Fostering is a Roller Coaster

The babies are still with us. The plan was for them to start having overnights with their mom within a month or so of when they were placed with us. The plan was for them to be reunited with their mom by Christmas. That obviously didn’t happen.

Because that’s how foster care is.

Now they are with us at least a few more weeks. Until court. We’ve been asked to attend court. Words like termination and adoption are being thrown around. We honestly don’t know where this is going to go.

Because that’s how foster care is.

The plan today is for two of the babies’ siblings to join us in our home this week. For us to take the oldest two kids on weekends to give their grandmother a break sometimes. But the plan can change any time.

Because that’s how foster care is.

Over the last few weeks we have gone from not intending to adopt to being willing to adopt six small children to keep the siblings from being split up. We’ve rejoiced when their mom has had successes and our hearts have broken when things haven’t gone quite so well.

Because that’s how foster care is.

We’re still hoping the babies’ mom pulls this out and gets her kids back. I strongly believe that, if possible, reunification should be the goal. I also know that’s not always possible. I guess we’ll see in a few weeks where this goes.

Because this has been a serious roller coaster.

Because that’s how foster care is.

And the diaper winner is…

Mama Bear from Amazon!

We have tried so many different diapers over the last few months. With twin babies, they both have different issues with diapers so finding the right one for them both has been quite the experience.

The worst diaper? Luvs. They stink, they leak, and they left Baby B with a mega rash and Baby A with a mild one. No good. They claim to last up to 12 hours. In reality they last maybe two pees. And neither baby only pees twice in 12 hours. Luvs are the only diaper we didn’t even finish the pack.

Pampers are okay. They smell weird and the tabs rip off way too easily. They don’t leak which is a huge plus, but they kind of keep the babies’ bottoms too dry. The liner in the diaper sticks to them because it’s so dry. But the worst thing about them is the SAP in them is always stuck to their bottoms at every single change. I don’t like that at all.

Wal-Mart brand (Parent’s Choice) are about equal to Pampers. They fill up really fast so while they are cheap, we need to change the babies much more often making them not so cheap. What makes them a little better than Pampers is the fact they don’t leave SAP beads all over the babies’ bottoms.

Second place goes to Kirkland’s (Costco) and Huggies (because they are essentially the same diaper). They fit the babies well and don’t leak. Well, they don’t leak pee. They don’t have a weird smell and the tabs are very secure. They get second place because Baby B blows out of them (up the back) constantly. He blows out of most diapers, but Kirkland’s and Huggies seem to be the worst offenders for him. Not sure why. (We used Huggies with Adrian, though he was a bit older than the babies are now, and they worked fantastically… plus they looked like little jeans so I couldn’t resist.)

So why are Mama Bear Gentle Touch diapers from Amazon the best of all the diapers we tried? No leaks, no blowouts, no SAP beads all over their bottoms, no weird smell, and they hold lots of pee. The Mama Bear diapers are a little longer than the Kirkland’s/Huggies and the elastic gathering at the back is much tighter. That combination keep the poop inside the diaper. The leg gussets are also bigger and so contain messes that way, too. They don’t leave any marks on the babies chubby waists or legs like some of the other diaper brands do. Just an all around excellent diaper for these two babies.

Oh, and our favorite wipes, after trying four or five brands is definitely Up and Up (Target) for sensitive skin. They have just the right amount of wetness to get the baby clean easily, they are a good size, and they don’t smell bad. They are our favorite by far.

The best calling in the church

It seems that every calling I have is, to me, the best. Right now I am a Sunday School teacher. I team teach with my mom so that makes it extra fun. I love our class members (we have two Sunday School classes in our ward and people are free to go to whichever they want). I love how the lessons go including when they go in a way I didn’t expected they would. Come, Follow Me is the most fabulous program ever. I just really love being a Sunday School teacher.

How do you not get attached?

A few weeks ago a friend asked me how can we not get attached to the foster babies since we have to give them back. I understand why she would ask. It seems crazy to love a child you will only have for a little while. But it’s pretty much the point of foster care.

