"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, 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

Princess-another Visit

Took Princess to yet another weekly visit today.  Dad was pleasant as always.  He felt the need to tell me what happened in court yesterday with The Siblings.  He didn't tell all, but did say that his psychological evaluation stated that he was at a below average intelligence level (which I believe).  Also stated that the visitation counselor said he ends visits early (which is also true).  Of course today, he made sure he stayed until the last minute.  I kindly reminded him that the judge said prior that it was too late for him even though he was starting to comply with his plan.  (Didn't start complying til a year after kids were removed.)  He said No-this judge told me I had til March.  I don't think he understood, but I just say, OK, and left it at that. I almost feel sorry for him-for the fact that no one in his family or his lawyer is not telling him what is really happening in the case.  Or maybe they are and he just doesn't understand.  I don't know.  All I DO know is that this is frustrating, but I am not letting it deter me from the hopes that we can adopt Princess.   I hope my story does not defer anyone from choosing foster adoption.  I know the lows will be replaced with highs eventually.
God Bless,
Queen Mama

Update on The Siblings Adoption Process

The Grandma called me last night to tell me about the Court Hearing that happened yesterday.  The Mom showed up after a year on the lam in support of the Aunt who has the siblings.  Told the courts she can't take care of her kids but is happy with where they are all placed.  Told the courts the Dad can't take care of them of either.  She is currently a drug user, but at least she's honest with herself and the courts.  Wish I could say as much for the Dad.  They decided to put the siblings case in with Princess's, and a final answer should be had in March.  Hopefully...This has been a long process, but we are praying and faithful that God will see our family as the place for Princess to be.

A Biological Connection or Impulse?

I took Princess for her visit with Bio Dad today.  We always arrive before he does and sit in the waiting area.  She is always oblivious to him when he comes in.  Today, however, when he said hello to her, she ran to him and put her arms up.  I was taken aback.  I must admit it tugged at my "green" heartstrings.  Does she feel a connection to him?  He only recently started seeing her a couple of months ago.  The counselor who watches him during their visits says he never gets up out of the chair.  He doesn't interact with her much.  Could it be a biological pull?  Or was it just impulsive because she recognizes him now?
I have to remember that no matter how much we want to adopt this little one, he is still her father, even if he doesn't have the ability to fully take care of her.  We have no rights until his are terminated.  I again was quiet today when I spoke to him.  I didn't say the things I wanted to say.  I am always kind when we have conversations.  He is always cordial and has never said a rude thing to us.  Does that make it any easier?  No.  My heart aches every single time I think about her possibly going back to him.  In our hearts, she is already our daughter.   49 days until her final placement hearing.  Please pray for her, her bio family, our family,  and that God's will be done.
Blessings,
Queen Mama

My Nightmares during Foster Adoption

I had another nightmare last night.  I keep having nightmares that we are in the courtroom, and the judge declares that Dad can have Princess back.  I see myself screaming "NO! NO!  He can't take care of her!"  I am crying, ready to vomit, and then I wake up.
I don't want to deter anyone from adopting through foster care, but it is definitely a journey of ups and downs.  We have dealt with caseworkers who aren't fully prepared for court, leaving out key happenings in the case.  We have dealt with a very passive lawyer.  We have seen the Dad lie under oath on the stand and not be questioned by Princess's lawyer or caseworker.  We have no say.  We are never addressed in court.  We are simply told when our next court date is.  This is where our faith in God comes into play the most.  We are handing our worries over to him-I should say I try to hand them over.  It's so difficult to not worry about the fate of this little baby in our care.
On a good note-Grandparents did cancel their visit for this weekend due to weather.  At least they are being kind and thoughtful.
Take care and have a blessed day,
Queen Mama

I said you could adopt her, but now I want her back.

At my last visit, Dad couldn't understand why the person who has his other children (well, the oldest is not his)  Peter Pan, the older sister, and Baby Boy is upset.  The Aunt has had Baby Boy for 2 years and the other two for almost a year.  He doesn't know what the big deal is because he wants them all back.  After he told her she could adopt them all.  He also told me that Big Daddy and I could visit Princess  anytime we want when he gets her back.  I just wanted to scream-"Hellooooo. We can VISIT her???!!! You can't just give and take these babies like they are dolls.  They are real and have feelings.  You can't say one day you don't want them and 6 months later decide you do.  We are the only parents this baby knows!!!! While you were missing for 6 months, we loved this baby, took care of her as our own, prayed for her, and gave her stability, a HOME!   You gave this baby away to friends!  You didn't want this baby!  You told us you wanted us to adopt her!  ARE YOU FOR REAL?!?!"   BUT, I didn't say any of those things.  All I said was.... Thank You.  I don't want him construing my words into something they are not.  I have to lean on God and even though it seems crazy, I feel he is telling me to show His love to this person even though I would rather scream and yell and run away with this baby and never see this person again.  I just pray that God sees him and his girlfriend and the situation for what it is.  Oh well, I feel better getting that out. God forgive me for my unkind thoughts!!!!!

