"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him." 1 Samuel 1:27
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Monday, December 31, 2012

Foster Adoption Wishes for a Happy 2013

Happy New Year 2013 to you!  A new year means new beginnings, new perspectives, and possibly new foster children for our family.  We await placement as technically we are permitted one more child in our home per state rules.  We also await the final parental termination and final adoption hearings for our Sweet Pea.  We celebrate New Year's Eve with our children in our home~just us~playing games, eating snacks, and making our resolution lists.  We also pray for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.  I am sending up a special prayer for foster children everywhere, and families who are opening their hearts to them; for birth parents, and  I am praying for you on your foster/adoption journey. 
Many many blessings to you,
The Queen Mama

Sunday, December 30, 2012

No Other Mother

Sitting here looking at my Sweet Pea this morning, and my Little Princess, I felt compelled to write some raw true feelings that I, as a foster/adoptive mother feel toward my little ones.  When you start fostering with the intent to adopt, I feel it is much more difficult to keep your feelings of possessiveness, righteousness, etc. under wraps.  I must admit, that from the get-go, especially with Little Princess, our daughter we adopted through foster care, I felt an instant bond, an instant feeling that "This baby is mine."  Pretty much the same with Sweet Pea.  There was that first wary feeling of unease with both of them, such as being in a dream-like state, as in "Is this really happening?  Am I really holding a baby in my arms? (after such a long wait.) But then, the Mama Bear instincts take over.  Then, as time passes, and we move through the case, with bio parents either completely disappearing or only visiting sporadically, the full-time feelings of "I am the only Mother to this child" start to kick in. 
Now, close to the end of our journey, the feeling of "There is No Other Mother" is as strong as a strong could be in my heart. Now, I do know that these children have birth parents, and am forever respectful of the fact that they brought them into this world, but as the saying goes, anyone can be a mother, but not everyone can be a mommy. Am I selfish to say these things?  Some of you may think yes, maybe.  Sometimes I feel yes, maybe.  But, given the circumstances with the bio parents, I think it's totally  natural to feel this way.  I feel Sweet Pea's bio mother feels the mommy wand has shifted as well. She is still visiting as the courts allow until the final hearing, though she signed her rights away.  When I hand Sweet Pea to her at a visit, bio mother always says thank you for bringing her, and when I come back to pick her up, bio mom says "Look who's here, and gets Sweet Pea all excited to see me."  She has also thanked me for adopting her and giving her a good life.
When we took in 2 year old Cutie Patootie as an emergency placement this past summer, we knew she would most likely be going to her grandparents.  We already were placed with Sweet Pea, and did not have intentions of adopting Cutie Patootie.  (Though we would have if the grandparents were not given custody).  She was with us for 3 months, and I did not have that possessive feeling, I think because adoption was not our intent.)
Anyway, I intended this blog to be not only a journal of my journey, but a real and honest tale  to share with others who may be just starting their journey, whether my opinions are popular or not~so they may have an insight into this process.  Also, to give and receive support from other foster/adoptive parents.
Blessings to you,
The Queen Mama

Thursday, December 27, 2012

What a Merry Christmas ~ Aggravated Circumstances

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas in 2012.  We received news that the judge did in fact grant aggravated circumstances on the bio father, and that a termination of parental rights hearing for him, and a consent to adoption hearing (giving up parental rights) for the bio mother have been scheduled on the same day in March.  So, three more months of bio mom being allowed visitation, and three more months to see if bio Dad decides to voluntarily sign consent.  In my heart of hearts, I know that we will be making this beautiful little Sweet Pea a part of our family forever in 2013.
Ever faithful,
Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Still No News

Bio Mom scheduled visit last week, then canceled.  But kept visit with her other children the next day.  Hasn't scheduled a visit this week yet.  Caseworker said she doesn't know what's going on with her.  Caseworker also said that she has no new news for me.  Still no ruling on the aggravated circumstances hearing.  She said Bio Dad was very defiant and arrogant at the hearing.  He said since they (the county) started this, they can finish it.  Meaning, he will make them do the extra work of the termination hearing, instead of consenting to adoption and signing his rights over.  The lawyer pulled him aside after hearing and explained that it was in his best interests, since Bio Mom is pregnant again, that he sign consent for Sweet Pea so he could at least be around the new baby.  If rights are involuntarily terminated, he will not be permitted to be in a living situation with children for three years.  So, we will see.  Still no dates set for consent hearing for Bio Mom or termination hearing for Bio Dad.  Adopting through foster care can be a lot of hurry up and wait!
Blessings to you,
The Queen Mama

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Aggravated Circumstances Hearing

Yesterday was the Bio Dad's aggravated circumstances hearing. I was told it would be quick, simple, and a done deal, and I didn't have to attend.  Well, the caseworker emailed me and told me that the judge did not make her decision, that she wanted to weigh the information and think things over and would get back to us in a few days.  Why does one need to weigh things over when Bio Dad hasn't seen his child in 10 months!? He has been in and out of jail, on the run, and when he was not incarcerated, he chose not to see her.  He had a visit with her about 3 times total.  Aggravated circumstances occur when a bio parent has not seen their child in 6 months.  I have to say that at times, this system overly frustrates me!!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thankful Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Day my dear readers!  So much to be thankful for today~my husband, who is such a hard worker and good provider for us, my children, my foster children, my extended family.  But most of all, I think I am just so thankful to have a warm, comforting, happy place to call home.  I think about foster children who are in group homes with no family contact, or those who are about to age out of the system with nowhere to go or no supports, and it humbles me to the point of tears.  I brought this point up with my children this morning to help them feel gratefulness for all of our blessings. If you are reading this, please consider ways you can help these foster children, whether it be by becoming a foster parent, spreading foster care awareness through your church or work place or donating clothing, toys, special items, etc. to your local county children and youth agency.
 To you and yours, may you be Blessed this Thanksgiving day and always.
The Queen Mama

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time is Up!

Time is up for Bio Mom to change her mind after signing her consent to adoption.  30 days of angst on our part, wondering if she would change her mind.  Even if she did, the case still would have gone to termination, but it would have meant a much longer journey.  Papers are being filed with the courts tomorrow and then a hearing for the judge to confirm the signing.  Papers are also being filed with the courts this week for termination of rights for the Bio Father, who is still incarcerated.  But, that is not the end.  We still have to wait for a termination hearing to be scheduled for him, and then a finalization hearing (adoption) , so we are looking at probably next March or April.  Bio Mom canceled her visit this past week, and cut her visit an hour short the week before, so I am curious as to whether she will request a visit this coming week.  We are so thankful for our little Sweet Pea, so humbled and grateful that God has chosen us to be her forever family.  So thankful that Birth Mom is at peace with the situation and that she insisted that Sweet Pea be adopted by us.
Many many blessings to you on your journey,
The Queen Mama

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Do You Have a Foster Adoption Story?

Hello Dear Readers,
Do you have a foster adoption story you would like to tell?  Have you finalized your adoption, or are you just beginning your adoption story, and would like to guest post/blog?  Contact me at fosteradoptionmommy@gmail.com for more information!
Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Friday, November 2, 2012

Seven Days Til Consent Deadline

Sweet Pea had another visit with Bio Mom today.  Two hours.   There are 7 days left until her consent to adoption is final.  Irrevocable.  Forever.   Caseworkers talked with Bio Mom prior to us getting there again about when the consent to adoption will be final, and that no visitation will take place after that unless we as adoptive parents agree to it.  They asked her to prepare herself for the possibility that we will want no contact.  They wanted to make sure she understood that post adoption contact was voluntary and that it may only consist of pictures and letters.  Surprisingly, she was fine with everything, and actually proactive by telling them that she was going to encourage Bio Dad to sign consent as well (as he is refusing, even though he is in jail for at least a year and is facing aggravated circumstances).  
While I am happy with this news, my heart actually skipped a beat, and I had a growing pit in my stomach when I saw Bio Mom with Sweet Pea today.  I know she made her own choices, and I know Sweet Pea and her other children are not safe in her care, but I am still a Mom, she is still a Mom, and she is human.  I know this is not easy for her, and I feel compassion for her.  I pray she can find God for her strength to stay away from the things in her life that overtake her and try to defeat her.
Blessings to you, my dear readers,
The Queen Mama

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Awkward Situaions: Three Hours Talking with Birth Mom

My little Sweet Pea had a minor surgery this week.  Birth Mom signed her parental rights away two weeks ago, but is still visiting once a week until the paperwork is final (after leaving the state on the run from probation and not seeing her children for 3 months).  And, she insisted on coming to the surgery.  Now, I may sound like a callous foster parent, or just a callous person, but I really did not want birth mom at the surgery.  There is no bond between birth mom and baby.  I have had baby girl since birth, directly from the hospital.  Birth mom has seen her a handful of times over her 10 months of life.  Okay, okay, enough of defending myself.  But, I just didn't want her there.  This was my time with Sweet Pea to be her comforter, to cuddle her until she went to the O.R., to be there when she woke up.  I am her Mama in my heart, and I will be soon legally. Before I get emails that I am a birth mom hater, I am not.  I respect the rights of the birth mother, but at this point in time, she had signed her rights away Little did I know that having birth mom there would actually be somewhat of a blessing.

