Thursday, October 29, 2009

Full Arms, Full Heart

Miss Tiny, Miss Precious and I hanging out on the living room floor.
When Tiny and Curious arrived in May I was till in the throes of surgical recovery and rather heavily drugged. I know, through looking back at photos, the startling changes that have occurred in the girls through these last 5 months, but at the time I think I was simply too overwhelmed and too shocked that I actually HAD them to even be fully aware. Thick and shiny hair. Bright eyes and beautiful smiles. Attached and happy.
With Miss Precious, the changes in even two weeks are mind blowing. Her eyes aren't sunk in anymore, her skin isn't sagging. She smiles and kisses and reaches for me. This child WANTS to live. She wants to attach and thrive and grow and heal. She can almost sit up, and has learned how to eat solid food. Normal milestones for most babies, but shocking that at almost 10 months old she is just learning now.
This job, or life, is HARD. Yesterday I had 8 kids here, two sick with the swine flu and 3 sick with normal colds. Miss Precious spent the night, relegated to a playpen in the master bathroom. By eight o'clock last night I was exhausted, cranky and "touched out". Miss Tiny woke up at 3 am and would only sleep if she was on top of me. And then there was hockey practice at 5:30 am. Morning starts again with another son sick with the flu, Miss Precious older foster sister arriving for the day, and my own kids to cuddle and love. It's hard. But in the smile of a baby who has never before known love? That is worth it.
Yesterday Shel printed out a quote in jumbo type and laid it on my computer for me to see, "NOTHING YOU DO FOR CHILDREN IS EVER WASTED." I struggle with the reality that these kids, MY kids, may never remember me, may never know the love I had for them or how I will carry them through my entire life as "my girls". Does it even matter if they are safe, loved and thriving now if they are returned to a life of chaos? Will it ever matter that they had these months of love and safety?
I have to believe it will. I just have to believe this matters.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Environment Made Me Do it!

If I am completely honest, I actually HAVE eaten dog before. It wasn't knowingly, but it definitely was puppy. If Trippy wasn't quite so skinny, he might make a good potluck dish. If only he could read, maybe he would know that my threats about his accidents aren't quite as idle as he seems to think they are!

Then I will feel better about the 8 passenger SUV we drive.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Good News. Very Good News. We know that it's not a forever sort of thing, but for now, for today and tomorrow and the next 6 months I will breathe a little easier.


My Miss Tiny has learned to shake her head vehemently while giggling in her baby form of a chronic rebellion. "No! NOOOOOO" insert head shake. She means nothing by it except it gets her copious amounts of attention. This from a baby who already gets copious amounts of attention. We are in TROUBLE with this princess!

My boys walk in the door from school with a quick nod to me they immediately make the rounds of the babies. Miss Precious is now part of that routine. If 13 years from now there are 3 incredibly self centered, certain they are perfect, male attention demanding teenage girls in the neighbourhood, just blame my boys. I am not sure they will ever find a husband who thinks they are quite as amazing in every way as my boys think they are.


Annie has quit howling. This is NOT because I personally cut out her voice box at 3 am one sleepless barking filled night. It is NOT. I promise.


Swine Boy, aka the kid who loves his mask, is FINE. TOTALLY FINE. As in so fine that I would have sent him to school today except for that little issue of being quarantined. Apparently our town has been hit hard. At hockey practice tonight there were 8 kids on the ice. EIGHT. For my American friends that is way less than an entire hockey team.


I have three half written actually interesting posts about adoption, disruption, racism and special needs. Do you think I have the time or inclination to do anything about them? Nope. The babies keep me mind numbingly busy. And when they all nap in the afternoon, I collapse on the couch in a pile of wipes and laundry and ignore blogging.

Monday, October 26, 2009

This Little Piggy Stayed Home

That there is Tanner. Tanner with H1N1. Tanner with H1N1 in the ER.

Remember how I said last week it was NOT swine flu? Yeah that was me being wrong.

Seven kids. The flu. This could be a long week.