Thanks for reading,
Blessings,

The Queen Mama

Part III ~ Little Princess

Ah, Little Princess.  She is a precious little angel baby.  When she first arrived, for the first couple of months, she didn't usually make direct eye contact.  When feeding with a bottle, we would try to stare into her eyes to bond, but she would turn away.  Even babies have a reaction to being moved from place to place, person to person.  She had been in 6 different places before she came to us.  Her bio parents gave her to many different friends, then she went to her Grandparents, Temporary Foster parents, then us.  She would scream for an hour at a time for no reason.  She slept very lightly and was up several times during the night.  We have since found out that she was exposed to alcohol and drugs prenatally, and I believe she could've been having withdrawals or fetal alcohol effects.  We were told that sometimes it takes months for the effects of drugs to wear off, and that alcohol is so much worse for the baby than drugs.  Her bio mom was a daily alcoholic drinker.    After about 4 months with us, she was acting like a "normal" baby.  Happy, content, smiling, cooing, making eye contact, bonding.  She certainly has made her way into our hearts.
So, we have had Princess for 10 1/2 months now.  She just turned 15 mos. Nothing is final yet, and it has been a roller coaster ride getting to this point.  Peter Pan and Princess had weekly visits with their mother and father.  Mom came for the first 2 visits, then never came again.  The courts don't know where she is.  Dad came for about 1 month and then told me that he didn't want Princess.  He wanted to let us adopt her.  He only wanted the oldest two of his children because he knew he couldn't care for them all.  I thought we were home free.  We had Princess all to ourselves with no bio parent visits for 5 months.  We were sure she would be ours forever.  Then, the paternal grandparents stepped in.  They decided they wanted full custody of our little Princess!  We went to court and the judge denied them custody, but granted weekly supervised visits.  Grandma was still in recovery from surgery and not in good health.  He also questioned why they waited so long to step in.  He felt baby had bonded well with our family as she had no parental visits for so long and was with us for so long. After almost crying in the courtroom because I was so nervous and upset, we walked out hopeful.  We took Princess to her weekly visits with the grandparents and had another court hearing after a couple months with the grandparents.  The judge wanted to make sure everyone was participating fully and the judge determined that the grandparents should now have visits in their home.  So, every other weekend, Princess goes to their home for a few hours.  It has worked out well. They love her very much and seem to take good care of her while she is there.
Then, the Dad started showing up at visits again.   We had yet another court hearing a month later to make sure all was well, and the grandparents stated in court that they would no longer oppose our adoption.  Hooray!  The Dad stood up and said he wanted full custody of his daughter.  He has an action plan that he just started doing after a year.  The judge determined it was probably too late.  We have another hearing in March to determine final placement.  Dad is still visiting.  He informed me he has a new girlfriend who I have since met.  SHE informed me SHE wants the children.  Aha-that explains it.  There is a lot more between the lines info that makes this case very complicated that I am not including for privacy reasons.
I must also add that Bid Daddy, who was unsure of adoption, is completely, totally, head over heels in love with the Little Princess.  She is Big Daddy's baby girl.  He is so gentle, kind and loving.  With the boys, he is wonderful also, but with Princess, a whole other side of him shines.  I will be devastated if she goes back to her bio family, but I think Big Daddy may end up in the nuthouse if she does!

So, we will have to wait and see.  I am fearful that this baby will be sent back to poverty, homelessness, an angry environment, and who knows what else.  My children are very attached as well.  We knew that baby going back was a possibility from day 1, but we don't like to think about it.  We are handing over our worries to God and pray that he places her in the safest, most loving environment.

So, from here on out, I will be posting instead of permanent paging.  If you have a question or comment, please ask and I will do my best to answer in a timely fashion.  If you are going through a foster adopt process or already have, I'd love to hear from you.
God Bless You and Your Family!
The Queen Mama