When we got to the hospital, they put me and Sweet Pea in a private room right away and started with the pre-op.  About 15 minutes later, Birth Mom walks in and immediately takes Sweet Pea from me.  She does not drive, so a social worker from the recently-out-of-prison-back-to-society program brought her.  Sweet Pea just sort of stared at her, but didn't fuss, and I was glad, because I didn't want her to be upset before surgery.  After we got all the preliminary pre-op questions out of the way, they let us go to a waiting area filled with toys.  I decided since I could do nothing about birth mom being there, I might as well embrace the situation, and think of Sweet Pea's best interests.  Luckily, birth mom likes me, so I was able to ask many questions about her childhood, her current relationship with birth father (which is none-they broke up as he is in jail for about a year), how she is doing with her recovery from addiction, what her future plans are, etc. so I have a chance to write these things down for Sweet Pea's benefit if she wishes to know about her birth mom in the future.  She did open up to me, and I was a good listener, and gave her my support and best wishes for her success.  She is pregnant with a boy, and she does not want to lose him to the system.

 Right now she is sober and is really trying to get her life together.  I truly hope she does.  When they took Sweet Pea to surgery, we sat in an awkward silence, so I offered to buy birth mom  lunch, and we then sat and ate our food in awkward silence.  When they brought Sweet Pea to recovery, birth mom let the nurse hand Sweet Pea to me.  About a minute later, birth mom said her ride probably wanted to leave.  She wanted to hold Sweet Pea, so I handed her over.  Sweet Pea immediately began screaming and crying.  Birth Mom tried to keep holding her, but said "Here.  She wants you anyway." and left. 

So, that was my awkward three hours with birth mom.  Looking back, I am actually glad she came, because I was able to get some family medical history from her as well as a glimpse of her psyche and childhood.  I learned she was a foster child herself, not removed from the home, but put into a home by her mother who was at her wit's end with her behavior.  The best part of her being there, was she told me she was glad that Sweet Pea was going to be adopted by me and my husband.  She said she told the caseworker that she would not sign her rights away unless she could be guaranteed that we would be adopting her.  She told me that she knows we can give her everything that she can't, and that we take very good care of her.  Though awkward, I was grateful.  I think that will be the very best thing Sweet Pea could know when she is old enough.
Blessings to you wherever you may be in your journey!
The Queen Mama

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bio Mom Signed Consent Today!

Bio Mom signed consent to adoption today.  That means she signed away her parental rights to our adorable little baby girl Sweet Pea.  I am overjoyed for our family, but at the same time saddened for Mom.  Adoption is a Celebration, but also a loss.  A loss for the bio parents, as  well as a loss of biological parents for the child.  Not that adoptive parents don't match up to bio parents-but in a perfect world, all children would live happily ever after in their safe, loving, bio families.
Bio Mom had a visit with Sweet Pea today for two hours.  She didn't say anything to me except how much food Sweet Pea ate and that she didn't drink her bottle.  When I was leaving, she said thank you twice.  That was it.  Caseworker stopped me in the parking lot and said her lawyer was meeting her there and she was signing after I left.  I just got the call that she signed.  I did ask the caseworker to ask Bio Mom if I could take a picture of her and Sweet Pea for her Lifebook.  She said she didn't mind, but not today, because she didn't like what she was wearing or how her hair looked.  I told her that is okay.  But, now it is likely I will never have a picture of her or them together.
So, now Mom has 30 days to appeal her decision.  After that, the consent papers will be filed with the courts and onto adoption we move.  I am so grateful to God the Father right now, tears are streaming down my cheeks as I type.  I still pray that Mom and Dad are able to overcome the problems in their life, and be happy and productive.
Blessings to you wherever your journey may lead  you!
The Queen Mama

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Bio Mom Out of Jail Already and Wants Visitation

Well, thanks to this wonderful judicial system of ours, bio Mom is out of jail after only 1 month.  And, she has requested visitation with her children.  A normal request, because, of course, they are her children.  And, the county has to comply because her visitation was not addressed at the last hearing.  So, off we go to a visit tomorrow.  Now, the caseworker tells me that Mom is still planning on signing consent, but not sure when.  Uh huh.  I have been down this road before.  I know to let these words go in one ear and out the other.  Mom knows this case is going to termination, but I have a feeling she's going to fight til the end.  I can't blame her.  I am a Mom too, and know I would do the same thing, no matter if I knew I had done wrong or not.  So, we will see how this all plays out.  I wish I could fast forward this case and press play!
Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Monday, October 1, 2012

BREAKING NEWS: Bio Mom Pregant Again!

There is just never a dull moment in this case.  Make that any case when it comes to adopting through foster care.  Make that just doing foster care, without the intent to adopt.  I have done both.  At Sweet Pea's last hearing,(that didn't happen, but happened for her brothers, who are tied into her case), Bio Mom refused to sign over her parental rights.  I do not begrudge her this, as that is extremely difficult for a mother to do, and I don't think I could do it either.  Sweet Pea had her actual hearing this past week.  I did not have to attend.
Caseworker told me that Bio Mom and Dad were both considering signing over consent to adoption since they were told that aggravated circumstances have been filed for Dad and would be filed for Mom, meaning once their parental rights were terminated, they would not be able to have any children in their care for the next three years.
 BREAKING NEWS:  Caseworker found out at the hearing that Mom is pregnant again! Not sure how far along.  However, this news means that if her rights are terminated, the baby will be immediately removed from her care at birth (and placed with us-caseworker already asked), and be free for adoption.
Wow!! Regardless, the children already in foster care are heading for adoption.  Rights will be terminated whether they volunteer, or the court finds.  So, the future of this unborn child lay in their hands right now.  If they sign, they get to keep their child, but will most likely be under the scrutiny of child services.  If they don't sign, they will lose their child to child services.   Father in Heaven, I pray that these birth parents may find You in their lives, as their life and the future of their child are at stake.  I pray that when they are released from prison, they are able to eventually turn their life around, and realize that their children are the most precious gifts and that they are number one priority.  In Jesus Name, Amen.
Thank you, dear readers for your continued prayers through posts, emails, and even just in your hearts!
Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Visit With Mom in Handcuffs

Sweet Pea had her permanency hearing last week.  Well, her brothers had theirs, hers was postponed because Bio Dad said he did not know about it (although he's in jail, and my letter states it went to him and his lawyer), but anyway, it is rescheduled.  However, since I was present at the sibling hearing (which Sweet Pea's was a part of), and Bio Mom was present, we had to endure a "visit".  Bio Mom requested visitation for that day during the hearing with the judge and he complied.  Bio Mom, who sat there in her prison stripes, shackled legs and handcuffs...Bio Mom, who violated her probation when she left the state with her prison escapee boyfriend, who left her children for 3 months without a good-bye, without a note, without a call to the caseworker....who would still be "on the lam" if she wasn't apprehended.  Bio Mom, who has seen her 9 month old baby girl a total of 24 hours over 6 months since she was born...wants a visit.  Forgive my crassness, but the system really stinks!
Anyway, the deputies took Bio Mom to a very small room and removed her cuffs.  I took Sweet Pea to see her.  Two caseworkers came with me.  Bio Mom cried when she held Sweet Pea.  Perhaps, since she was now sober after being incarcerated for three weeks, she could clearly see the consequences of her actions, what she gave up...a precious little life...the life she and her boyfriend made...a life she knows she will lose the rights to soon...all to be with her boyfriend, for drugs, for whatever...I, of course, was very nice to Bio Mom, and answered questions she posed to me about Sweet Pea.  I don't hate this person, or loathe her.  I don't feel sorry for her, as she made her choices.  I do, however, empathize with her as one mother to another...I could tell by her face, her tears, that she did realize how precious Sweet Pea is...Does she hate me?  I don't know.  She has never shown it.  I do know that she wants post adoption contact, and that is not going to happen.  So, the answer to my previous question may change...
Such is adoption through foster care..
Blessings, my dear readers,
The Queen Mama

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Headed for Adoption!!

Happy happy joy joy!!  The caseworker visited us today.  She said our case is definitely headed for adoption.  Bio Dad being incarcerated for a long time, and incapable of parenting.  Bio Mom incarcerated and incapable of parenting. No termination hearings set yet, but will be after permanency hearing next week, unless Mom consents prior.  I never like to hope or declare before things are final, so I am still cautious.  No grandparents have expressed interest, except one, who is also an addict and criminal.  The agency assured me they would not even consider placement with her.  BUT, you never know what will happen in a case, and anything can happen.  So, my heart sings, however cautiously at this news we received today.  Thank you for your continued prayers!
Many Blessings to You on your Journey, whatever it may be,
The Queen Mama


Friday, August 31, 2012

Breaking News~Bio Parents Found

Sweet Pea's bio parents have been missing~Bio Dad escaped house arrest 4 months ago, and Bio Mom skipped town while on probation a little less than 4 months ago.  I was informed yesterday by caseworker that they were both apprehended and are incarcerated.  Bio Dad should be going away for quite a few years, as he accumulated more charges while on the run.  Bio Mom should be out in a few months.  But, her lawyer indicated she may be willing to sign consent to adoption for all of her children.  In other words, she may voluntarily terminate her own parental rights. This has got to be THE most heart wrenching decision for a parent to make.  If she does not sign her rights away, the agency will file for termination of her rights, and a court hearing will ensue with the Judge making the decision. Bio Dad's rights are already in the process of being terminated for aggravated circumstances (abandonment for 6 months or more).
Now don't get me wrong, as a foster parent, I always hope and pray that the bio parents will get their lives together and be awarded custody of their children.  However, as a foster adoptive parent, as in this case, I truly feel, no.....make that, I truly KNOW that these parents are unable to parent their children.  (and Bio Dad is only the father of Sweet Pea-not the other children).  They abandoned their children.  Walked away.  Chose drugs and a life of crime. Severe mental health issues that result in being a danger to themselves and others.  So, dear readers, I again put this case, this child, in the hands of God and pray he chooses to keep this baby girl in a stable, loving family environment. 
Many blessings to you on your journey,
The Queen Mama

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What a Beautiful Family You Have!

