Saturday, December 22, 2012


After several visits with the foster family, K10 officially moved into our home the week of Halloween.  It was bittersweet.  We met at our usual McDonalds about 1.5 hours from home, pretty close to the middle of our houses.  K10 was already indoors playing in the playplace.  She recognized us right away and run over to give us hugs.  K8 and K9 quickly ate their lunch and began playing with K10.  I chatted with foster mom for awhile and observed her son.  He has autism and was clearly struggling with the volume of noise.  He had visited with us before, but this visit he was clearly more agitated. He kept repeating "oh no!  We left her."  Foster mom kept reassuring him that nobody had been left anywhere.  She kept talking to him and showing him that she could account for everybody.  It didn't take long for us to understand that he had figured out that this would be the last time he would be with K10 and was worried about leaving her.  As we loaded up our cars, foster mom was very matter of fact.  She handed me paperwork of previous dr visits, vaccines, savings account funds, suitcase full of clothes and bags full of toys. Her adult daughter gave K10 a huge hug and started to shake with tears. K10 caught some of the distress and became agitated. We had taken K10 on weekend visits previously, but this was the first time K10 expressed concern with saying goodbye.  The foster mom gave K10 a quick hug, told her to be good, and said goodbye. K10 said, "No, Mommy" and held her arms out. The foster mom just said "I love you", turned and got in her car.

I was a little confused.  Foster mom had seemed abrupt and somehow off. We waved goodbye and I looked at hubby.  "Well, that was odd." I said.  As Robert turned to look at me he caught a glimpse of foster mom in her car.  "I don't think so," said Robert as he raised his eyebrows and tilted his head in the direction of the other car.  As I glanced over my shoulder, I could see the tears on her children's faces and I could see the complete devastation on foster mom's face.  She had held herself together as long as she could.  She was being strong to hold her other children together.  Her autistic child was screaming full bore as she backed out of her parking space.  Her love for our shared child was evident and I will forever be grateful to her for her many efforts with K10.  She was proactive in gaining many services for K10 which helped put K10 on the road to healing.  We have a lot to do still, but she got the ball rolling.  Never again will I question the reaction of a foster family saying good bye. I have not walked in their shoes and I do not know what it takes for them to hold their family together.

Taking on another kid means lots of adjustments.  Kids that had previously had private rooms are now sharing a room with a much younger sibling.  Sometimes this works...sometimes it doesn't.  Currently we have the 15 year old and the 2 year old sharing a room (NOT working) and the 12 year old and the 5 year old (most difficult of the 3 children) are sharing a room - working VERY well.  The two boys, age 6 and 4 are sharing a room and it mostly works...except at bedtime when they talk and giggle into the night. I guess that's just being brothers.

Although I am not making any immediate changes...mostly because that requires effort and time, something I am lacking in my days right now, I recognize that things moved so fast that we made quick arrangements to get the newest kids moved in quickly.  I hope that soon we will have a good routine and I can devote some time to find a better solution for room space.  Right now my best option is to wait until K1 (now 18 and in college) decides that so many kids in the home is cramping his college life and decides to move out.  This allows K5 to regain her private room without a 2 year old getting into her stuff.  I can then put K10 in K8's room and move K3 to K1's room.  This gives each teen their own room, while the "under age 6 crowd" shares with a sibling.  Truly, this is ideal.  So how much more noise will it take for K1 to run out of the house screaming "I just want some peace and quiet!!!"...  Hmmm.  Well, since K1 adores kids and has committed his life to opening a business specifically to play with kids, I guess I will have to come up with a better plan.

In the meantime, we adjust.  We adjust to new routines and new chaos.  It is 2 days before Christmas and we have the tree up.  It has lights on it and some candy canes.  It is a minimalistic view of a christmas tree and is devoid of our usual traditions.  I hope that next year we will reinitiate our beautiful ornament tradition (each child get a new ornament that reflects something of their year - giving us an ornate tree of memories) but for this year...I think I am ok with the simplistic tree.  The youngest kids are excited and the piles of presents under the tree remind us how blessed we are to have loved ones in our life.  I have purchased .98 cent stockings to hang by the fireplace...I think I will give the kids glitter, pompoms and glue and let them decorate at will.  This might not be a Christmas filled with our traditions, but it will be a Christmas filled with our love.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Wow.  Apparently life is moving in fast forward in our household.  How on earth did it get to be the weekend before Christmas?  Seems that I have been remiss in my blog!

So...long story or short story.  Hmmm.  Well lets be honest, I can be verbose and drag out a story.  ;-) But hey, at least I can admit to it.

So in my last blog...several months ago, we announced the addition of K10.  A beautiful 2 year old girl with big loopy curly hair and lovely brown eyes.  She is the half sister of K8 and K9.  It is been so amazing to watch the children reconnect and rebuild their relationship has been exhausting as well.  More on that in a future blog.  For this blog, I thought I would just share with you how it felt to help siblings find each other again.

The first time we met K10 was in October.  K8 was beside herself with excitement.  She had been talking about K10 since long before we knew they would be reunited.  "Mommy...I have a si-her," she would tell me.  "I know honey.  Do you want to tell me about her?"  K8 would have a haunted look in her eyes and sadly say, "No.  Her gone now."  It broke my heart.  The day I told her we knew where K10 was and asked her if she wanted to visit her little sister, the scream of excitement nearly blew out the house windows.  "Right now?!  Can I see my si-her right now?"  In that moment, I knew beyond any shadow of doubt that reuniting K8 to K10 was absolutely the thing she needed most to begin her healing process.  My biggest concern was the fact that K10 was so young, I doubted she would even remember her siblings.

The day we were to meet K10, we picked K8 and K9 up from school.  Their energy was contagious and we started the  nearly 2 hour drive.  Within 30 minutes, both kids were fast asleep which allowed the hubby and I a small amount of peace and quite.  As were neared our destination, K8 awoke and started telling us all about K10.  The words were coming out so fast, I couldn't understand them.  At one point I heard, "I will teach her to walk and I will give her a bottle..."  It saddened me that her memories of her sister were over a year old.  The sister she remembered was an 8 month old baby.  The reality of who she would see would be a nearly 3 year old walking/talking toddler that could down chicken nuggets and french fries like a linebacker!  I tried to explain to K8 that K10 already knew how to walk now.  I told her that K10 had been growing just like SHE had been growing.  K8 clearly didn't understand.

We pulled into the McDonalds parking lot and waited.  Within a few minutes the other foster family pulled in.  Hubby left me getting kids out of carseats as he met the other dad and saw our soon to be daughter for the first time.  As I came around the corner of the van, he smiled at me and mouthed "Oh my God...she is so cute!"  I smiled and then nearly tripped on K8 who had come to a complete stop in front of me.  She had a look of panic on her face and so I squatted down next to her.  "Sweetie, look in mommy's eyes."  As her frightened eyes found mine, I asked her if she recognized her sister.  She sadly shook her head no.  "Honey, this little girl is your sister.  I promise you.  Remember I said she got bigger while she was gone?"  K8 quietly nodded her head and reached out for a hug.
At this point we suggested heading into the building to let the kids run and play in the playplace.  It didn't take long for the kids to adjust to each other and start running around.  We laughed as K10 would  grab foster dad's straw and throw it to the floor before he could stop her and by the time it was time to go, the kids were smiling and laughing.  "Mommy?!!!" Asked K9.  "Can we play with my sister again?"  It was the first indication K9 gave me that all of this was important to him too.

"Yes, my love.  Mommy and daddy will make sure of it."

To be continued...