Part II~The Siblings

An older foster couple were going on vacation, and would we be interested in doing respite care? (Taking care of their foster children until they got back).  They had a 3 year old boy and his 4 month old baby sister.  We immediately said yes.  In March of 2008, we brought these two little darlings into our home. I will call them Peter Pan and Princess.   That made 5 children for us, and it was a bit crazy for the first week.  Big Daddy was working the night shift again, and he slept all day, so Big Mama was on her own!  Little Big Man had a very hard time adjusting to Peter Pan.  After all, he was used to being the baby boy in the house.  He didn't want to share his toys and wasn't very nice to Peter Pan.  Princess was up 2-3 times a night and didn't sleep much during the day.  About this time, the caseworker called us to say that the bio parents were not following their plan, and Peter Pan and Tinkerbell would need a more permanent placement.  Would we be interested?  Big Daddy and I had to think long and hard about this.  We already loved these children, but Little Big Man really concerned me with his reaction to Peter Pan.  After discussion and prayer, we decided we wanted to keep these children, and if the time came, give them a forever family.  We would pray for God to help Little Big Man adjust and felt in time he would.
Three weeks went by and we got another call from the agency.  Peter Pan and Princess had an older sister, age 4,  who had been living with a grandmother who no longer wanted her.  Would we take her?  We immediately said yes.  We got a firsthand look into the psyche of a child who has just been removed from a bio family environment, even though it was with grandparents.  The caseworker brought Princess to us that afternoon.  She arrived with a big blue beat up suitcase and a garbage full of her belongings.  She had clothes and some books, but that was it.  She was excited to see her brother and sister, but she shook from head to toe and didn't stop until bedtime.  I took her to our room we had decorated for a little girl.  "Are you my Mommy?  Is this my room? Is that my closet? Am I going back to my Grandma's?"  The questions didn't stop. This little girl had a lot on her mind and she wanted to get it out.  I was glad to listen.  I found out her Grandma and Grandpa told her she was bad and didn't want her anymore.  They told her there was no Santa Claus, but they did give her a baby doll for Christmas that Grandma promptly threw in the garbage when  she was a "bad girl".  I sang to this little sweetheart and stroked her head, and cried in the dark as I listened to her heartbreaking story.  She knew entirely too much about alcohol and relationships of adults for a 4 year old.  When I sang the ABC's, she thought she had heard the ABC song on TV one time, and  she didn't know who the Easter Bunny was.   I was up with her til about 3:30AM when she finally fell asleep.
The ncxt day, the caseworker called again.  She told us there was actually ANOTHER sibling- an 18 month old brother, Baby Boy,  who was living with an Aunt about an hour away.  She had spoken to the Aunt that morning and told her the situation with the children.  The Aunt decided she wanted to have the older sister and Peter Pan come live with her.  She had children of her own, however, and a full-time job and felt she couldn't take little Princess.  The caseworker felt this was best for the older sister  and Peter Pan because they were the two oldest and had lived together with their parents and knew the Aunt and would do well with her and their baby brother.  We were a bit taken aback at the sudden decision, but trusted our caseworker's judgment, and did see the bond that the older sister and Peter Pan had.  The agency's job is to place the children with family when they can, and we respected that decision.  We took the two older children to be with their Aunt the next day, again meeting in a parking lot halfway to her house.  The older sister didn't understand what was happening.  I kept trying to tell her that she was going to live with her Aunt so and so, but she didn't remember and didn't want to go.  She wanted to stay with us.  That was heart wrenching.  However, when we did finally meet the Aunt, Princess did indeed remember her, and was smiling and happy.  That put our minds at ease, and off they went.
Which left us with little Princess, a baby girl we had so longed to have.   To read more about our journey with little Princess,  please visit Part III Little Princess.

Our First Foster Child

Our first placement with a child happened the end of November 2007. I was hanging Christmas decorations when I got the call. I was overcome with excitement, anxiety, you name it, I felt it!   Hannah was 18 months old. I dropped Little Big Man off with a friend and went to get her 15 minutes later. I met the 2 caseworkers in the parking lot of a convenience store. I showed them my I.D., and they handed Hannah and her bag of belongings over to me. She was scared. She clung to the caseworker. When I got her home, she had a blank look on her face. She didn’t cry, but looked very confused and very wary of us. When Big Daddy and the boys got home, she seemed to come out of her shell a bit. She laughed and played with the boys and ran circles around the room. We were all so excited. I couldn’t believe we finally had a little girl in our home. That night, she wouldn’t sleep. She was in a crib beside our bed. Big Daddy was working the night shift, so I put Hannah in bed with me. She immediately fell asleep. I remember thinking she must’ve slept with her mom, who was a single parent. I was exhausted the next day. I was awake all night watching Hannah, making sure she was okay. At 3pm that day, the caseworker called. They had a hearing for Hannah that morning, and I was to return her to her father immediately. I was a bit shocked that it happened so quickly, but I felt that God knows what child belongs in our family, and that he had other plans for Hannah. I gathered her things, and met her father and grandmother in the same parking lot where I had picked her up. Dad was young, but seemed genuinely happy to see his daughter. He did not live with the mother, so he would have full custody. He and Grandma thanked me again and again for taking care of her. I said good-bye and returned home, hopeful that I would receive another call soon.
Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. Over 3 months had passed and not a single call. I would tell Big Daddy every night that “Tonight is the night we’re getting a call-I just know it!” But after 3 months, even I was beginning to think we would never get that call. We prayed and asked God to send us the child or children whom he wanted us to raise as our own. Even though we had decided that we only wanted girls, I felt an overwhelming urge to open our hearts to a brother/sister if they needed a home. We let the agency know this and about a week later, we got a call!