My husband and I took our children and foster baby girl to the river for the weekend.  Dear friends of ours have a beautiful vacation home right on the river, and offered it to us, free of charge.  They knew we had not been able to take a vacation this summer because we had been caring for Cutie Patootie and Sweet Pea.  Since Cutie Patootie was sent to live with her grandparents, we jumped at the chance to go. (much less chaos in the group.)  Anyway, we had a great time.  Saturday, Big Daddy and the boys went down the river in big inter tubes.  They had a blast.  Princess, Sweet Pea and I waited on the shore for them, and a light rain had started.
 They all showered, and we headed out to dinner at a local restaurant.  It was crowded, but we managed to get a table for 7 fairly quickly.  I noticed what looked like a wealthier retired couple sitting next to us.  They were dressed very nicely, and drinking wine from fancy glasses.  Here sat me, with my frizzy hair from the rain, no makeup, and my crew~all of us in "play clothes" because we were at the river.  The couple kept looking at us and talking in low voices.  I cringed to myself, thinking they probably wished all these children were not seated right next to them.
So, to my surprise, when we left, the couple stopped me (everyone had gone ahead of me).  The wife said, "Excuse me.  What a beautiful family you have."  "Thank you.", I told her, waiting for the BUT part to come.  It never came-she went on to say how impressed she was with our children, that they were so well behaved, and how you don't see big families anymore, and how much she loved seeing big families.  I told her thank you again and how blessed we feel to have a big family as well.  I did not go into the "We are foster parents shpiel (is that even a word?)"  or that we adopted through foster care.  I simply grinned from ear to ear as we walked to the car, happy that our family looked like it belonged together, knowing that we do. 
Now, Queen Mama is a BIG advocate of foster care and adoption through foster care and usually always tell curious people our story.  But, for this weekend, I just relished being a family...not a foster family, not an adoptive family, just a beautiful family...
Blessings to you and your beautiful family,
The Queen Mama
http://www.soylicious.com/candlequeen

Candles anyone? My New Moms Work From Home Business!

Well dear readers, The Queen Mama has added another business to her plate.  I love the blessing of being a stay at home Mama, but living on one income with many children does have it's setbacks.  I am an entrepreneur at heart, having worked transcription, data entry, sales, and customer service for the past several years.  However, with the addition of our new baby, the foster kids that come and go, being on the phone, or transcribing with little ones has become next to impossible.  So, I have found a wonderful business called Soylicious that sells yummy scented soy candles, soaps, and sprays.  They burn clean and best yet, are made in the good ole' USA!!  I always burn scented candles to help my home be welcoming and hospitable.  Check out my website: http://www.soylicious.com/candlequeen (like my name? Thought I would stick with the Queen theme)  You may find something you just love-great for your home or gifts for any occasion ~CHRISTMAS~ will be here before you know it!  OR, if you've always wanted to work from home, visit the OPPORTUNITY page on my site.  You can sell strictly online!  It's that easy! Blessings! The Queen Mama



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cutie Patootie Placed with Grandparents

After a little over two months, Cutie Patootie was placed back with her grandparents today.  I am happy for her and them.  She was very attached to them, and they her, since having lived with them off and on since birth.  They said they learned their lesson, and promised the judge they would follow the rules.  I sincerely hope they do. I have a little feeling of emptiness and sadness tonight, but if Cutie needs placed in foster care again, I will have to decline placement.  She is very sweet (when alone), but she and my daughter just did not mesh.  At the end of her stay, I would have thought my daughter would have adjusted better, but the longer Cutie was with us, the worse my daughter's attitude and behavior got.
 Although, I think Cutie did enjoy her stay with us overall.  She called us Mama and Daddy (normal for a small child), and told us she loved us all day everyday.  She laughed, and played, and learned to say prayers (which the grandparents and bio Mom thanked me for), learned how to chew with her mouth closed, and was almost completely potty trained when she left.  I am glad we had the opportunity to help this family, and look forward to our next placement.  (We still are taking care of Sweet Pea too!)
Many Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

All Visits Stopped for Sweet Pea


I received a phone call today telling me that all visits with Bio Mom are stopped for now.  She has missed her last 3 visits and no one has heard from her.  She may have left the state and gone with Bio Dad who is also missing.
Mixed emotions-sadness that a mother leaves her children-though this did happen in our case with our daughter, Princess, so it is not a surprise to me.  Hopefulness, that Sweet Pea may be able to become a permanent part of our family.  However, I try to never let my heart go there, to protect it somewhat, in the case that she would not stay with us.
Never a dull moment when you are a foster parent.
Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Foster Adoption Journey Update

Hello Dear Readers,
A quick update on our journey-Sweet Pea's Bio Mom has missed the last two visits, Bio Dad still missing.  A permanency hearing is scheduled for some time in August.  Cutie Patootie's grandparents had a court hearing last week-the judge was going to return her to them, but had a change of heart at the last minute, and decided to continue their weekend visits for another month before he makes a final decision.  So, we continue on. 
My feelings are:  unsettled. Must have patience!!!!!
Blessings!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bio Family Boundaries

Being a foster family is very interesting, to say the least.  Emotions are torn every which way.  First and foremost, the foster child is our main priority.  We are here to keep him/her safe, loved, fed, clothed, emotionally enriched, and happy until he/she is returned to Mom/Dad/Grandparents/Other Kin, or an adoption plan/permanent placement is put in place.  Along the way, we encounter the bio family at visits and court.  I must say, for the most part (minus a few isolated incidents), the bio families have treated us with kindness and gratitude, and we them.  Our current foster children's bio families have been very interesting.

1. Sweet Pea's bio Dad is still on the lam.  Bio Mom is still missing visits about every two visits, and just not quite with it.  Sometimes she talks a lot, asks me for advice, tells me what's going on in her life, other times she doesn't say much at all.  I've met her father once at court-he was decent and grilled me on how hard it must be to be a foster parent.  Her mother has never seen Sweet Pea because she doesn't want to get attached to her if she is placed with us permanently.  Understandable.

2.  Cutie Patootie's bio family is a whole other story.  Bio Mom is very dramatic.  She gushes to all the workers and Sweet Pea's mom at every visit about how thankful she is to have us as her foster family.  I am glad she feels that way.  However, this last visit she gave me her telephone number and asked me to call her if I need anything.  I told her I was not permitted to call her per foster parent rules.  She was like, "Well, you know, if it were your kid, if you were in my place, you would want me to call you." Well, ya, but no. I can't.  Sorry.   Her parents were granted weekend visits every weekend with Cutie.  Caseworker said goal is to reunify with grandparents (by the judge-caseworker is against this).  So, I meet the grandparents in a neutral location unsupervised to hand her over.  This is fine-they seem like nice people-a little rough around the edges, but okay.  However, grandparents have begun to cling emotionally to me.  It all started while in the waiting room for her first court date (you can read about that in my previous post EMOTIONS RUN HIGH IN THE COURTROOM). They pleaded their case to me and I, as a good foster parent does, smiled and nodded and told them the first goal is always to keep families together.

 Well, from there, the caseworker told me they wanted my phone number (of course they can't have it), and at all of our visitation drop offs/pickups, they again plead their case to me, ask me what I know, what I think of their daughter, what the caseworker said, etc. etc.  They asked me if what they tell me is in confidence (that I won't tell caseworker).  I told them that if they tell me something that I feel is a threat to Cutie's safety that I have to tell the caseworker.  They have told me many personal things about them, (their work background, their illnesses, their disabilities, their mental state, family happenings ) and VERY PERSONAL THINGS about their daughter,  that are not harmful but make me basically uncomfortable and possibly question their mental stability.  Have you ever heard the saying TMI?  (too much information) but all in all, they seem to love Cutie very much and I can tell they have taken good care of her.

I DO understand how upset they are.  My heart goes out to them, but I basically tell them the same thing every time-that I am not the one that makes the decisions, and actually am not told anything about the case except visitation times, court dates, etc.  When you are a foster parent, I feel it's important to say as little as possible about the case to bio family.  Words can be misconstrued and reported to caseworker, or in court. My caseworker says just smile and nod.   I know they feel as in the dark as I do about what goes on in the case, and they are clinging to me to find out whatever they can, but boundaries have to be put in place.

Well, I realize I have been writing and writing and ranting for a long post-I hope I haven't bored you-just wanted to explain that I feel some boundaries are needed when dealing with bio families.

