Friday, October 23, 2009

Unattended Children

I am reminded of the sign I have seen here and there that says something like: Unattended children will be given a free puppy.

Left unattended, my children stay within their boundaries. But I am learning that their "boundaries," declared by me and only me, are expanding. So, in recent days and weeks, whilst under my not-so-watchful eye, the girls have:
1. Covered themselves, head to toe, with stickers. And I mean HEAD to TOE!
2. Covered themselves with over 50 temporary tatoos. Though after the sticker incident, the rules were: no eyeballs and no bottoms.
3. Planted a "stick garden" in some fairly fresh mud. I have the used-to-be-white jeans in a size 4T ready for a soak in some Biz and the mud covered flip flops waiting on the back porch.

I am nostalgic for my neat freak days, but not so much that we'll hide the shaving cream, scissors, glue, sand toys, play-doh and bubbles. As long as all braids stay attached and no blood is shed, we're good.

Well, since you asked so nicely....

The invitation itself was great, but the delivery is what really made me smile. Bug's mom sat with us this morning while we waited for Ladybug's 3 year check up. "I want you to know," Mom said, "that I still want Bug to be able to hang with you sometimes."

So it's declared. I can still "hang with" my favorite 3 year old once she moves out. Though it's a far cry from tucking her in every night, I'll take it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Departure Date

Nothing hits home the fact that we are a foster family like departure dates. Other families get the FUN departure dates, like This is when we are going to Disneyland or This is when we are moving so and so to college. In this house, you hear: This is the last day she'll be here.

Ladybug's road is coming to an end in a few weeks and oh how sad it is for me. I should be thankful, really. Kid #12 and she is the first one that I have had WEEKS notice on. Not a couple of hours, not a couple of days, but a few weeks. I should be rejoicing truly, because the ending could have been so different for her, but she is getting to move back home. Still it stinks. Not enough for me to stop riding the foster care ride, of course, but I do wish--for my sake only--that it wasn't her turn to get off yet.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Year Two

Yesterday marked two years of having a foster care license hanging on my wall. In two years I have likely missed a few movies on the big screen, a couple of marathons I would have liked to have schlepped my way through, many nights of solid, interruption free sleep and several ends to sentences. Instead though I celebrate the things I have gained: seeing first pinatas, birthday parties, days of school, trips to Sea World, ice cream floats...meeting a million members of this village who support this mission as much as I do...having the opportunity to PLAY in the swimming pool without someone thinking I am insane...teaching slug bug, thumb wars and jumprope rhymes...attending a birthday party for a cat because, when the life of a little one has had such upheaval, you know celebrating ANYTHING brings joy....and knowing twelve kids who have crossed through the green room's doorway to stay for as long as they needed.

Here's to the start of another year. Let's see what quirky kids with their own stories and adventures will come through the door, making my life so far from dull and so very, very rich.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Bug's real name is sung about 70 times in a popular 80's song. We frequently sing the refrain around the house, but only recently did I introduce the idea that I did NOT compose this song. I finally found a live concert version of it on You Tube and promised the girls they could watch it tonight before bedtime.

The concert version has the main singer, some back ups and a few instruments. It pans out to show the crowd. The singer holds his mic out to the crowd and screams: Everyone now. The crowd sings while we sing along.

Beignet: How do they know that song if they don't know Bug?
Tammy: Remember I said a LOT of people know that song. That guy wrote it a long time ago.
Bug: That MY song! Why people sing MY song?
Beignet: They don't know Bug but they sing her song? Why would they sing a song about a kid they don't know?

We'll leave the confusion at that for now.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Decision to Say No

Fostering is hard. By far, it is the hardest thing I have ever experienced. At the same time though, it is a ride I love--to share with kids in my house the wonder of the thing called childhood. Most of them haven't had the opportunity to bake cookies, run around the capital, chalk the driveway (and themselves). I get such joy out of reactions to glow-in-the-dark jammies, songs bawked like a chicken, and simple games of hide and seek. I am reminded of Sass saying that she liked it here because she had a bedtime. And Beignet telling me the very confusing: You always don't never feed us dinner. Which I interpreted as her knowing that there's always food in this house, and yes, dinner on the table every night.

I assumed at some point that a kid would be in the house and it would turn out they needed a forever home and tadah! here I am, already used to having said kiddo here, already adoring said kiddo, and already hoping that this is how her story would end.

In truth though, that has not been the way the past week has gone. Beignet's case has been transferred to the adoption unit. I have the option of adopting her. Of providing this probably-the-easiest-kid-who-has-set-foot-in-my-door with a forever home. The thing is, though, it doesn't feel right. I peek in at Baby B sleeping at night and the same thought comes to my mind every single night: I hope we can find the best forever for you.

In the end, I feel that B deserves a resounding YES to the adoption question. No matter how I try to spin the web in my mind, I can't say that...that I feel in the deepest corner of my heart that she is meant to stay. B doesn't need someone to ride the fence or spin a complicated web. She needs someone who is going to spread their arms out as far as they can reach and welcome her with the resounding YES that she deserves.

Here's to finding forever. I am with you, Beignet, until we find just the right spot.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Not Ready to Go There

I am officially a whimp. A bad parent. My children are going to believe in storks and cabbage patches.

Beignet: How did the doctor take me out of my mommy's tummy?
Tammy: Hmmm. I don't really know. I wasn't there.

The Book Fairy

Our house is a popular stop for fairies these days. Bug and Beignet came home yesterday and found a stuffed animal and book on each of their beds. Beignet, especially, was so excited. "Bug! Look what's on your bed! I have a surprise on my bed too!" And then to me, "I wonder who put those books there?" I shrugged. "I dunno, must've been the book fairy." Five-year-old gasps: I didn't know there was a BOOK fairy! while three-year-old smiles: Thanks, Tammy!