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Posts Tagged ‘Foster care’

I guess I was kind of waiting for one, hoping that I could write that final post that pulled everything together, made it all just fine – the ending that made me (and maybe all of you) optimistic about the future.

But no.

A court date was scheduled for last week. And then cancelled because the judge called in sick after everyone else had arrived at the courthouse. It has been rescheduled for November with yet another judge. I think this is the 4th judge on the case but really only the 3rd because this judge was on the case previously or something.

Blitzen has been in care 2426 days (which can also be counted 58,244 hours if my math is right) and she is certainly no closer to permanency/ reunification /any kind of resolution than when we first met her.

What would you do with 2426 days or 58,244 hours?

You could complete college (if you went full-time and stayed on track) 1.65 times. You could get 2 or 3 master degrees, if you put your mind to it. Travel the world in 180 days 13+ times over.  You could drive coast to coast about 1,000 times – assuming that you didn’t stop to smell the roses.  I read somewhere it takes like 75 days to climb Mount Everest – so you could do that, a bunch.  Hike the Appalachian Trail (takes about 6 months so you could do that maybe 12 times – more if you jog part of the way). Took little more than 1 year and 1 month to build the empire state building or so google tells me.

In 2426 days, you could learn a new language, run a bunch of marathons, master a musical instrument, hell – if you are already super fit and spectacularly talented you could train and compete in the Olympics.  You could plant a tree and watch it grow. You could go to a lot of movies – you could make a lot of movies. You could read many books – and write a few too!

Or, you know, you could have a childhood with just the average amount of anxiety and uncertainty.

But no.

Have I ever mentioned that every time that I read a book to Blitzen, about half way through the second chapter, she asks me to read the end?  Every time.  It is just too tense, it is just too much, the not knowing.

I sure do wish that we could peak ahead to the last page now.

But no. So, gonna leave you without an ending. For all the fosterhood followers – we’ll keep Rebecca up to date, I’m sure that she’ll let you know if anything earth shattering like permanency ever happens.

 

P.S. In about a week, I’m taking the blog down.  We talked to Blitzen about blogging and writing and she, in her very Blitzen way, was completely baffled by the thought of folks sharing their ‘business’ with the whole wide world.  So it truly is time to put the blog to bed. I certainly will miss my internet friends, gotta say. This has been the best virtual support group a foster family ever had. Thanks – don’t think we would have made it the past 3 years without all of the peace, love and understanding.

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You made me cry a bit there – in a good way. My sis-in-law wrote to say that even she got a little teary from the comments and she is a total badass. (I am concerned about B’s privacy but not my in-laws, apparently!).

I am still a thinking — about Blitzen, self-preservation, a creative outlet, the support hat I really do get from the wonderful vibes anonymous people send my way and the ability to process this incredibly complex way of life that writing has created for me.

I am still a thinking — about what has shifted for me in the last few months that has made things so difficult in a new way.

I am going to take a little break for a week or two and try to figure out if there is a good way to move forward, perhaps with fewer public posts about Blitzen (although as several people have said — there are so many of the wonderful things about this kid that I have captured here, I hope to keep writing all that down for both me and for her whether or not I make those items public). Maybe it is time turn my attention more to some of the social justice issues that being a foster parent has brought into focus for me in a new  and very very real way.

I also just have to say that this past week, the entire world feels wrong which is likely contributing to this feeling that I am having. Everything that is happening in Missouri and the often disheartening discussions that I’ve had with other white people about it, the ridiculous and skewed press coverage, have just weighed me down.  I am deeply saddened, really struggling with how to contribute to this discussion in a meaningful way, how to help Blitzen cope with this tremendous injustice but also prepare for a world that doesn’t see her or respect her.  Even the air feels heavy and full of darkness.

Time to breathe and try to find some brightness.  I’ll likely be back, one way or another, soon.

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Oh, executive functioning, why oh why are you required to get through middle school?

On the upside, we do have a very elaborate plan of action in regards to locker decor – there will be a mirror and a chandelier, I am told…How to remember to bring home our work and books, the plan is less solid.