 Blessings to you in your journey-no matter what part of it you are on!
The Queen Mama
FOLLOW ME! CLICK ON "JOIN MY JOURNEY" ON THE MAIN PAGE OF THE BLOG

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Foster Sibling Rivalry

Well, we have had Cutie Patootie in our home for exactly two weeks now.  She is 2 1/2.  Princess is 4 1/2.  The first week went pretty well, as far as Cutie and Princess getting along.  However, as this week progresses, Princess is finding it more and more difficult to be nice to, share, play, or be in the same room as Cutie.  She knows not to touch her, which she hasn't, but doesn't want to let her touch her toys, even though she wants to play with her.  This is all normal, but fairly new for us, as Princess has always liked the other children placed with us.  They have all been much younger, though, and did not threaten her "place" in the family, with the exception of one older child, whom Princess thought was great.  Princess goes back and forth from liking Cutie and glad she has someone to play with to describing her as a baby.

So, now The Queen Mama is feeling guilt for making Princess uncomfortable, and is very busy trying to make Cutie feel at home and welcome and making up for the attitude of Princess.  But I know in the long run, we are doing a good thing.  I know Princess will come around.  Cutie has been assigned to her grandparents every weekend, which will be good for her and them, but will make the transition back to our home during the week more difficult for her and Princess.  Well, I am giving it all up to the Lord-it's how I keep my sanity!
Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Friday, June 8, 2012

Attachment Issues

Attachment Issues-and I'm not talking about the baby.  I'm talking about me, haha!  And I'm not talking about having a hard time attaching, I'm saying I'm attached.  Sweet Pea had an evaluation today with a team of specialists to discuss her muscle tone and milestone progress.  They asked me to be present, as well as bio Mom.  The team was asking Bio Mom questions to which she had no answers (lack of time spent with Sweet Pea) and finally said, "You're gonna have to talk to her", meaning me.

So, to make a long story short, the baby has some muscle weakness but is doing well and they showed me exercises to do with her to help.  Then, at the end of our meeting, the therapist said to Sweet Pea "Okay, back to Mom you go", and while they handed her to Bio Mom I literally had to hold my hands against my body to stop myself from grabbing Sweet Pea."  It was a natural instinct when they said "Back to Mom you go".  As Bio Mom has missed most of her visits, the most recent being the last two weeks in a row, I have become more and more attached to little Sweet Pea.  It's almost like that one relationship you had that you knew was too good to be true---you were head over heels and gave your full heart, knowing it probably wouldn't last.  That is how it feels to me to be a foster parent.  Loving the children like they are your own, yet knowing any day the phone could ring with a long lost relative wanting custody, or the caseworker calling to say the child is going home or to kin.  Am I that crazy over protective over reacting foster parent?  No, I don't think so.  I keep my emotions in check (at least in front of everyone).

So why do we put ourselves through this?  (A question that we get a lot).  Sometimes, I can't say for sure. Maybe a little bit of wanting to save the world, maybe a little bit of feeling blessed and wanting to give back, maybe a little bit of selfishness on our part to not want to have an empty nest any sooner than we have to.  But I can say for sure, without a doubt, that God knows why he planted this urge to foster children in our hearts, just like he knows how many hairs are on our heads.  And that when a little one calls us Mama or Daddy and gives us hugs and kisses, or when a bio parent or grandparent thanks us from the bottom of their hearts for helping their families, we know why.  And we are thankful, and honored, and humbled to be a part of the greater scheme of things.
Blessings to you in your journeys~
The Queen Mama

Friday, June 1, 2012

Emotions Run High in the Courtroom

Well friends, I have told you before that the journey of foster to adoption or just plain fostering is not always sunshine and roses.  There are lots of ups and downs and crazy moments.  We had the detainment court hearing for Cutie Patootie today (that's what I'm calling her for anonymity and she IS a cutie patootie!) Well, I never actually made it to the hearing.  I was dismissed along with Cutie Patootie because I had the other 2 little ones with me, and the hearing was being delayed til later in the day. Big Daddy couldn't get off work, and I was left with no sitter on such short notice.  The caseworker didn't want me to have to wait for hours with the little ones.
  I met the grandparents who were nice, and also a family friend who they referred to as Aunt so and so,  and Mom and her boyfriend, who were both late to the hearing.    Mom said she was glad to meet and talk to me because, you know, foster parents are bad.  I assured her we had been foster parents (resource parents my agency calls us) for 5 years and would take good care of her child. She told me I seemed sweet, but really wanted her daughter to go back to her Mom and Dad's.  I told her I totally understand, and our goal is to keep families together.  I am just a helper in the situation.

 Mom is an addict and grandparents violated the safety plan-which involves Mom.  To make a long story short, when caseworker let us go, everyone erupted into shouts and tears.  They all thought Cutie Patootie was going home with grandparents again, but that was not the case.  Caseworker grabbed Cutie and I the other kids and started up the long staircase.  Mom ran after us screaming and crying.  As a Mom, I felt her pain, but she and her family have made poor choices to get to this point.  Caseworker very firmly told her to go back to the waiting room, that the judge was aware of what was going on.  She continued screaming for a bit, then complied.  I did not hear back from the caseworker, so I am assuming Cutie Patootie will stay with us for a little bit, anyway.

So, another family to pray for, another child to pray for.  And if you wouldn't mind, you could throw in a prayer or two for Queen Mama's family.  By the Grace of God go I.

The Queen Mama


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

So Excited! Another Little Girl!

Just got back from picking up a beautiful little two year old girl.  She is sweet and all smiles.  Not sure how long she will be with us, but we are happy to take care of her while she is with us.  Our 4 year old daughter was excited and she did her "showing off" by doing cartwheels, somersaults, and acting silly.  We are always sure to give our kids extra attention when we get a placement, especially the little ones.  This little girl will have parental and extended family visits with her grandparents, and that is fine with us. 
Blessings!
The Queen Mama

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mom missed Visit

Bio Mom a no-show for her visit today.  She had been doing so well.  I'm wondering if she is relapsing or if maybe she just slept in?  Still no info on Bio Dad's whereabouts.  Also-A big thank you for all the support I am receiving via email.  I love hearing from you!
Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend~Thank a Veteran!
Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Case is in Chaos

I have told you prior that the journey of foster to adopt is a roller coaster of emotions and events.  This case has certainly had those moments, but this by far is the most extreme.  Well, Bio Dad was on house arrest.  Then he was in jail for a couple of months.  Hasn't seen Sweet Pea since February, and that was only at a court hearing.  He had missed visits for a month.  Anyway, apparently he qualified for a rehab program that would put him back on house arrest.  So, was put on house arrest on a Friday, and took off his bracelet and skipped town Saturday.  This was a couple of weeks ago.  He's still on the lam. Bio Dad is dangerous, and it worries me that he is on the loose, and I hope he is apprehended soon.  But in the meantime, he let the caseworker know that he wanted his father to have custody of Sweet Pea. (leading the caseworker to believe he was still on house arrest-this is before the police know he is missing.) The father stated he would take custody of Sweet Pea.  I asked the caseworker if this was a possibility.  She didn't say yes, and didn't say no.

Grandpa has a drug and criminal conviction history.  Apparently, he is also ill.  He and Bio Dad have been estranged for years.  He has never seen Sweet Pea.  Caseworker has not heard from Grandpa since she spoke with him a couple weeks ago.  So, we will see what happens.

On the other hand, Bio Mom is drug free (good for her!) and is starting to work her plan, yet still has poor parenting interactions with her children during visits.   She still has 3 months til her permanency hearing with her other children, which also affects our Sweet Pea.  She may get her life and parenting skills together in that time period, well enough for the agency to recommend the children go back to her. As a Mom, I know I would want my kids back, but I also know I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize them being taken in the first place.  It breaks my heart to think of Sweet Pea leaving us, but if it must be, it must be. We foster parents don't have much say in the whole scheme of things.  We have to wait and see, and that is the hardest part.  Not knowing.

In all things, give thanks to God,
The Queen Mama


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Princess's Preschool Mother's Day Tea


My Little Princess and I had a Mother's Day Tea at Preschool today.  She picked out her favorite party dress, and we put a new bow in her hair.  "I think I look pretty, Mama.", she said before we left.  "I hope the other girls Mamas dressed them in pretty dresses.  My teacher said I could wear my fancy dress."   I told her how beautiful she looked, and off we went to the tea.  The children were on stage, and sang songs and said poems, and the teacher asked each child why they love their Moms.  Princess said, "I love my Mommy because she takes me on walks."  So cute.

The children then proceeded to serve their Mommies punch (this Mama was so nervous that the red punch would spill on Princess's favorite white and pink dress), but she did a fabulous job and didn't spill a drop!  The Mommies had danishes, and the children had cookies and fruit snacks.  You can see in the picture above that Princess made me a flower pot and an adorable little wooden treasure box.  When you open it, she wrote X O (hugs and kisses) on the inside bottom, and there were 2 Hershey kisses in it.  The orange paper you see is a paper with their hand prints on it, and on the other side is a picture of Princess on her first day of school, and one of her this past week.  It shows us how much she has grown.