Actually, he is feeling not too bad. He gets a whole week off of school and is laying around in bed watching tv. He is VERY proud of his mask and he should be just fine by Halloween, which is second only to Christmas on the Most Important Calendar Days of the Year for 12 year old boys.

Anyone want to come help me disinfect?

Friday, October 23, 2009

Small Town Fostering

When we decided to supervise visits with the girls' parents in our home many people online thought this was strange. Scary even. It was neither bravery or stupidity that brought on that decision - it was reality. Being a foster family, and a visible, well known multiracial adoptive family at that in a small city where we are well established means that any thoughts of being anonymous were completely pointless. We know way too many people, and with 4 kids in various schools and sporting events? The paths in a small community are tightly woven.

Fostering in a small community brings unique challenges and rewards. Through no effort of my own I realize that I know several professionals involved with the kids before they entered my life. I have run into the girls extended family members multiple times at my grocery store, at my mall, at my park. And those are just the relatives I have met and recognise. Their family friends attend our church. Their sibling plays lacrosse with my son. I am absolutely certain I have also been seen by people who know the girls but don't know me and are watching my every move when I am out and about with the babies. Having a good relationship, being honest, going above and beyond is alot less stressful than trying to stay hidden.

This was brought home to me yesterday when I happened to be involved in what resulted in a "police incident" when a foster parent and a foster child and a biological parent all turned up at the same location when they weren't supposed to have contact. Emergency calls to social workers, the police circling the building, nervous foster moms, angry parents, confused kids and a grateful me that I have a good relationship with my girls' mother.

Small town fostering is different.

PS. Miss Precious is TOOOOOOOO adorable for words and I love every minute with her but I have decided that mothers of triplets are saints. SAINTS. Do you know how many diapers three pooping machines generate in a day? All I do is change bums and make bottles, cuddle, play and repeat.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jen .... Plus SEVEN?

Well, here I was yesterday comforting my little sickie when the phone rang.

It was the social worker, on speaker phone. In my experience THOSE sorts of phone calls are always dangerous.

So. Yeah. I think we will call this one Miss Precious. She is not OUR foster baby, but she has recently come into care with one of the most horrific stories you can imagine. Her foster mom needs daycare so she will come and spend the days with me.

So now, that makes 7.

Greg, 14, hockey player extraordinaire. Mr. Serious.

Eric, 13, limit tester, hockey player. Mr. Smiley.

Tanner, 12, smartie pants, goalie. Mr. Sweetie.

Caden, 8. cuddler, swimmer. Mr. Teaser.

Miss Curious, 17 months. Dare Devil. Stunt Master. Miss Silly.

Miss Tiny, 7 months. Chub-A-Lub. Giggler. Miss Adorable.

And now Miss Precious. 9 months and desperately in need of love and support.

Please, if you pray, PRAY for this baby. She needs it. She has lived through hell.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Plague

Sorry for disappearing ... I got sick.

Then boy #1.

Now boy #2.

That only leaves boys 3 through 4, and Girls #1 and #2.

And no, it's not Swine. Although as a result of the illness my house looks like a pig sty, so maybe I will just call it the swine flu and be done with it.

Promise to be back soon with something more well thought out and written.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My Sister's Eye

If you have read here for long, you know how much I adore my sister, Jess. We are about as different as sisters can be, and spent many a teenage year annoying each other to death. Thankfully she eventually forgave me. Today, I am proud and honored to call her my sister and my friend. We need each other deeply and I cannot imagine life without her in my corner, or me in hers.

She finally has the space and the time to pursue some of the things she loves best. Taking pictures is her passion and we were honored that she spent some time with our crew playing around.

This is Miss Tiny (also known as Chub-A-Lub) smiling at Mama until her cheeks look like they will explode with joy. I wish I could share the others, because you would most certainly agree with me that quite possibly I have two of the cutest and most adorable baby girls on the planet. Take my word for it!
My Eric. Serious and silly. Jess managed to capture both the boy and the man he is becoming in a great series of shots.
And my baby boy, Caden. Dirty face, black eye, shaggy haircut. Could anything be better about being eight years old?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Crawling Backwards

This is the reason my house was so clean. My really, truly wonderful mother in law. Isn't she pretty?

