Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Four Months Post-Placement

I realized the other day that I haven't posted an update on our foster care situation since two weeks post-placement. So here we are.

It's been four months since our family doubled. Mercy. What a whirlwind. Where to start?

Basic milestones: Little J graduated to a big boy bed. Miss H lost a tooth and has started reading chapter books. Jude and Miss T both got their first 6 year molars. The girls both had birthdays, Jude's birthday is tomorrow, and little J's is next month. Little J's thoughts, sentences, imaginative play, and sense of humor have all developed so much over the last four months, and it is so fun to see.

Christmas was miserably exhausting, but that was mostly because of Jude. The bigger he gets, the harder he is to control. And he didn't sleep well. The new kids all seemed to really enjoy themselves, although my introvert, Miss H, did have some anxiety about the big family gatherings. 

One funny thing is that the kids came to us believing in Santa. While I'm not going to debate the virtues or vices of Santa, it is not something we do. We had planned on having a don't-ask-don't-tell policy on Santa this year, where we didn't encourage the Santa talk, but we didn't just flat-out tell them he isn't real, either. But Miss H had so many questions in the weeks leading up to Christmas (and probably sensed our lack of enthusiasm for the jolly old elf) that the truth finally came to light, and we told the kids we give them gifts at Christmas because we love them, and as a reminder of the gift God gave us when he sent Jesus to be born on Earth and to live a perfect life and take the punishment for our sins so that we could live forever with God. Miss H was satisfied with that as long as she got presents. Only after Christmas did I realize that I'm pretty sure Miss T still believes he's real, but just doesn't come to our house. She, too, seemed ok with that as long as she got presents.

Speaking of Jude being difficult, little J has gotten to where he likes to imitate what Jude does, which is sweet except for the fact that we spend most of our time trying to get Jude to stop doing most of what he does. This means we now have two boys climbing on the furniture, yelling nonsense gibberish, spitting everywhere, making huge messes etc. it's so exhausting. Today Jude was throwing books from the bookshelf into the floor (a regular thing for him), and little J started helping him and actually said, "Yaaay! We're making a mess!"

Officially, we are still waiting for the paperwork to all go through before we can schedule the court date for their adoption. Our social workers tell us that this will hopefully happen sometime in the next couple of months.

Overall and considering everything, the kids are all doing really well. After some initial struggles, and then a relatively calm period, the girls' behavior has been a struggle again recently. I think we've finally figured out that we were changing too much on them.

We'd gotten to a point where I guess we figured that things were going well enough that we could start taking baby steps in an even better direction (for example, we've been singing the girls to sleep at bedtime, but then we started trying to only sing two songs and then leave while they were still awake, which was causing huge issues; I also started trying to work on table manners with the girls), and it totally backfired on us. Their meltdowns have gotten so regular and so intense that we realize now that what they need most is stability and predictability, not constant little changes in routine and our expectations of them.

We're also learning big lessons about self-care. Childcare has been a huge roadblock to time alone for us. In order to babysit three of our kids, a person has to be finger-printed and background checked through social services, and we don't personally know anyone who has done that. And while there are ways to find someone, we aren't going to just leave Jude with someone we don't know. Not because we care more about him than the other three, but because there is so much to explain and teach and go over with new caregivers for him. So many little details that we could forget. Not to mention that he is more difficult than all three of the others put together, so we just don't want to ask someone to take all four together, even just for a few hours. So for Jude we tend to stick with people who already know him and are familiar with his needs.

Anyway, so I said all of that to say that we just haven't figured out a way to coordinate childcare in order for us to have a date in the last four months, and we haven't even really been able to give one another sufficient alone time.

Add that to the fact that Jude, who had been sleeping great for most of last year, has regressed to being up half the night more often than not, and we are both starting to crack. We're figuring out a way to make a date happen... like THIS WEEK. Because WE NEED IT. We sat on the couch together for five minutes this afternoon while the kids all played outside, and I swear I heard angels singing. It was wonderful. I can't wait to go on an actual date. 

Let's not end on that note, though. Let's end with these two pictures. Because for as exhausting as they are, we really do love these kids so fiercely. And having siblings has been so good for Jude. We are so thankful for all four of these kids that God has given us. If you think our hands are full, you should see our hearts.


  1. Thank you so much for the geniune look into your experience! I say this every blog you post, but we are hoping to join you in the ranks of fostering kids while having one with autism at hope, and I very much appreciate your realistic yet hopeful look at how it will be. I continue to pray for you all! Oh, and that last picture made me literally bawl. :)

  2. So sweet. I think of you guys often and love you updates. God bless you both :)