Thursday, March 27, 2008
Stressful moments in fostering.
Fair warning, this is going to be a long post.

Thing have been stressful these past couple of weeks in our household and it probably won’t get any better for another couple of weeks.

Last week I was away on business and during my time away Oronzo was left to take care of all three children on his own, 24/7. Let’s just say that things did not go well. Baby Bug is teething and she went from waking up only once per night for a feeding to waking up every couple of hours screaming in pain. Oronzo tried to sooth her quickly but there were a few times when her cries woke the other two children up. Oronzo got very little sleep the entire week.

Boo regressed back to feeling very anxious every time Oronzo would set her down and try to get something done. She would start sobbing and try to get him to hold her. Snuggle Bug was pretty self-sufficient but his needs still had to be met too. On top of the chaos with the children, Oronzo was desperately trying to get work done in the evenings for a project he’s trying to complete for a client. He failed miserably to meet that deadline and had to request an extension.

When I returned, Oronzo felt at the end of his rope. When I asked why he didn’t ask for help he explained that the help he needed the most was in the evenings and no one was available for that.

Unfortunately, I’m leaving on yet another week-long business trip this coming Monday. Usually my trips aren’t back to back like this but I can’t get out of going on this next trip. We thought that Oronzo’s mom would be able to come and stay with him for the week to help out with the kids but she informed us last weekend that she was no longer available, at all. We’re not even sure why but we feel like she’s left us hanging because she originally told us she would be able to help and now suddenly she can't.

Oronzo made it clear to me that he could not have a repeat of last week. He’s still behind on work and desperately needs to catch. As foster parents, we don’t have a lot of options when it comes to getting help in the caring of our foster children. To have someone watch the children for even an hour, they have to be fingerprinted and have a background check done. To watch them overnight, they have to be a fully licensed foster family. What this means is that Oronzo is going to have to put Baby Bug and Boo in respite care next week.

When he told me this, I panicked. Boo has enough separation anxiety issues as it is. Sending her to a strange home for a week surly will only make it worse. I’m sure she’s going to think we’ve left her for good! Baby Bug is a happy little baby and probably will be fine, as long as the foster family that’s caring for her gives her lots of love and attention. I confess that I pleaded with Ornozo not to do this and even went so far as to try to make him feel guilty about even thinking of it. I wasn’t very supportive of his admission that he was feeling overwhelmed with taking care of all three children by himself the entire time I was gone. My lack of support has led to strained feelings between him and I.

It took me a couple of days to accept that respite care is the only option for this next trip. I called our agency worker and filled her in on the situation. I started crying as I spoke with her. She was quick to reassure me that it was OKAY to ask for help and said that she understood that the restrictions placed on us on who can watch the foster children makes respite care unavoidable in these situations. She assured me she’d find a good family to take the girls. I requested that she try to find foster parents with no other children that would take both girls and that could give them their undivided attention.

Our agency worker appears to have come through for us. She found a couple that is just doing respite only and will have no other children in the home next week but our two girls. I called and spoke to the foster mom and we talked for about 30 minutes. I shared with her my concerns and she assured me that she’d take good care of them for us. She offered to let me come to her house ahead of time to get a tour and to get to know her and her husband a little better so I’m taking the girls tomorrow morning to meet with her. She’s okay with me giving her notes on the girls’ needs and sending a list of the items we’ll be leaving with them.

I’m still quite apprehensive about sending the girls to respite care and I think Boo will struggle with this even after she’s back home with us next Friday afternoon, but I’m trying to be respectful of Oronzo’s need for assistance. I’ve apologized to him for not being more supportive in the first place and the tensions are easing a bit. Now I just want next week to be over so I can get back to taking care of my family!

Who knew that business travel would prove to be so painful! You're prayers for our family next week would be much appreciated!

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9:58 AM

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Sandy said...

Oh, my prayers are with you and Oronzo and the babies and the respite folks. How wonderful that your case worker came through for you!

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Oh gosh, I feel for you. It's so hard with little ones anyway, let alone back-to-back travel and a whole week at a time! I hope it all works out ok for all of you.

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Darla said...

I to was a respite care giver to one of the little ones that I have since adopted. His foster mom would have to leave for a week at a time & I took him.. I just want to assure you that they will be okay. I know how stressed you are, but I fell in love with that little boy after 1 week. When the week was over, I literrally cried when I returned him.. I set and thought the same thoughts you are going thru... Will his foster parents take care of him.. will they play with him...will they just put him off in a corner? Take a deep breath, they will be fine and things will be better for all of you. Bless your hearts for taking so much on ....

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Betsy said...