I am thankful for a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with family. Along with my inlaws, my sister, her family and her camera came for a visit and we had a wonderful time. Today, it's snowing and cold and I miss my company already.

The house is still clean, sort of, which is a good thing because this afternoon we meet another new social worker. There are many complaints about being a foster parent in BC, one of the ones I hear the most is the ever revolving door of social workers. We are VERY sad that our old social worker has moved on to a different job, and know we would have never, ever agreed to foster again if it wasn't for the level of trust we had in her as a person, and as a worker.

It's a huge leap of faith for us to move on to a new worker. HUGE. But, for the girls we would do anything, so making coffee and dusting shelves and pasting a smile on my face to make New Worker feel welcome in our home. And trying to juggle naps so that my perfect angels are sleeping through the visit. As I said to her, photos are a much quieter way to meet them!

Miss Tiny graduated today. Yes, I know she is only 6 months old but she is officially no longer delayed and has graduated from physio! IN FACT she is now ahead of most babies her age. The baby that was described as "fragile" is now anything but! Is it bad of me to admit that we laugh hysterically at her as she tries to crawl now but only manages to go backwards? Sort of like life, isn't it?

Annie, the insane, got her stitches out today. The Valium? PLEASE let me use it. If only to stuff in my ears to drown her out. The cone of shame is relegated to the top shelf in the closet and hopefully she will begin to cope better with her confinement now that she doesn't have to wear it. Dr. M's office found my blog. They snickered as Annie, the insane, came into the office today, pulling at the end of her leash. At least they know we don't exaggerate. And maybe if Trippy, the insaner, ever gets that brain transplant, they will give us a cheaper rate! I have a feeling I won't be asked to be in any promotional material for the adoption of Jack Russell Terriers anytime soon.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dozen Years

It was freezing. There was a faint light of morning dawn and the first snow of the season was falling quickly and thickly onto the roads.

The baby was enormous, this we knew, and I knew the day would be long and hard. I had no idea how hard as they slipped the IV into my vein to tell my body that today would be the day my baby would arrive. The day is a blur of pain and memories of screaming and vacuums and the amazing sight of my bruised and beautiful son.

A son! My very own perfect, precious beautiful baby boy.

And they left me alone with him. He was MINE. His name, as a separate person, added to the bassinet. I had made a BABY. Someone thought I would know how to take care of him and my terrified husband and I were left alone with a baby. Our son, Tanner.

Soon I was surrounded by the women I needed the most. Travelling 12 hours across snow covered and icy highways came my grandmother, my aunt, my mother, my sister, my cousin. To support, hug, encourage me. To welcome this little creature into the folds of our family. The first born son. The first born son in 3 generations. The perfect, amazing, incredible baby boy. For the first time I felt part of a larger process. The generations of women there to welcome my entry into motherhood. To warm me to the idea that this was a good and amazing thing. That I could DO motherhood, like they had done motherhood. I was part of them, and my baby a part of us.

Today as I celebrate the birth of my then first son, now my third son, I ache for those women. I miss what was. We are changed, some gone, some older. That moment of first love and that tight circle of love and support is cracked.
Before my son was two, and before she could meet his brothers, my aunt was taken cruelly from us. Today I miss her. I miss her wisdom and humor and love. I miss sharing stories of her two baby grandsons with her and reminiscing about when my sons were that age. I remember the gift of encouragement and love and support she gave me when I was so young and scared.

The ache from the absence of my grandma, my Nan, is enormous. My sister is coming today to help us celebrate Thanksgiving and Birthday, once again making a drive on an icy highway. Together we are feeling the raw edges of a too recent loss. We will hide the tears under smiles
for my son on the brink of adolescence.