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Blitzen really wants to be independent – when it suits her.  There have been some disagreements about when she will be ready to take public transportation by herself.  She knows what to do and where she is going. She also gets distracted easily and then flustered when confused or anxious.  My biggest fear is that she will miss her stop and then be too anxious to get help until she is full melt down and panic mode.  So we’ve been trying create independence with a safety net.

Last week, Andrew and I let her walk up the hill from the subway to camp by herself. And by ‘by herself’ I mean that we stated that we would follow her (it is several blocks) but not talk to her or give her directions. We would just be a block behind her (we could still see her) and she could call back or come back to us if she needed anything. Well, don’t you know our adorable little Blitzen walked backward almost the entire way – chattering at us in a loud voice – about everything going by and her day ahead. That kid cracks me up.

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Blitzen struggles with money.  Some of it is being a kid. Some of it is a lack of math skills. Some of it is a basic lack of understanding about how we relate to the world – and by we, I mean Andrew and me.  Everyone manages their money differently, so be it.

Blitzen recently got very angry at me because I never spend money on fun stuff, I only the pay the bills.  According to Blitzen, I am always so worried about buying food and paying for our apartment. Take a look at my Amex bill, I spend plenty on fun stuff.  But she is correct that while I do like to pay those bills on time, I am fortunate enough not to be ‘worried’ about it.   I was talking to my mother about this and remembered a story from my childhood where my darling brother, when told that we didn’t have enough money for something, patiently explained to my mother that she could just use a check.  So I get it that kids don’t get money.

It is disheartening though, picking up on the thread about Blitzen’s often negative and worry filled interior life, how often Blitzen assumes the worst.  We talk about money in a very appropriate way with Blitzen — we are rarely concerned about it but we do explain about budgets – in theory, at least, the amount of money going out can’t exceed the amount coming in.   Going to work is important so that you can get paid. Paying your bills on time is  a responsible thing to do. But she has equated our discussions with worry – I understand why, of course, but it is yet another thing that I do wish I could get her to move beyond.  This also gets mixed up in her brain with the storyline that tells her that if I am spending money in one place, she is not going to get what she needs or wants. It is very hard to get to the point where, in this home and this situation, paying the rent does not equal taking money from you, paying the rent means having a safe place for us to live and making good on a commitment to landlord.  It helps us, as a family.  So hard, these things.

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First day of camp, awesome. Second day of camp, in the world according to Blitzen, was a lot like the Game of Thrones (which I do not watch but I read the books).  Apparently, there was a plot coordinated by the friends that she made day one because she was popular – there was a kiddie coup, I suppose, in Blitzen’s brain.  They apologized and asked for forgiveness — she is considering it but doesn’t think they really deserve it so she might just make new friends.  People, there are only like 30 kids in her age group at this camp, I am getting nervous she is going to burn through all possible playmates in the first week. And I am also (even at girl drama filled age 11_ concerned that so much of this is just about Blitzen’s negative spin and terrible self-image.

I really really really wish that Blitzen did not assume that every single human(dog, cat, bird, squirrel, taxi and stoplight) that she encounters is out to get her, make her life miserable, take everything that she has, control everything, steal everything, cheat and lie about EVERYTHING. I understand why she feels this way – it is actually a fairly sane reaction given the world that she lived in up until Nov of 2011.  I am sad ’cause I think that she might always feel this way and life is just better and easier if you can, once in awhile, assume the best of others instead of the worst.

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Ok, camp in NYC is just a crazy thing (and by crazy, I mean complicated and expensive).  So Blitzen has 2 weeks at a new day camp this year – she started yesterday.  She was very nervous and surprisingly, pretty in touch with the emotion and why she was feeling anxious.  This morning as we were walking from the bus to the camp, she said, “I am not scared today. I know all the people – the kids and the teachers are really nice.  And you can pretty much do whatever you want.”  Nothing Blitzen hates more than adults trying to tell her what to do.

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