Wednesday, June 25, 2008

And babies make 5

Although we had taken the PRIDE class for 10 weeks, and attended several Foster Parent Training Meetings we had no idea what we were doing.

Both of our son's were developmentally delayed and our pediatrician had no experience with children who had come from a neglectful background. We were relying on the new found friend who had helped us get involved in Foster to Adopt life.

Without betraying my children's privacy, I can give some minor details of their experience in foster care before being placed in my home. The foster care system in our part of Texas is horribly understaffed. We need Christian foster homes desperately. You cannot make a living just doing foster care. The myth that you do it for the money is not true for the majority of homes. Homes who have children with no mental or physical illness are only being reimbursed $20 a day.

My middle son A was in foster care for about 4 months when he was accidentally burned. He pulled a cup of boiling water down. This was not the first accident in the home to a foster child and the home was closed. For families with children under three, you realize that you cannot turn your back for more than 15 seconds.

My youngest son Z was placed in foster care at birth. He was a preemie so he went to a home about 4 weeks after he was born. This home was closed when he was about 5 months old. The parent was not being giving him the attention a newborn needed. She was leaving the home with no adult supervision for hours at a time. He was moved to a new home for 3 weeks before that home was closed due to having unauthorized long term guest in the home.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Z who is the youngest was placed with us first. When A needed a new home, CPS decided to place him back with his biological mother to start the transition for both boys to be returned. Although I did not know Z had an older brother I was told up front that he was going to be reunited with his biological mother.

You have no idea what God has in store for your family. God's peace had given us the courage to allow the chips to fall where they would. Once a child is placed in your arms, you fall in love. You have an emotional interest in the outcome. You are being the day in, day out caregiver. The longer this child is in your life the harder it will be for them to leave.

For the first three months the boys were with us we were in survival mode. Everything took forever to accomplish. We were not sleeping, not getting homework done, the house was a disaster area. Dad was in the process of looking for a new company to join, so he took a break, left his current job to be a daddy full time. I left every day to keep up my business and pay the bills. Daddy had never thought about being Mr. Mom but he gave it a shot and did the best he could. I still took time off for doctor, therapy, and CPS appts, but he was the primary caregiver from 9-5.

Taking advice from seasoned foster parents we chose to use private therapy for our children. ECI was understaffed and we would not receive weekly visits that we felt was necessary.

I would easily say that therapy is a must for all infant, toddler foster children and newly placed international children. We used home based therapy. This helped us establish a routine. A routine is a MUST. These kids are spinning from change. They need to have structure and know what is going to happen next. I knew this from my biological son, but with foster children this is magnified by 100. We were blessed with two therapist who had experience with children who were neglected. They had a huge heart for my family and blessed us with a loving helping hand.

Little Z was seeing an Occupational therapist to help with his tight muscles and learn how to hold his head up, and rolling over. He was seeing a speech therapist for his oral aversion. He wanted to suck a bottle but had trouble keeping it in. He was on a feeding tube at birth and developed this aversion to a nipple. Little A was seeing the speech therapist to help with his language development. This was a preventative measure since he was only 19 months old.

I cannot say again how important this therapy was for our children. With the boys being in foster care, it was mandatory for them to be evaluated to determine if they had any delays. I would encourage all parents of children from foster care or from another country to check into therapy.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

Hi Michele,
We are a foster-adopt family as well. I found your blog on RLC. You have an amazing story! Thank you so much for sharing! How great is our God!