My amazing, beautiful, first born son who brought me into the world of Motherhood. I remember the mothers who helped welcome him into our world. A dozen years later I mother half a dozen kids. I can do this motherhood thing, I just wish they were still here along the journey with me.

Happy Birthday Tanner, I miss you Nan, Happy Thanksgiving my fellow Canadians.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I picked up a prescription for Valium today*.

The kitchen is spotless. Cupboards washed & counters scrubbed. Oven clean. Updated photos are on the fridge, including ones of the inlaws. Wine** is hidden away for those times when needed.

Bedrooms filled with the somewhat noxious odor of febreeze to overwhelm the definitely obnoxious odor of teenage boys' hockey gear.

Picture frames dusted and straightened. Walls wiped down.

Children cleaned, combed and admonished on how to behave so that their Nan thinks their mommy is a GOOD mommy for the next 4 days.

Husband reminded that he has to live with ME, not his mother for the next 50 years. And then reminded again.

Now we wait for their arrival.

*The Valium? For the DOG. Annie is all Jack Russell and she feels GOOD. And what do Jack Russells do when they feel GOOD? Run. Jump. Play. And what do Jack Russells do when they can't Run. Jump. Play.? They howl. They whine. They eat down comforters. They poo in their kennels. What do their mom's do when the inlaws are coming? They drug the dog. BEHAVE YOU DUMB MUTT, NAN IS COMING!!

** The wine? That's for me.

P.S. Since I know my husband's family reads this blog ... the disclaimer. I LOVE my mother in law. She is truly a wonderful woman. And I know that it could be MUCH worse (insert nameless relative whom we are all thinking of here) The stress of their visit is MINE and mine alone. At what point in time do you quit wanting approval of your husband's parents? After 15 years of marriage you would think I would desensitized by now.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thank Yous

We have tried to send personal thank you's to everyone that donated on PayPal. Before this, I had no idea that PayPal gave out donors' addresses, and I am really sorry if anyone was freaked out by the fact they got a note from us, but now you have my mailing address too so I figured it was ok.

For those that donated directly to the vet, they would not provide me names so I am just saying thank you here and if you email me I would be happy to send out a little something from Eric and I.

AND some of you do not have your correct address with PayPal (SHEILA.Z.) and your card was returned.

Just so you know, we share our story of Annie and our Miracle with anyone who will listen. You have done a good thing, all of you generous, kind and amazing people. People are blessed and amazed at your hearts.

Annie on the other hand? Annie is pretty sure she is being tortured and she has no idea why. Solitary confinement, a sore leg, the collar of shame? She does NOT say thank you .... yet.


Ohhhhh hear me whine! Can you hear it?

I come from a long line of women for whome cleanliness was the sole source of your Godliness. My dear great aunt, ON HER DEATHBED, had her daughter pull out the washer and drier so my aunt could ensure there would be NO lint behind it upon her passing. What was shocking was that there already was not a single stray fluff ball behind it. My great aunt had been cleaning back there weekly for years. The first sign that my grandmother was failing was the water spots in her sink. It just was simply unheard of.

I tried fruitlessly for a few years when my boys were small. Then I gave up. My mother had two daughters to clean up after, my grandmother as well. I figured that had to be easier than cleaning up after four boys. I mean I TRY, its just I try to keep it in balance between being home with my house or home with my kids.

With the addition of Miss Curious? My house pretty much has assumed the permanent look of a food fight in Toys R Us.

Yesterday I scrubbed the inside of the lint catcher in my drier. I dusted the inside of the chest of drawers in my bedroom. I have removed pictures from their frames so I can windex the glass. Today looms ahead of me as another 18 hour day of trying to keep babies occuppied so I can clean like a possessed woman.

My mother in law arrives for her bi-annual visit on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Grouchy Patient

Annie isn't very happy when she has to go outside. Actually she isn't very happy at any time right now, but ESPECIALLY when that cold air hits her naked bum. The cast is actually STITCHED into her leg to prevent her from taking it off.

She is spending the vast majority of her days locked in her kennel whining pitifully.

BUT it is all worth it, right?