I had a wonderful time, and I still can't believe that this little girl standing on stage calling me Mama is actually mine!  Her adoption has been final for 2 1/2 years, and we have had her for 4 1/2 years, (since she was almost 5 months)  but it still seems like the journey for us to be her forever family is fresh in my mind.   I love all my children so much, and am so thankful that God placed adoption in our hearts, and placed this child with our family.  She is strong willed, never wants to go to sleep,and  is as rough and tumble as her brothers, but I wouldn't change her a single bit!  She is wonderfully made by our Almighty Father, and we praise his Goodness!
Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Part of the motions of a song (the person was sleeping).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Mommy's Day Wish

Today is Mother's Day.  What is a Mother?  Traditionally, it is the person who gave birth to you and nurtured you throughout your life.  But for some, it is a grandmother, aunt, family friend, foster mom, or someone else who stepped in to fill that role, even temporarily, when the birth mother couldn't. 

Part of my heart is with Sweet Pea's birth mom today.  I am sure it is difficult for her.  I know she loves her children, just as I love mine.

I love Mother's Day.  Not only is it a day to honor my Mom, it is a day for me to reflect on each blessed child the Lord has placed in my care.  It is a day for me to give thanks, for I love being a Mommy!  I have worn many different hats in many different careers.  My favorite is that of Mother! 

My wish to all Moms today, whether birth Mom, Foster Mom, Adoptive Mom, Surrogate Mom, or other Mom, is for your hearts to be filled with Love, Joy, and Happiness! May you be pampered with hugs and kisses today for all the things you do for your family!

For those of you who are just starting on your journey to become a Mommy, whether through birth, foster care, or adoption, my prayers are for you as well. Keep the faith!

May you be Blessed today and everyday!
Love,
The Queen Mama

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Queen Mama Needs to Live in the Moment!

Okay friends.  Help me out here.  I need some encouragement and support.  Yes, I have been down this road before.  I have traveled this journey and have had 6 foster children return to either a parent or kinship placement.  So why am I jumping ahead of things and fixating on the next court date (not til June), Mom's progress, Sweet Pea's first birthday (7 months away), etc. etc.  I need to stop and take a deep breath and enjoy the here and now. 
I think with every new little thing Sweet Pea does, like starting to roll over, laugh at things the kids do, seeing my oldest boys just melt when they hold her and play with her, has got me entrenched in high hopes.  I can't let myself do that until we know for sure what's going to happen.  I really need to lean on God to settle my heart, live day by day,  and to focus on encouraging bio Mom right now (even though I don't talk to her much.  She usually doesn't say much, but once in awhile will open up to me about what is going on with her).    Just felt like I had to get this feeling into writing, verify it, and hope it goes away soon!
As always, Blessings to you,
The Queen Mama

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Tug On My Mommy Heartstrings Today

I took Sweet Pea to a visit with Bio Mom today.  Her 4th in a row since she's gotten out of rehab.  That has not happened in the 4 1/2 months that we've had Sweet Pea.  Mom usually makes two in a row, then misses two, or one, etc.  So, maybe rehab has helped her, and as a Christian, I hope so.  However, as a human being Mama that looks into that sweet chubby little face everyday, feeds her, bathes her, prays for her, and rocks her to sleep,  I have to say that today when I dropped her off, I felt a tremendous tug on my heartstrings.  This is what I felt:  Angst, protective mama bear instincts, ownership, loss, emptiness, something missing.  Such is the life of a foster Mommy.  Some cases are easier than others. Some parents really do try their hardest to turn their life around, and we foster mamas are glad to see the children back in the bio home.  Reunification is always the first goal. 

However, in this case, the parents started their walk with child services with Moms other two children 6 1/2 months before Sweet Pea was born. So, this puts them and us at almost the end of the journey.  The caseworker doesn't tell me a whole lot, but I do know that for the first 6 months, parents did nothing to work their plan to support reunification, and don't think they're doing much this 6 months. The feeling I get from the caseworker is that its not looking good. Mental health problems play a role, dangerous criminal charges, jail, drugs, anger issues, lack of parenting skills.

I know that Sweet Pea is not mine.  I know at this visit that I was looking at, and speaking to her mother.  Sometimes, when I'm praying for Bio Mom, I find myself not really wanting to pray, but doing so because I feel that is what I should do as a Christian, but how bad is that for a Christian??? Okay, here it is:  I'm really hoping that Bio Mom gets her life together, but that my family gets to keep Sweet Pea.  The brutal honesty of my feelings scares me, and I wish that I could feel otherwise, but I intended this blog to show what it's really like to travel this foster to adopt journey, so I'm not going to sugarcoat it.  You do get attached.  Simple as that.  So anyway friends, please continue to pray God's will for this little sweetie pie, and for my family that we may accept God's will, no matter the outcome.  It is a difficult journey of emotions, but I STILL would do it again and again, for the most precious of God's gifts, the children.
Blessings to you no matter what journey you are embarking on.
The Queen Mama


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Still Grateful to Be a Foster Mom!


Have I sounded like a "negative Nancy" lately?  Am I scaring you away from foster care instead of leading you towards it?  Let me tell you just how much I am grateful for the opportunity to be a foster mommy!  I have always loved children, and have always had that mothering instinct.  Growing up with a single mom, I babysat my sister A LOT at age 10.  I started babysitting others at age 11.  Young children flocked to me at any family gathering.  I used to beg my mother to no avail to adopt a little boy.  I used to beg her to sponsor children in other countries.  When a teenaged family friend asked us to babysit her 1 year old son for an evening and didn't come back for a week, I begged my Mom to intervene and let us keep the child. (I was 16).  Didn't happen.  But, I guess you can see how God had put Adoption on my heart at an early age.  I am so glad he did. He blessed me with my own biological children, and after not being able to have anymore children by those means, has blessed me so far with 9 more little souls to love!

Matthew 18:5 -"And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me."

I so appreciate having the honor of caring for children.  Through all the ups and downs, the treading of unsteady waters, all I have to do is look into the eyes of these perfect little beings created by my Almighty Father, and realize that the journey is not about me, it is about them, and it's what God has intended for my ministry. To be able to protect from harm, to love and cherish while they are with us.  

JOIN MY JOURNEY!  CLICK ON "FOLLOW ME" ON THE MAIN PAGE OF MY BLOG! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bio Mom Changes Visit Date~AGAIN!

Okay. Tell me why, when part of the bio parents' goal plan is to be responsible and keep appointments, etc. etc., does the agency bend over backwards to accommodate visit changes almost each and every week?  Parents have a set day and time to visit their children.  Dad is in jail, with no visits, and Mom lost her job and doesn't work.  Almost every week, there is an issue with the same scheduled visit time.  The agency then calls me and presents me with alternate visit times for that week.  I have always said yes and changed my schedule for bio mom.  BUT, this week, Bio Mom decided she was going away for a long weekend.  My first little Princess had a preschool field trip, and I said no.  I was not making her miss it for bio mom's sake.  So, we picked another day.  I just think that bio mom should be held to keep her appointed time, unless it's a true need for a good reason to change it.  Parenting requires responsibility to get your child to appointments on time, school on time, etc., etc., and I think being on time and keeping visit appointments is just as important.  Whew!  Always feel better when I vent to you!
Have a blessed weekend!
The Queen Mama

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Bio Mom Out of Rehab

Well, bio Mom was in rehab for 3 weeks.  We have had 2 visits in a row with her (1 per week) since she's been out.  I don't see much of a change in her, except that she doesn't seem to be slurring her speech, which is a good sign.  Perhaps she will be able to stave off the cravings that drive her to drugs.  I truly wish the best for her!  She does seem to be a bit more short tempered with her older children during the visits, frequently yelling at them, but I am not to judge.  I am sure she has a lot of stressors in her life right now, and is doing her best, to whatever capabilities she has.
 I do so wish I could speed up time and know the outcome of this journey, but I will have to leave it up to God and believe that as he tells us,  for everything, there is a season.
Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Monday, April 9, 2012

Awful Foster Adoptive Questions

Well, I have finally received probably one of the most common offending foster/adoption questions yet from a far off relative at our Easter dinner yesterday.  Although ignorant to the "adoption protocol" wording, I'm sure, and not meaning any ill will...this distant relative who I only met last year asked me out of our 5 children, which ones were our "real" children.  While not wanting to make a scene in front of our 75 or so relatives gathered in the room, I bit my tongue and simply stated that they are all my real children, but we have 3 bio children, 1 adoptive, and 1 foster.

For the love of Pete, (an old saying in my parts), why do people not think before they speak? Just last week, my best friend of over 20 years, who is so upset she did not biologically have a girl, but says she could never adopt, ambushed me while I was visiting her home, and told me she had some "concerns" about my having another foster child in the home.
 She then asked me WHY did I need a baby to make me happy? I was like, WHAT?!?!?!?  I don't need a baby to make me happy...  I am happy to help a child that needs a temporary parent.  She then proceeded to tell me she was "concerned" that my older children would suffer by not being able to go to sports or vacations, etc.  How can I do that with another baby in the house, she wanted to know?

 I could not believe she was implying that I was neglecting my older children, which she had brought up to me a couple years prior when we adopted Princess.  I assured her in not so nice words that my children would still play sports, still go on vacations, still have new clothes, still have one on one attention, still have parental supervision, still have family game nights, still have friends over, still have help with homework, etc!!!! More than what takes place in her household!!!  I told her we are capable of taking baby along with us wherever we go, and that if anything, MY children are learning to love unconditionally, volunteer, be selfless, live with a servant's heart, be generous, kind, and loving by being a foster family!!!!  I then told her it was not about US, it was about the CHILDREN we are helping, and that my life was none of her darn concern!!!!!

