If I know you, and you're reading this blog, you have two choices:

1) Feel free to pretend you haven't, should the contents be offensive, sensitive in nature, or just TMI (Too Much Information).
2) Comment freely or talk to me face to face, and be prepared for further honesty and opinions.

Okay? Okay.

Mar 18, 2009

A new week a new, possible, dilemma

We got through last week! Grandma ended up with some nerve damage to her foot as a result of the hip replacement- The good news is that it seems the feeling is slowly returning, and the hiccup qualified her for a bed in a more intensive rehabilitation center that is about a half mile from our house!. She's keeping a good attitude and her hip is no longer causing her pain- Yeah!

The funeral service went very well. It still feels odd that grandpa is 'really' gone
, not just absent. We assume he is at peace wherever he is and hopefully is playing golf with memories intact.

The cheek biopsy was obviously clear- I was so prepared for the worst and am thankful, so thankful, that it was simply a veiny knot type thing- official medical jargon!

On Sunday I received some news from a friend that a distant relative of his had been removed by CPS. A three month old in trouble. As usual it sent my head spinning, and while I had no illusions of physically caring for that baby in a foster placement, it put me into that thinking mode. That place where I think "We're healthy, we know kids, we're good at this baby kid thing (you know, mostly), maybe we should be continuing to do foster care." Monday morning I was sharing the minimums of the story of the three month old with another friend and we exchanged stories of current foster placements with other families that we know. During that conversation, I found out that there is a sibling group of two (two year old and 3 month old, boys) that are currently in shelter care (often the first stop after a removal from birth family, to determine the goal for the kids and parents). These boys stuck with me for various reasons.

#1 They are black/African American, and I can't decide if it is a racist thought that we have always thought about having a black baby- kind of rounding out our color palette.
#2 It wouldn't disrupt our current birth order.
#3 There are so many kids out there that need good homes- and yes, I believe we are a good home, despite the occasional yelling...
#4 They are a sibling group, not just a single placement, and sometimes that is a hard placement to find.
#5 We have room for boys.
#6 We are healthy.
#7 The foster care stipend could be helpful in this current economic stressful time- although it doesn't work like that because the extra money coming in goes right back out again- and I am aware of that. (like hiring someone to help with cleaning the house...) Would we be doing it for the money- uh, no. would it help out? maybe.
And more...

So, there I was with these boys on my mind... I chatted briefly with Käri about them- who in the same breath said "sure", and "yeah, good luck with that".

I called one of our program contact people and left a message inquiring if these boys were even still in placement and what might be going on with them, early Monday afternoon. Late Monday afternoon we stop in to visit Grandma in her new digs -the rehab center- and who should be sitting there in Grandma's room? The very same individual I had left a message for earlier in the afternoon. I can honestly say I have never run into this person before, outside of our professional relationship. Apparently she works one day a week in the rehab center and this was her day... A little odd this coincidence. We didn't talk then, but she said she would call me on Tuesday.

Tuesday afternoon she calls and we talk all about continuing to do care or not, pros, cons etc. I am clear with her about where I am coming from and that I wasn't calling to request placement, per se, but that the boys had struck a chord with me. She too, found it odd that we should happen to run into each other on Monday... She clarified that she thought they were still in shelter care and that no decisions had been made, howeve she also wasn't sure if they may have already been placed with a foster family or perhaps back with some relatives. I finished the conversation with J. knowing we were interested in hearing more about these boys, should she hear anything and if they needed a continuing placement.

Late this morning I get a message- The boys need placement. J got a call from a social worker requesting names of families that may be available to work with these boys and their eventual/hopeful reunification with their family. She didn't call to inquire about the boys, someone called her- not always a normal occurence- (the calls generally are filtered through different channels).

Are we maxed out? Are we crazy? If we say yes, would we be doing our other kids a disservice? Are we tired?- hell ya'. Could we fit more kids in our lives? What about the two 6 month old babies I take care of during the week? Is it do-able? (Yes- I do know it's do-able, exhausting and hard, but do-able). If we are asked to take these boys- what do we say???

And then there is that other voice that says 'what are other people going to think'??


Kathryn said...

Wow, you have a lot going on in your world. I sat down and tried to think how I would feel about all of this and I couldn't come up with anything. (Although I do love me some tiny baby!)
As to what people would think... hmm, I've got to assume that at some point people are going to look at you and think that you run a school of some sort, or possibly a group home. I don't think that the addition of two more would really make anyone bat an eyelash further than they already would with your large crowd.
Good luck with the talking and thinking and planning. You'll come to the right decision, whatever that may be.

Susan said...

Who cares what people think!! I think there are kids out there that are mine. They may not live here yet, but I know they will and when I hear about them I often know right away that that is my kid. This has happened a couple of times well before the baby ended up being placed here. I just knew that they would end up being mine, at least for a while. Perhaps these boys are yours.

Anonymous said...

Are you asking us to vote?


Tricia said...

Asking you to vote...? Nah, just wanted to get it out of my head, venting, and looking at opinions.

Oh, you with 9 kids... wonder which way you would vote??? ; )

Anonymous said...

the anonymous lurkers on your blog would probably think you were pretty amazing. not that it matters what the anonymous lurkers think...

Wendy said...

I'm a semi- lurker. I've commented in thepast, but it's been a while.

I think that what you do with your kids is wonderful. So many people would look at the kids you have taken into your life through the foster care system and see the word problem stamped really big on their forehead instead of seeing a child there. Sure, the child may have problems- but what kid doesn't?! Money's tight, ok. You guys seem to have an ability to really see what a child needs- love and attention, not boatloads of expensive toys. As long as you are able to continue to provide the basic necessities and still have enough of yourselves to provide that love and attention, then do it.

As for what others will think... some will think you're crazy. But there will be plenty others, like me, who also think it is a pretty amazing thing you're doing. Really it's most important to figure out what you think.

Team Serrins Springfield said...

People will think whatever they think. I always like the thought "what you think of me is none of my business." I mean unless the kids are having hard times in school or when y'all head to town or whatever from people and their thoughts on your home, then who cares "what people think?"

There are no coincidences. But I love the way you are expressing openness without jumping to any conclusion. You may take these kids. You may not. You're open.

Troy-Michelle Reinhardt said...

My initial thought was - has she lost her mind? But then I realized that thought was because I could never do it - I don't have what it takes. You and Kari however, totally have what it takes. I'm sure one or two of your children will write best sellers one day about the life and times in your household - and the overall theme will be love.

Anonymous said...

I'm voting anyways. :)

Go for it!


Tricia said...

Ah, Sandy. I had no doubt which way you would swing!

MommyNay said...

Im jealous.

Anonymous said...

So is there an update?


Tricia said...

Our names are still "in the hat" for the placement meeting on Monday. I vacillate back and forth. Käri leans towards no- last I checked. Mostly because of the two year old- adding him to the mix... considering Julia and Ruby's needs, blah, blah, blah.