I can really hear your heart through your post and I can see how hard this on your family. Praying that the babies will be more than loved and for your peace!

At 5:40 PM, Blogger abebech said...

We would like to be licensed to do respite care only for that very reason -- the whole fingerprinting just to babysit thing. How hard that must be for foster families and foster-adopt families!

I'm sure you've tried to think of any possible way to avoid this and I'm sure Baby Bug will be fine, though I would worry about Boo just as you are. I'm certain that for a long time even after our months of cocooning my daughter was expecting to go back (we thought of it as keeping her emotional suitcase packed just in case, from an attachment in adoption website). Maybe a significant transitional object from your home to theirs and back would help?

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Carey said...

Im praying for you and your family.

At 5:10 AM, Blogger Lindsay said...

Wow. I can relate to the MIL episode. Other than the few people I listed in my post on Easter Sunday, the few times they helped, we were utterly abandoned by family during that time as well - including, and most heart-sickening to me, my parents. They did NOTHING.
I know that must add insult to injury for her to drop out on you and not even explain, if she did have a good reason.
Hoping next week goes well, and passes quickly for you all!!

At 5:10 AM, Blogger Lindsay said...

I've added you to my blogroll! :)

At 6:07 AM, Blogger Cathy said...

I will be thinking of and praying for you and your family all next week. I can understand your anxiety completely but I think you are right. The baby will be fine. Boo...does she have a favorite blankie or stuffed animal? Also, maybe something you could spray your perfume on that she could take with her? That way she can still take you with her? She will be ok. I hope the week passes quickly.

At 6:13 AM, Blogger Sally said...

Ooh, all that stress on top of traveling for work. I'm glad you were able to find a home where they can both go. I'll be praying for a smoother week.

So, I understand the fingerprinting thing for babysitting, but what if someone comes to the house to help while Oronzo works in another they have to get all checked out? Is that an option for times when he just needs a quiet couple of hours?

At 6:15 AM, Blogger ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

Prayers for you and your family!! I'm sorry that things are so tough right now, and I pray that everything will work out (and I'm sure it will!!).
My husband travels for business and I remember what it was like when he'd be gone and left me with two little ones (and one was still getting up during the night). I can't imagine doing it with 3. I know I was barely sane by the time he returned. I think the respite care is a good thing for all of you this week.
And I know how difficult it can be to find child care when you have special circumstances. Because of the Little Man's food allergies, we can't just "call a sitter" when a family member cancels on sitting for us. Those types of things can certainly add to the stress.

I hope you have a safe trip and I'll be praying for you all.

At 6:33 AM, Blogger Aunt Murry said...

Oh how I wish that I lived close so that I could assist with watching the kids in the evening. I would even go so far as staying the night. Good grief there are a lot of hoops for you to jump through. It makes me want to become a foster parent just for situations like this. Wow. I guess I need to call our local agency to find out what I need to do. Thank you so much for posting this. Finally something I feel I can do! What a blessing you and your family are. I applaud O for stepping up and saying he needs help but I understand your frustration also. God bless and prayers your way.

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you can't even just get a babysitter for an evening out? I had no idea about the restrictions placed on foster parents.

What a tough decision. I hope things go well.

At 8:12 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

What a tough time you guys are going through right now. I know it's hard, but it's so great that Oronzo let it be known that he needs help. I know it's a hard decision, but I think you made the right one. I hope the week goes quickly for you.

At 11:23 AM, Blogger a/k/a Nadine said...

I also had no idea there were such strict restrictions placed upon foster parents. This has been an eductional post. Thinking good thoughts for you and your family.

At 4:27 PM, Blogger Kelli said...

Going from one to three can be so overwhelming. The fact that you're so upset about respite care tells me your heart and mind are in the right place.

We'll be praying that the girls adjust quickly and seamlessly and Oronzo gets the rest and work done that he needs to.

At 5:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to your partner, as I am the one left when my husband has to go out of town. To top it off your partner was not eased into this, but has three children form one!

Hang in there. You guys are doing awesome and it takes a lot to ask for help!

At 7:59 PM, Blogger Christi S said...

oh, hon! I'm definitely praying for you and for the whole family, esp. the girls!!

At 8:44 PM, Blogger Tamara said...

We TOTALLY relate! My parents are flying in from FL next week b/c my husband will be on a business trip. With no family closer than 1000 miles or so, it's insane. We will be praying for you and the kidos. Our baby was in respite care for the first week of her life while we worked on getting back from our summer vacation in FL (since her existence was a total surprise). We feel like the woman who provided respite care is an angel. Every respite provider we've met has been a very special person, and I'm confident the girls will do very well.