We are very attached to these two little guys. They are adorable and sweet and pretty much perfect. We love them very much. We also know without a doubt that they belong with their mother. She loves them, too. She’s working hard to get them back. That’s not an easy thing to do.

We went into this fostering thing knowing we will get our hearts broken every time our foster kids leave us. Knowing that these kids are only staying for now. Knowing that it would be the hardest and best thing we ever did, loving these children.

So how do we not get attached? We are attached. We are attached to these two babies and we’ll be attached to our future placements, too. Foster kids need foster parents willing to open their hearts completely to them. In a few weeks these guys should be going home. We’ll miss them. We’ll grieve the loss of having them with us every day and watching them grow. But we all will be better for the time we got to spend with them and the attachment we’ve had to them.

Foster Babies!

Two weeks ago, two adorable little infant foster babies were placed with us. It’s so fun to watch their little personalities develop. It’s also fun to dress them in Harry Potter and Marvel superhero onesies. They love to be cuddled, but also love to be put down so they can kick and squirm and take in the world. They love to be read and sung to. The sound of thunderstorms calms them right down and Raffi makes them smile.

In the last two weeks we have gotten a crash course in bottle feeding, finally settling on a bottle we all like. We’ve learned how WIC works (all foster kids under 5 automatically get WIC) and signed tons of paperwork. We’ve relearned how to homeschool with a baby and discovered that twins just makes it so it seems like there are so many more babies than just two (seriously, a singleton placement after twins would be a breeze). We’ve been reminded about middle of the night feedings as these little ones are still getting up two or three times a night.

We’ve learned that it’s possible to fall completely in love with children who are not yours and will never be yours and are only with you for now. We’ve already started worrying about RSV season and the fact that they are too young for the flu vaccine. We’ve learned that all the worrying I did before placement about how much they would affect homeschooling was unnecessary (these are VERY good babies – as demanding as any other their age, of course, but nothing out of the ordinary). Mostly we’ve learned that, so far, we’re very glad we decided to become foster parents!

The Smell of My Childhood

Do you ever smell something and it jolts you back to a certain point in time? Not too long ago we were at Home Depot and I realized that home improvement stores reminds me of my childhood. My father was (is) always working on some project or another so we spent a lot of time at Hechinger’s and Home Depot and Lowe’s. Probably less time than my memory tells me we did, but it sure seemed like a lot of time when I was a kid. At any rate, my childhood smells like Home Depot.

Fostering

About six months ago we started working toward becoming licensed foster parents. The amount of paperwork we had to turn in, the amount of questions we had to answer, the amount of training we had to do was so much. But that makes sense because we will be entrusted with the lives of real live children, all of whom have dealt with more trauma than anyone their age should ever be subjected to.

Two weeks ago tomorrow we were licensed. Now we wait for our first child. It’s kind of a weird feeling of limbo really. We know we’ll get a kid, but we don’t know when or how old or their race or gender or even if it will be just one or if we’ll get two at once.

We are often asked why we decided to do this. Basically, to decrease world suck. When Trump shut the government down back in January and Jamie was forced to work but we had no idea when he’d get paid for that work, people were so kind to us. It was quite incredible really. That got us thinking and praying about what we could do to pay it forward and the answer we received was to become foster parents. So here we are.

One really interesting thing happened while we were going through the licensing process. We got invited by Amazon to join the Vine program. This means we get products to review. Stuff in exchange for our words. We’ve reviewed well over 300 items so far as part of that program. Many of the things we have gotten are for babies, toddlers, and children. Toys, clothes, carseats, diapers, even a crib mattress and a twin bed base. Things we would have needed to buy. So that’s been a huge blessing.

We also were given a bunkbed (just needed to get mattresses for it) and a crib by friends who were getting rid of them absolutely free. It’s like the stars totally aligned (or, rather, we were super blessed by God for being willing to do this crazy, hard, incredible thing of caring for and loving His little ones).

We should have our first placement very soon. You never know when a child (or two) that matches what we are approved for (girls 0-3, boys 0-7; that’s all based on the space in our bedrooms and the laws in Texas) will need a home.