Thinking about 2020-21

I’ll only have two kids homeschooling in the fall. Fritz will be in 9th grade and Adrian will be in 7th. Foster kids have to go to public school and even if we adopt kids, I’m planning to send them to public school for at least the first few years in case any issues pop up that need to be addressed (kindergarten/1st grade is often when they do).

Fostering takes a lot of time. Babies take a lot of time whether they are foster kids or not. So do toddlers and preschoolers. Add the paperwork of fostering and my available time has shrunk significantly. So doing a lot of mom-intensive planning just isn’t the best idea for next year.

Jamie joked that we could just send them to public school. Fritz said that would be his LAST choice. Seriously, half a year in second grade scarred that kid for life.

Anyway, I’ve been looking at options where they could get a high school diploma through distance learning. I think I’ve narrowed it down to either Calvert or Keystone. I think. A whole lot less of me needed, an excellent education… sounds like a win-win to me!

That would be a bit different from what I’ve done with my other two high schoolers, but I think at this point in our lives – whether we are fostering or adopting little ones – this makes the most sense.

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.

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.

Medicine and Babies

One of our foster babies was sick a couple weeks ago and needed to take amoxicillin twice a day. The first couple days were a disaster. He’s scream and fight and spit it out and even projectile vomited it up once. But having never dealt with a baby fighting taking medicine before, we were at a loss of what to do. Until Ani came up with a genius solution.

One person would feed the baby while another person stuck the tip of the syringe in his mouth next to the bottle nipple and squeeze in the antibiotics a little at a time. He didn’t love it. In fact, he regularly gave the medicine pusher some epic side eye. But, he didn’t cry and didn’t spit it out so he swallowed all of his medication and got all better and is now back to his usual very happy, smiley self.

Fritz, the Baby Whisperer

We’ve known for a while now that Fritz is like magic with toddlers. They love him and will do anything for him. Some people jokingly call him the toddler whisperer, he’s that good.

Well, it turns out he’s got the magic touch with babies as well. The foster babies adore him. They seem Fritz and they only have eyes for him and get so excited when he plays with them or holds them. If a baby is sad and having trouble settling, they are instantly calm in his arms.

One day last week we baby-sat a two-year-old and 6-month-old. Somehow Fritz managed to get both 3-months-olds and the 6-month-old down for naps all at the same time and within just minutes.

All we can figure is he’s so incredibly calm that little ones feel that and absorb that calmness into themselves. Whatever the reason, we’ll take it. Bring so amazing with babies and toddlers is a pretty awesome skill to have!