthood, and were thrilled we would have the weekend to continue that. On Friday, I was in contact with DCF and the organization, and they told me they were on it, and would be contacting me by the end of the day with details.  Well, I never heard from them, so I called back a little after 5pm, and got through to the on-call supervisor. She had to track down the woman in charge of the program that works with DCF on her cell, and I finally heard back from her today. The news? You guessed it, they weren’t able to set anything up for Monday. This is supposed to be emergency-based! My assumption is that they do this all the time. What went wrong? I’m certain that it made things difficult that next week is a vacation week for a lot of people, and maybe daycare providers. But, unfortunately, that puts us in a bind. We’ll figure out a way to split the day or take turns (who knows if things will be worked out by Tuesday), but it is certainly annoying, and is our first real frustration with “the system” so far. First of many I’m sure.

Let’s move on to some positive things, shall we? I continue to be SO floored, humbled, amazed, and blessed by our friends, family, and community. I feel the need to give internet props to at least some of you. But I know in doing so, I will definitely miss someone. So a BIG thank you to everyone who has reached out with advice, compliments, and support through words, messages, phone calls, visits, and things over the past few days. We wouldn’t be sane without you. From visits to food to gifts/loans of toys, clothes, bottles, high chair, diaper bag, booster seat, portacrib, Baby Bjorn, books … dropped off or even shipped. There’s a CHANCE I’m feeing overwhelmed with all of our blessings. Thank you thank you thank you. Also, look at this beautiful blanket Mel made!

mel blanketIt’s the Very Hungry Caterpillar on one side and numbers on the other! I’m in love with it. So beautiful. One last shout out … thank you to all of you. Seriously, this blog is giving me a chance to sort out this instant parenthood business without going crazy or running away … the community of foster bloggers – you remind me that this is all in a day’s work, and all you readers, lurkers, commenters, family, and friends – you keep me honest and give me a reason to write it all down.

In Monica-related news … she’s such a good baby! She only cries for a reason, loves people, and generally goes along with whatever happens. She went down tonight without crying at all.  I mean, what?! The poor kid has a cold though, and has a love/hate relationship with tissues (it goes like this: she LOVES tearing them to little bits and trying to eat them, she HATES having them used for their intended purpose).  We are still trying to figure out the whole eat/sleep/play/poop schedule, but I think we are starting to get there (and by that I mean we’re starting to just let go of the hope for any type of actual schedule). Monica makes this all worth it.

My honest emotions/thoughts today: What have we gotten ourselves into?, Man, this is fun., Is everything about to fall apart?, We are insane., She is perfect and so worth it.

Sorry no pictures of the nugget today. It’s hard to get pics without her cute face in them!