Can you please tell me, What the heck is WRONG with people???!!!!!

Lord, help me to forgive this ignorance (though I won't forget, and am not sure as to what context I will be continuing the friendship.)

Love & Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sweet Pea's Feeling Better

Sweet Pea had more blood drawn the end of this past week.  Her hemoglobin counts are up a little, but now her white blood cells are very low.  Doctors still think it is probably because of the viral infection, but need to check her blood again in a month.  She is definitely feeling better, as she is cooing and smiling and kicking again.  Please continue prayers for our sweet baby girl!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Our Foster Baby Spent 2 Nights in the ER

Our poor little foster baby Sweet Pea is sick with a viral infection~fever, diarrhea, and a low hemoglobin count.  We spent 9 hours in the local ER only to be transferred to a Children's hospital for another 9 hours.  She was poked, prodded, needled and I don't know who was more upset, her or me.  She has a follow up for hemoglobin count in about a week.  The doctor said if it does not come up, she will have to have a blood transfusion! Yikes!  Please say a prayer for our little Sweet Pea that she does not have to endure that.  Thank you friends!
Love,
The Queen Mama

DNA Paternity Test

An odd twist to the story...sort of...nothing truly amazes me this being our second time around.  But anyway, a couple weeks ago, Bio Dad requested a paternity test from his jail cell.  Beings that Mom seems to have a new paramour already, I guess I can understand why.  But, I have thought Sweet Pea looks like Bio Dad since we laid eyes on her at 17 days old. Rumored that Dad denied paternity due to child support issues.... And....the Maury Povich moment...da da da daaaa...Bio Dad, you ARE the father!
I was glad to hear this as if he was not the father, the search would be on, and that would mean the possibility of a new family/kin being able to overtake placement.This is just another example of the ups and downs of foster to adopt. You never know what is going to happen. I always say, Hold onto your seats.  We're in for a wild ride.
  We love our little Sweet Pea and pray God's blessings for her.
Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mom Going to Rehab

Well, Bio mom told me yesterday at a visit that she is having problems and thinking about going into rehab.  I told her I was proud of her for thinking about that, and that it would be easier for her to take care of her children once she has taken care of herself.  She is certain she is getting the kids back, but she has a lot of work to do.  I sincerely hope she can get straightened out. In the meantime, I am enjoying having another baby in the house.
Blessings,
Queen Mama

Friday, March 2, 2012

When Safety of the Child is Secondary

Friends, this is not anything personal toward my county or any particular county, state or court system.  It is a general rant and rave on "the child welfare system" for children in foster care.  I have not been able to get the Josh Powell tragedy off my mind.  That visits, albeit supervised, were allowed to take place in his home is beyond me.  A suspect or person of interest or whatever in the disappearance of his wife.  A person who was under court order to undergo a psychosexual evaluation.  Hello???!!  How about no visits until the evaluation is complete?  How about visits in a neutral supervised location. 

In light of Sweet Pea's last hearing, where the mom insisted she wanted her children back immediately and the hearing was continued so both sides could gather more information because parents have every right to contest, although Dad is in jail, and Mom is most likely going to jail or house arrest in a few months, although they have weapons and child endangerment charges, theft charges, drug charges.....I am just about livid!!

Scenario:  The child is removed from the home due to imminent danger or likely threat to his/her safety.  Placed in a safe, stable, loving environment.   As soon as the child is "in the court system" it then becomes about the rights of the parents.  Parents are still allowed to visit, even though they have weapons charges.  Visits are changed, or worked around parents' schedule even though parents missed visit with no reason.  Parents are still given weekly visits even though they only make it to one or two visits a month.  Parents are still given all rights to make medical and educational decisions for the child even though the child has been in a foster home straight from the hospital and sees mom or dad once to twice a month for two hours.  

Yes     I pray for these parents           It   is just frustrating to me.

Blessings

New Info on Bio Dad

Sweet Pea had a visit with bio mom today.  Found out bio dad just went to jail and may be there a year.  To be so young and have so many problems as these two is very sad to me.  I do know some of Dad's family background, and it seems his childhood environment was also rocky, which would explain his behavior.  Mom is always so kind to me, and when I watch her trying to parent Sweet Pea and her siblings, it does sadden me to think that she may not get them back.  However, I have to be concerned most for Sweet Pea's safety, and unfortunately Mom and Dad have not been following plan and have criminal and drug problems.  Mom is also just a little bit "off", if you can understand that.  Some sort of disconnect.  Although the selfish part of my soul wants to shout hooray at this latest information (about Dad), I pray for this man that maybe the jail's chaplain will find him and he may come to know Jesus to help sustain him throughout his sentence.  Also, every time I  take Sweet Pea to a visit (when mom shows), I thank God that I have come to know him, that through His grace he has made me a Mommy, that my family is intact, and that he has blessed me with the opportunity to be a stay at home Mommy, and that he has given us the honor of raising these wonderful foster children, even if only for a little while.
Blessings,
The Queen Mama

Monday, February 27, 2012

Parents are Not Following Plan

Unfortunately, bio parents do not seem to be doing too well following their family plan issued by the courts.  They have missed about 8 visits, and have only seen Sweet Pea about 6 times since she was born.  They also are still having drug and criminal problems.  They are young, and I do pray for them!  Mom and Dad have both thanked me for taking such good care of Sweet Pea.  They do love her, they are just having a rough life.  I hope they can both be rehabilitated.  But, if Sweet Pea goes back, I will worry!!!
May you be blessed,
Big Mama

Getting Attached

Well, yep, getting attached.  Sweet Pea has grown from 5.4 lbs to 10 lbs in the 2 months we have had her.  The doctors are very pleased.  She is still in the -5th percentile for her height/weight for her age, but she is a little chunka munka and sooooo cute!  She is also the sweetest, most pleasant baby I have ever had the pleasure of caring for!  She is sleeping all night (after many weeks of sleepless nights, lol!) and is laughing and cooing and just doing all the cute things babies do. 

When we agreed to care for this little one, I told myself we are just babysitting, and she is going to go back to bio parents.  Yes, I know that is the way I am supposed to think, but I am definitely in love with this little Sweet Pea already.  I am a little more relaxed this time around because I have been down this road before, but it is only the beginning of the journey.  Talk to me in a few months or more and I am sure I'll be telling a different story!

Please pray for Sweet Pea, that she continues to grow, be healthy, and thrive!
Blessings,
Big Mama

Sweet Pea is Here for Awhile!

Well, we found out that Sweet Pea will be with us for at least 3 more months til her parents' next review hearing.  I am happy for us, but do feel for the birth parents.  I sincerely hope they can put their children first and get their lives together. They have many detrimental things going on in their life, and I pray that they can overcome them and be rehabilitated.  Sooo, while I am happy to have Sweet Pea here, it does put my heart on my sleeve.  We will live a "walking on eggshells" life (that's how you feel-always a little nervous) because you know that you can get a phone call any day that says she is going somewhere else.  It's a tough situation for everyone involved, but I don't regret taking care of these foster children that have come into our lives for one minute!  They have all blessed us in some way!
Thankful for my Blessings,
Queen Mama

Sweet Pea's Court Hearing Today

Okay.  So, I am sitting here trying not to pick up my phone.  My husband is advising me not to.  This is why:  I want to call our caseworker -sweet pea had a court hearing today to determine whether she go back home or stay with us for awhile. We didn't have to be there.   I'm pretty sure I know the answer since I didn't hear from the caseworker, but I thought that she would've called us anyway to tell us for sure.  My husband doesn't want her to think we are being pains in the rear, but darnit, I wanna know now! Oh well, the office is now closed, so I am ending on the pretense that no news is good news.  I will just thank God for having the blessing of keeping her another day!

Why do the Ones Closest to You Hurt You the Most?

So, why is it that family and friends feel they can just let their negative opinions flow freely?  Moms remind you that you could stand to lose a few, best friends tell you they don't like your hair, and the list goes on.  I actually can live with those remarks, and sometimes appreciate them, BUT what I don't like is the attitudes I am receiving about fostering children who need a temporary (or sometimes permanent) home.  

We have four children that are legally ours, and one foster child.  We have had 8 foster children for brief periods of time over the past 4 years.  This foster child, however, is an infant, and will most likely be with us for at least a few months or more.  My friends have asked us if we are crazy... don't we think we have enough kids....explain why they could never foster...tell us they can't handle the ones they have and how can we handle another one...why would we ever want to do that, etc. etc.!!!!  The things that come out of their mouths truly amaze me, and I really can't stand it anymore!!!

Here are my responses:  No, we're not crazy.  We're happy.  or We're blessed.  We always have room in our hearts and home for more.  We love children, and feel blessed to be able to help innocent children who are put into the system through no fault of their own.  We feel children are a gift from God and humbly and graciously accept the honor and responsibility of caring for them.  We can handle our children and are glad to handle more.....etc...etc...

Aaargghh!!!!  I look at these "friends" through new eyes.  I know that fostering or adopting is not for everyone, but it IS for US, so drop it and let it be, and BE happy for us and the children we are caring for!!

