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Archive for September, 2011

Anticipation

….is making me wait.

Tomorrow is just a song away, a song away….

If any of you reading this blog (I think there are 7 of you now) want to write a hauntingly beautiful song about waiting for a fosterwee to join our little family, go right ahead and write away.

I think this blog needs an anthem.

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Quiet

Our neighborhood is not quiet.  It’s 10:00 pm as I write, and horns are honking, men are chatting on the corner, children are skipping on the sidewalk, teens are watching their little siblings in the bodega.

Our house, however, is quiet.  Our guestroom is quiet.  Our phones are quiet, no matter how often we check for messages.  Our homefinder is quiet, after weeks of near-daily communication.

A couple of weekends ago, in the hours before Irene, Carrie and I were walking the streets of Harlem.  The stores were closed, the subway had shut down, there were few cars on the road.  It was as quiet as a city thoroughfare gets.  We encountered a handful of other people walking, and, atypically for NYC, we smiled warmly and knowingly at them.  None of us quite knew what the next 24 hours would bring, but we knew it wasn’t going to stay quiet for long.

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Fosterwee got some blog love from Fosterhood today.  Carrie and I reacted simultaneously: Oh crap — now we have to start writing in our blog.

It would be hard to overstate how famous Fosterhood is in our house; if we were featured in the Times it wouldn’t have been as big a deal.* We read the blog, discuss it, laugh about it, refer to it pretty constantly.  Our families call us when something exciting happens to Rebecca.  During one of my personal interviews with our agency, I mentioned that I knew all about what it would be like to return a child in our care back to her parents because I’ve been reading the saga of Jacket.  (The social worker had no idea what I was talking about.  Thankfully I didn’t go on to say that I understood the theory of relativity because I read a biography of Einstein, or that I knew all about being President from watching West Wing.)

I don’t have the skill set of a successful blogger.  My favorite bloggers post religiously, without excuses, no matter what’s going on.  They post long or short, happy or sad, sane or crazy.  Like Ichiro, they get a hit or two every day and steadily create a compelling 3,000 hit narrative.

Carrie has the discipline to be that blogger.  (Yup, she’s consistent, in addition to being brilliant and beautiful.)  I do not.  I’m likely to write five entries tonight and slack off until December.  I’m likely to start writing and then “research” an Aaron Sorkin hyperlink and spend an hour reading about his upcoming HBO show.  I’m likely to be Pete Reiser, teasing with potential.

But if Fosterhood says we’re bloggers, we kind of have to blog.  Which is probably why we told her, right?

A couple years ago when Carrie and I made the decision that foster care was the way we wanted to add to our family, we told a bunch of people.  We didn’t say this to each other at the time, but what we were doing was creating a community to hold us accountable.  If friends and family were asking us how the process was going, we should probably have an update for them.

We want to blog because we want to document our foster journey for fosterwees and for ourselves.  We want to blog because we want to assembly a community of elders and learn from their experiences.  We want to blog because we might eventually be helpful to other foster families.  If folks are reading our blog, we should probably have updates for them.

Darn you, Fosterhood.

* Carrie and I also think that Ellis Paul and Carrie Newcomer are famous rock stars.  We might not always be plugged in to the zeitgeist.

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Fantasies of Parenthood

As we continue to prepare for life as caregivers and parents, it was suggested that we write down our fantasies about life with a child.  In this weird little fostering world, we deal fairly regularly with social workers and counselors and they are often advising us to examine our feelings, be thoughtful and mindful of our intentions, prepare for the worst and hope for a little bit better.  So, what are my fantasies about parenting?  That is a really hard question to answer and I think it shifts every day.

I could write here about how I nobly would like to help a little person at a time in their life when they really need it, offer guidance and stability, safety and warmth.  And I do, I do want to do those things.  But that is more like a mission statement.  That is not the fantasy or at least not the golden, glowy, daydreamy part of the fantasy.  Surely I have a vision of what parenting will look like, an idea of how a relationship with a child might unfold. I imagine what a family of 2 will look like when it becomes a family of 3.

So….I will peer into a future that I can not see and fill in around the edges with my imagination.  I will make a list of my mothering fantasies and keep them at hand, ready, in a safe place.  Days, weeks, months from now, when I am angry or frustrated or sad, I will look back at the list.  I will say to myself – maybe this situation seems overwhelming because it is not what you expected, it is not how you pictured it – in this moment, right now, this is not what you wanted parenthood to be.  Then I’ll remind myself that it is ok.  Things in life so rarely turn out exactly as you dream that they will.  Maybe it is a gift to get to live a life filled with the unexpected, to experience way more or to just experience things way differently than you ever could have dreamed.

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