At 8:50 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Sure does sound like it was stressful! When you mentioned you were going out of town for a week my first thought was "poor Oronzo being with all 3 kids by himself!" Single parenthood isn't easy. I'm glad you were both able to talk about the situation and hopefully see each other's side. Sounds like you did find a good solution. Do the girls have to stay overnight for the respite though? Can't they be over there during the day so Oronzo can do his work then (instead of the evening) and have them come back at night?

I hope it all goes well and isn't too stressful this time.

At 12:02 AM, Blogger Presto3 said...

I didn't realize you had to deal with these kinds of restrictions. That must be really hard. I have 3, my younger 2 are close in age, and it's SO hard when dh is gone. Now he has a new job and hasn't had to travel much, but it will be in the future. I know that the girls will be OK, and Boo will adjust. You know, as parents we also have to take care of ourselves, and that's important. Sending you hugs (I live just on the other end of town from you but can't help, because I'm not fingerprinted, etc.). Oh, and we've had MIL issues, too. Like my MIL ditching me with my oldest, who was 2, after I'd had outpatient surgery under general anesthesia.

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Forgetfulone said...

I sure hope everything goes well this week while you're away on business. I know respite was a hard decision, and I can feel your stress.

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Things always work out and hopefully the respite care the girls are going to will be a blessing in disguise.
I, like others, had no idea the difficulties of finding care for foster care children. I was feeling a sense of stress just reading your post. If I felt overwhelmed I can only imagine what you are going through.
I will pray for you and your family. And thanks for finding my site and commenting. I'm glad to have found yours!


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Name: Overwhelmed

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It wasn't supposed to work this way...Parts 1 through 10

(the story of the private, domestic adoption of our son)

(Part 1)
(Part 2)
(Part 3)
(Part 4)
(Part 5)
(Part 6)
(Part 7)
(Part 8)
(Part 9)
(Part 10- Adoption Finalization)

Fostering isn't for the faint of heart!

(our journey to adopt again through foster-to-adopt, the good, the bad, & everything in between)

Adoption #2- considering the State
More Adoption #2 thoughts
Adoption #2- Back to considering the State
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 1)
Adoption #2- The Paperwork (Round 2)
Family Foster Home Licensing Prep Checklist
Adoption #2- Long overdue update
PS-MAPP class homework assignment
Our preliminary home inspection went well!
Adoption #2: Licensing update
Adoption #2- Foster Facts
Adoption #2: I love it when things go my way!
Adoption #2- The home inspection
Adoption #2- We failed our home inspection!
Adoption #2- We passed the follow-up home inspection!
Adoption #2- Still waiting
Adoption #2- We're getting closer
Adoption #2- An update & a lead
Adoption #2- The lead that didn't pan out.
Adoption #2- We're licensed!
Adoption #2- We have a tiny baby here!
Adoption #2- Update on this precious little girl.
Adoption #2- Quick update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is staying longer!
Adoption #2- Baby Bug is growing!
Adoption #2- Overdue update on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- The latest on Baby Bug
Adoption #2- Shopping spree for Baby Bug
Being a Foster Parent Does Not Make Me A Saint
Adoption #2- Another Placement Call!
Adoption #2- Placement Meeting- UPDATED!
Adoption #2- We have Boo at our home!
Adoption #2- Meeting Boo
Adoption #2- I'm angry on Boo's behalf!
Adoption #2- A Birthday Party for Boo
Adjusting to three 3 and under!
Stressful moments in fostering.
Adoption #2- Update on our foster daughters
CPS Workers Jerking Our Chain!
It's getting much worse!
Fostering: Update on Baby Bug
Fostering: Update on Boo
The effects of fostering on Snuggle Bug
The time is drawing near to let go of Baby Bug.
Good conversation with Baby Bug's dad.
Boo has a Permanency hearing coming soon!
My heart is breaking!
Bittersweet news about Baby Bug.
Next Friday is going to be tough.
Packing up Baby Bug's belongings
It's done- Baby Bug is gone.
Working on finding peace, one day at a time.
Referral to the Early Intervention Program
Baby Bug update
Home Inspection for re-licensing
Parole granted for Boo's bio mom
Baby Bug is turning 1 year old soon.
Day 2 of Boo's permanency hearing
A prayer answered today!
Attending Baby Bug's 1st birthday party
Foster news
Good news for Boo's case
Boo's bio family visits
Termination Trial date set!
A new caseworker for Boo
I've been asked to testify in court.
Court hearing for "John Doe"
Contested termination trial begins tomorrow afternoon
Boo's adoption has been finalized!

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