A Baby Changes Everything

Well, after whining to Big Daddy for the past 6 months about not getting phone calls, we received the most wonderful surprise phone call/present less than a week before Christmas 2011!  A baby girl!  She was 2 1/2 weeks old and we picked her up at the hospital!  She was addicted to methadone, but is doing great!  Parents have drug and criminal problems.  We are praying for them, that they may beat their addictions, come to know the Lord, and turn their life around.  We have also been praying for God to send us another little girl that needs us as her forever family, but I have learned to not get our hopes up and just take things one day at a time.  The goal is to return this little one to her bio parents if possible.  Please pray for her, her parents, and our family.
May God Bless You and Yours,
Queen Mama

Dear God, Are we Ever Going to be placed with more Children?

Well friends, it is now October.  Almost 2 full years since we adopted Princess, and only one true placement since then.  (Annie, that I told you about in former posts.)  I am getting so frustrated.  We have had about 3 phone calls over the past year, but they were all for boys, one of whom was autistic.  Now, I have nothing against boys, as I have 3 of my own.  It's just that, if we are adding to our family, it would be nice to have a sister for Princess.  Also, my youngest son does not do well with other younger boys in the house, as we had Princess's brother in the beginning.  Granted, my son was only 4, but I still don't think he would like another boy.  He has always equated himself as being the "baby" boy in the house, and I think he feels threatened when another baby boy comes into the mix.....
Anyway, since it's time for our foster parent annual renewal certification, I got the nerve up and called the head of our foster care department and just laid it on the line.  I asked her straight up if she felt we should continue fostering for our county, or go somewhere else.  She said Yes, why?  I said, well, it's our recertification time, and it's been over a year since we re-signed up, and no children.  Are we ever going to get any children????  (Yes, that's exactly what I said!)  I asked her if we were being discriminated against because we have a "large" family in some people's eyes, reminding her that our law states that we can have up to 6 children in our home.
She reassured me that it just takes time, that she actually looked at our name the other day because she needed to place boys, but remembered we wanted girls.  She said everyone (other foster families)  is just about full (meaning they all have placements), except us and one other family.  Um....hello...how do you think that makes me feel?  Save us til you feel you have to use us?  I do know that another family that has also adopted and are still foster parents do not have any placements.  We talked with them at our last training a few months ago.
I think since we have already adopted, they are giving the newer families children first, which makes sense.  But, I also know for a fact that they also place kids with their contracted agencies, and I'm pretty sure they are calling them before they call us.. I also think she thinks we have too many kids.  She has said before that four is a lot of kids to take care of.   This is coming from someone who has no children.  Let me tell you, once you have three children, you can have ten.  Once your life is crazy, it's easy to add to the craziness, lol!   .You always hear how foster families are needed, that there are so many kids ready to be adopted in this country, yet a loving, Christian family with a nice home, who is  financially stable, and would love to have more children isn't given the chance.    I research adoption and foster care all the time.  I have seen countless, and I mean countless families who have 10, 15, and sometimes more than 20 adopted children through foster care!!  I got a letter from our state network (that all foster parents get)  that states different trainings for caseworkers, and one of them was about how not to discriminate against large families, and that studies have shown that foster/adopted children thrive in larger families..... I feel like time is ticking..must be my biological clock.
I know everything happens in God's time, but my patience is being tested.   On a new note, just found out that our daughter's bio father just had another baby girl with someone (not bio mom)...His mother told me.  She feels it is not a good thing and asked us if we would take her in if her son gets involved with the county again.  I told her of course we would.  So now, I am dwelling on that possibility.  Maybe that is in God's plan, and why we have not had any permanent placements?  Breathe in, breathe out...One day at time...
Prayers for all of you foster mamas out there!
Blessings,
Queen Mama

"Annie"

Annie is the little 5 year old girl we had for the weekend.  I used this name for her because she looks like she could be the lead in that musical.  She is adorable with bright curly red hair, freckles, and two missing front teeth.  She loves everything Princess, and likes to wear dresses.  She is an only child with a very strong personality.  I had told you in my prior post about her physical aggressiveness and her swearing. Yes, she was a challenging child to have in our home, but I was able to show this child the love of Christ while she was here.
We had a toddler bed with Princess bedding for Annie to sleep in.  She was so excited.  When I started the nightly bedtime routine that we do with our other children, she settled right into my lap to read a book.  After reading the book, it was time to say prayers.  I asked her if she said prayers, and she said no.  She didn't know what prayers were.  I showed her how we folded our hands and bowed our heads, and we said the following prayer:
"Dear God",
"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  May Angels watch me through the night, and wake me with the morning's light." We made sure to ask God to bless Annie and her Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma whom she had told us about.  She asked me what God Bless meant.  I then told her the story of Jesus and how she could ask him to come into her heart and he would be with her forever to keep watch over her and keep her company no matter where she is.  She loved learning about God, and asked me to say the bedtime prayer over and over and over, I'm sure so she could remember it herself.  I asked her if she had ever gone to Church or Sunday School, and she said she was in a church for a puppet show one time.  Not sure if she would ever get to attend Sunday School if she went back home, I told her she didn't have to go to church to love God, or to have God love her, that he always will hear her prayers.
I tucked her in, and laid on the floor beside the bed.  She got up in about 10 seconds and asked if she could lay on the floor beside me.  She wanted me to put my arm around her.  "No, not like that, like that."  I could tell she must have slept with her mom that way.  "Do you have a bed at home?" I asked.  "No.  Mommy and I sleep on the floor," she said.  Her mom must have sung her Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at night, because that is the song she wanted to sing over and over.  She then started crying so hard, saying she wanted her Mommy, and thinking she would never see her again.  My tears fell silently while I tried to comfort her.  "You are not my family.  I don't love you." she said.  "No, we are just a family to take care of you for awhile and love you while you are here," I told her.   Everyday this little angel of God  said "I think I'm going home to my Mommy today".  These things just break my heart.  Being a foster parent is so rewarding, but it can be gut wrenching at these times.  Most of the time, the bio parents involved love their children, they just can't take care of them due to many different circumstances.  It is a sad situation for everyone involved.
When the judge declared Annie would stay with her Grandma until further notice, I thought Annie would be happy that she didn't have to stay with us anymore.  However, Annie screamed, cried, held onto her mother's leg in the courtroom, and just wanted to go home to her Mommy no matter what.  It sure tugged at my heart and made me say a thousand prayers for Annie's mom to please get it together so she could take care of Annie again soon.
Even though I knew in my heart that this was not a good placement for our family, and that the caseworker had told us Annie would probably go back home or to a relative, I felt her placement with us was not an accident.  I think God works in ways that we will never understand, and I am so glad that I was able to share his love, and introduce him to Annie! I hope that she can remember Him as she waits and hopes to be with her Mother again.
I hope God is helping you through your journey, whether it be foster care or something entirely different...If you need a prayer partner, I'd be happy to lift you up...
Blessings,
Queen Mama

Another Placement

Well friends, it has been 11 months since we were put "back on the list". We thought we were always on it since the adoption, but apparently they had removed us after our adoption of Tinkerbell was finalized. We did respite care for another foster family of a 2 year old little girl back in February for a weekend. She was sweet, and has since been returned to her mother. We then got a call the beginning of June for a 5 year old girl who is an only child. Mom having too many strangers into the home and Dad in jail...she was also with us for the weekend. She was a little firecracker, and did not like our two youngest children. She smashed Tinkerbell's head into the wall and said many words not fit for even adult ears. She was returned to her grandmother after we had her for 4 days...It was not the best placement for either her or our family...She was the oldest child we had ever had placed with us. At least it opened our eyes that we need to take in younger placements to keep the peace for them and our children. Preferably younger than Tinkerbell who will soon be four.
We are praying for more children. We are allowed two more as per county regulations, but I think the foster care director is biased because we already have four children. Two calls in almost a year? Unheard of!!! The director is young, married, and never wants children. Imagine that in her position! Blessings my friends...Please pray that God sends us children who need us the most!

ADOPTION FINALIZED!!! PRAISE THE LORD!

Hello Dear Friends.
First and foremost, I must apologize for keeping you in suspense about the outcome of my journey.  We had hit some snags and I no longer had the heart to post.  I almost felt like if I didn't write or talk about it, it wasn't really happening, and all the stressful things would go away. Well, I was wrong!
Anyway, first things first.  As you can see by the title of this post, after 22 long months, we adopted  Princess in November 2009! " I prayed for this child, and the Lord granted me what I asked of him. " 1 Samuel 1:27.  Our final hearing was the termination of parental rights hearing.  Bio Dad showed up without a lawyer.  His lawyer had removed himself from the case because bio Dad refused to meet with him when asked, did not return phone calls, etc.  Bio  Dad was advised to obtain a public defender by a certain date, and had not.  Princess's  lawyer advised Bio Dad, with witnesses, that he was most likely going to lose this case, and it would be in his best interests to voluntarily give up his rights, if he wanted rights to future children within the next 3 years.  Bio Dad gave up his rights in court that day, much to our amazement.  It was if all the ups and downs of the past two years were melting away, all in a single moment.  Our caseworker hugged us.  We were in shock.  I felt some sort of pity for Bio Dad, as it could not have been an easy decision to make.  However, he had outright told us he did not want her, did not see her for almost 6 months, then missed visits when he decided his girlfriend wanted her, then had not come to visits for another three months straight.  Did not have a home, a job, a car, etc. etc.    I do know, however, that he was trying to see his son.  I think his angst at the signing was over his son, and not so much Princess.  I did and still do pray for him, and truly hope he gets his life together.

A slight glitch on Adoption Day.  I would not let anything ruin my joy, but something sure did try.  Bio paternal grandparents showed up with their lawyer at the courthouse right before our adoption hearing, and wanted us to sign papers stating that they could continue visitation.  They have been nothing but good to Princess, but selfishly, We refused.  I was upset.  I felt like it was our day, and they were trying to ruin it.  However,   I did tell them we would continue visitation, and we have.  They see her every few months in our home for an hour or two, and it has worked out well.  I think it is good for her to know where she comes from (if only on her father's side.) 
We are so blessed to have this wonderful little addition to our family.  She is three now, and brings love and joy to all of us.  So many more crazy details happened during this journey than I haven't written about.  Some just too much to wrap my head around and write about.
   For me, this journey was quite harrowing, scary, stressful, heart wrenching and crazy at times...It certainly tested my faith at times, and showed me sides of people I didn't think existed in my nice little bubble of the world.  I saw suffering, not only of children, but of parents who, some are but children themselves.  I learned that my naive, blind trust of the goodness of people was waaay off base, but I feel that has only helped me to protect myself in matters of the heart...I certainly know more about the child welfare system than I ever thought I would.  But, I also know how it feels to change someone's life, to give them a chance for a happy childhood, and a successful future...It was like walking around for two years with my heart outside my body with no protection, like being on the edge of the abyss...  BUT "Yes" we would do it again.  And we are...we are back on the foster parent list and awaiting a placement of up to 2 siblings.
My purpose for sharing this blog was to not only keep a journal for my daughter to have at some point when she is an adult, but also to encourage adoption through foster care.  I'm afraid my journey may point some away from foster care, but I hope not.  It has only made my faith stronger, my heart bigger, my capability to love endless, and my joy tremendous!!

May God Bless You in Your Journeys!
Queen Mama...

Termination Hearing Set & Another New Caseworker!

Well friends, it's been awhile since I have blogged about our process.  We had another review hearing in June.  Before the hearing, Dad and his mom told me that he told his lawyer he was signing over his rights to Princess that day in court, but still wanted to try to get her brother back.  During court, it was stated that Dad was behind in his rent, no electricity, and ready to be evicted, according to the landlord.  He, of course, had many excuses and said it wasn't his fault, it was the landlord's for not fixing something in the apartment.  Nothing is ever his fault.  Nothing was said about relinquishing his rights.  I wasn't surprised.  I was angry, but it just reinforced to me that he has a problem with truth telling and responsibility.

Caseworker Quit! Termination Filed but no Hearing Date Set.

Well, I think I told you what trouble we were having with our caseworker.  The last visit I had 2 weeks ago, she came to.  She brought along a coworker and introduced me to him as my new caseworker.  She was taking a paid leave of absence and returning to grad school.  Well, I was blown away by this news.  Was glad because I didn't think she was doing her job properly.  But MAD because it is at the end of the road and this new caseworker knows nothing about the case.  She did tell me that the agency did file for termination of parental rights, but doesn't know when. 
I am planning on calling the new caseworker to set up a time to talk about this case.  I don't care if he thinks I am being "Psycho Fostermom" as some foster parents are called.   I am advocating for the rights of my foster child.  If I don't, who will?  How will he fight for termination if he doesn't know the full case?  I've also learned that he has never done a termination hearing before.  These are the times I want to cry out to God and say, "Why are you making this so difficult?!!!"  But my heart tells me that it is not God making this difficult-that it is a flawed system and that God is carrying us through.  Honestly, if I was not a Christian, I don't know if I would've been able to make it this far without ending up in the looney bin! The Dad's mother told me that she has been trying to talk sense into him-that Princess is better off with us, but his teenaged girlfriend won't let him hear any of it.  She wants to play house.
God give me strength to hold my tongue when I am around them.  I am leaving it up to you, with your Almighty wisdom, and the Judge!
As always, Blessings,
Queen Mama

Visits Decreased

Hello everyone...It's been awhile since I posted.  Got our papers from the judge that stated the decisions/goals made at our last permanent placement hearing.  I noticed it said parental visits current goal as twice a month (she had been going once a week).  It also said former goal was twice a month.  I contacted visitation counselor and she contacted caseworker who contacted the lawyer, and yes, visitation should've been cut down to twice a month back in October when Dad first started coming around again.
  I am so livid, mad, ready to scream!  Our caseworker has been non-communicative with us for months now, and this is the icing on the cake!  I am told by others who work in the system that she is an exception to the rule, and that I am not the only one unhappy with her.  I still have not heard if a termination of parental rights hearing has been set.  I asked our caseworker right before our last hearing, and she said that would be a far time from now.  Other caseworkers tell me it should be started since her goal was changed to adoption.  We have had  Princess for 13 months now.  I knew it would be a long haul, but the "process" is really starting to grate on my nerves!!!!!  "Dad"  still does not comprehend that her goal is now adoption.  For his sake, I wish someone close to him would explain it!

Permanent Placement Hearing

Well, we had our 15 month permanent placement hearing.  I wish I could tell you that everything is said and done and that we know for sure we will be able to adopt our little Princess.  BUT, I can't tell you that.  While the goal of Princess was changed to adoption, which is good for us, the judge scheduled another permanency review hearing in 3 months.  She told bio Dad that she would see how things had progressed with him in those three months and that this didn't mean he would not get his kids back. 
I walked out of there more confused than before.  If her goal is now adoption, why does he get more time?  The caseworker reassured us that it was all "protocol" until his rights are terminated which should be at the next hearing. I am learning to take nothing at face value, to not listen to heresay, and to just keep praying and taking each day as it comes, but, let me tell you, there are days when I don't feel so Christian (the day of the hearing being one of them).  I just wanted to stand up in court and scream to the judge-please-can't you see what a loser this dad is?  This child will never thrive in his care-please just terminate his rights now!  BUT, I was calm and quiet.
  I am faithful that God will place Princess permanently where he wants her to be.  I keep praying that is with us, as bio Dad has no way of supporting her as he has only an under-the-table job a few hours a week.  For now, we will cherish each moment we have with her, as she has definitely left her mark on our hearts already.  I make sure I sing Jesus Loves Me and Jesus Loves the Little Children every day to her so that if she is removed from our care, that hopefully God's words will stay in her heart.
Blessings,
Queen Mama

One Week til Permanent Placement Hearing

Well, less than one week to go before our permanent placement hearing.  I am trying not to think about the outcome.  I hate to admit it, but I have not even been praying about it in the past few days.  I think I feel that if I don't think about it, or acknowledge it, the looming court hearing will not happen.  But, I know that is wishful thinking.
Princess had a visit with her bio Dad yesterday.  He talked to me afterward as he always does, and said he couldn't believe that he got yelled at by the counselors for not calling when he didn't show up for his visit.  This is the mindset and intelligence level I am dealing with here.  He also said he made his living room into a bedroom and bought some old, used twin beds for "the siblings" and was sanding them down and repainting them.  He is sure he is getting these kids back.  I'm not so sure he isn't.  He also informed me he and his girlfriend have been going to church every Sunday and to Bible study afterward.  I about fell out of my shoes when he told me that!  Maybe God is working in his mysterious ways again.  I do hope he works in bio Dad's heart and helps him if he does not regain custody of his children.  I also pray he helps him if he DOES regain custody.  Of course I still think this is NOT in the best interests of the children, but that is for the judge to decide.
I received a letter today saying that we will be allowed to speak in court at the permanency hearing.  I am not sure that will happen, as we have never been addressed before.  I did fill out a form stating our thoughts/concerns, and it will be admissable in court, so we'll see.  I will be nervous if I do speak, but it is all worth it for this little baby girl.  I do so hope that we get to make her a permanent part of our family.  She has been with us for one year, and knows we are Mama and Dada.  If you are reading this, please pray for her, her bio parents and our family.
Blessings,
Queen Mama

Dad a No Show

Took Princess to her visit a couple days ago.  The Dad is usually right on time.  However, today, he didn't show up.  He has a 15 minute grace period, and when that was up, we were permitted to leave.  I am left to wonder why he didn't show.  Did he and his girlfriend break up?  After all, she is the one who wants his children.  Did he become frustrated with his attempts to go to all his counseling and find a job?  I am secretly hoping he doesn't show again.  Only 3 more weeks til the hearing. Praying for God's Grace and his Will for this baby.  Praying also for bio parents that they may find their way in life through God the Father.
Blessings,
Queen Mama

Grandparent Visitation Today

We took Princess to her paternal Grandparent visitation today.  They hadn't seen her in a month, and were very happy to have her today.  I was worried she wouldn't remember them, but she gave them hugs and smiled when we got there.  Leaving her there is always bittersweet.  I am glad she has a set of grandparents that loves her and wants to be in her life.  The selfish part of me wishes there were no ties to her biological family.  I always feel under scrutiny.  In the beginning, they were very much against our wishes to adopt her.  As time has gone on, however, they have given us their blessings.  They do think their son will still have legal visitation rights after the adoption, which is not true.  I'm not sure how they will react when they find that out.  (If the courts terminate his rights and grant us adoption.)  This waiting is very difficult.  I pray for patience and a peaceful heart daily.
Blessings,
Queen Mama