National Foster Care Month

May is national Foster Care Month. Follow me on instagram @havencamp I’m doing a 31 day challenge posting about Foster Care.

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They’re just Normal

I get home from a visit lugging in my bags and the baby. I go to get the bottle from the diaper bag and find a golden envelope. I turn it around curiously and see “Thank you” written in pretty writing. I’m so excited hoping its a picture of little 4 lb newborn baby J or a note written by her mother. I bend the metal clasps, lift up the seal and see money. I open the envelope as wide as it goes to check for a note but there is none.

I am the other woman raising her child. I am the one getting to watch the milestones and wake up to smiles but she chose to give some of her money to me. She didn’t hand this to me in person probably avoiding a refusal. I sat on my couch holding hundred dollar bills in disbelief. They’re just normal people.

Its a thought that constantly goes back and forth in my mind from how could they ever do this to their child to they’re just normal people who made bad choices. She wanted to support her child. She thanked me when she could have so many reasons to hate me, she doesn’t. She appreciates me raising her daughter.

I was not even sure how to go about handling the situation. I wanted her to know her gesture was sincerely appreciated. The caseworker addressed that due to ethics money is not aloud to be given. However she may purchase things she needs such as clothing or diapers. So I will be handing this back. Exactly what she may have tried to prevent. This time the envelope will have a note in it, from me. I want to thank her for her thought.

As much as I love my little one, I hope her mother can work through her hard times and be able and willing to raise her kids in a safe and stable home.

Making Puree Baby Food

If you’ve considered making baby food at home there are a lot of advantages. Its easy and actually can be fun. You can choose more of a variety, hand pick your organic fruit or vegetable and its fresh, oh so yummy and even cheaper!

This batch I made here was green beans, sweet potato, peaches and pears. Not only am I able to pick out my baby’s food but I can buy organic fruits and veggies and save!

First, lets start with green beans!

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Rinse them well, chop the sides off and toss them in a steam basket. Next place the basket into a large pot that has been heated up on medium. It takes about 10 minuets to get soft enough to puree. Pull the basket out safely and allow them to cool a little to prevent cracking in your blender. Put the beans in the blender and add the remaining water in the pot that has lots of the nutrients left in it. Pour as much as needed to reach your desired consistency.

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With this amount of green beans I was able to make 3 baby jars full at only .64 cents. You can make larger batches but this is her first time and I didn’t make a ton. If you were to buy store bought baby food 2 4oz tubs would cost around $2.

Next sweet potato. Wash well and peel. Cut into cubes, toss into basket just like the green beans with new water. I went and watched my show as these cooked as they take a bit longer. Let them cool a bit and put into the blender with remaining water. Sweet potatoes blend up so nice and smooth! Take a spoon and fill each hole of a ice cube tray.

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Sweet potatoes also give you a lot for the price!! So here you can see I paid 0.84 cents and this one potato made 15 servings! Again 2 4 oz tubs of store bought food is about $2.

Then, cover the ice cube tray with tin foil. Some ice trays have covers (which I need to find.) Let them freeze overnight or about 12 hours.

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Pop them out onto a paper towel and put in your labeled freezer bag. I was concerned they would stick together but surprisingly they do not. Just make the bag air tight to prevent freezer burn. Also, I have put two different foods together without any issue. I just make sure they’re different colors so I can tell which is which.

When its time to eat, grab a cube. I place it in a little glass petri dish and place in the microwave for 10 seconds. If its fruit, like peaches or pears I may just place it in the fridge that morning and it will be ready!

Have fun and break out the napkins!

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Our 2nd Home

We have a second home now, and that would be Children’s Hospital! πŸ™‚ Seriously though I’m really getting to know my way around that place. Baby J has been doing great these are just some follow up testing to make sure she gets everything she needs! Visits are in full swing and the craziness has began.

She has been screened with early intervention and she will be getting services twice a month with a physical therapist to make sure she stays on track. We have started solid foods and that is always super fun (and super messy)! At first she was not having this spoon business but shes coming around and gets super excited eating. She loves her morning banana cereal.

We’re starting to roll from back to belly,Β  and teeth are emerging! I’ve finally got a life book idea started. So far things are going pretty smooth.

Baby Love

It has been a month since our little girl, Baby J was brought home! We have come a long way in a short period of time. She is recovering and healing. We are earning her trust.

We’ve noticed some developmental delays and waiting on our local early intervention program. We have yet to meet birth Mom, visits have been scheduled once weekly for two hours supervised at the agency. She has 3 other siblings staying with her grandparents and they may visit as well. The nerves always take over around visit times.

Our love multiplies each day. We are in the process of purchasing our home so a few extra days picked up from work has been needed. I asked my Mom if she could watch Baby J for a little while. She told me “I can’t wait to see her. I hate to get attached but I think I am already.” That statement makes me sad because I know that attachment is what these kids need the most, but I get it. I respond “Don’t hate to get attached, they need the love more than our feelings.”

You can say that over and over again and it doesn’t make it easier.Β  I’ve brought my parents along on this journey. They have fallen hard for my previous placements, that have gone home. Foster Grandparents grieve too. I don’t usually go out of my way to introduce my kids to extended family for this reason.

So I can come back with a strong response but truth is, I do get worried too. So very worried I am going to fall in love, too deep, too fast, all over again. But its not going to stop me. Here we go again, diving in and we have no idea how deep.

Change is good

54 long days had past since Baby Boy left our care. It’s safe to say I was going insane! We had taken some foster classes and listened to everyone talk about how busy they were in their counties. We were beginning to consider switching to a more needed county. It drives me insane for my beds to be empty when another foster parent tells me there are more kids than foster homes in their county. So we did, we looked around and were told we must be licensed for at least a year to switch and can only foster ages 5 and up! What!? I felt like I wasn’t good enough.We even talked to the Case Worker about increasing our age limit.

So I sat eating breakfast with my husband and said we need a change! I was made to be a Mom. I thrive on the crazy of tiny humans. They are my fuel and my reason for living. I’ve felt a lot of guilt about needing to go back to work when no one was here calling me Mom. I needed to help pay the bills and move on, but I grieved harder than I thought I needed to. Baby Boy’s Grandma had not kept in contact or responded to me like she had promised, crushing me harder knowing I probably will never see him again even if its a picture.

A big piece of my heart was missing and I needed to figure out how to live on. A bit dramatic it seems but its the truth. I know what I’m getting into every time I take a placement, this isn’t for me.

I was just about to rearrange my living room furniture just for anything to change. My husband was moving the couch so I could mop my hard wood floors as the phone rang, it was children services. They have a 4 month old baby girl hospitalized from abuse. My husband mouthed “a 4 month old!” Butterflies take over you knowing your life is again changing in the matter of minutes. A new life, new story, new family, new culture. We accepted to take her in and visited her that evening. My heart is filling up again.

I seem to be more at peace with this placement and the possibility of reunification as again grandparents are involved. Maybe its experience and each time I hand them back it will easier not because my heart will hurt less but my understanding will be better.

On Christmas day Grandma of Baby Boy sent me a picture reporting he was doing well and thanked me for my love and care. The few and far between moments that make this all worth it.

Sacrifices

I didn’t believe it was ever going to snow this year, but it finally did. I was on my way to see my dad. He was scheduled for surgery. I watched the snow fall from his hospital room window as we waited for the nurse to tell us it was time to take him to the operating room.

I wish as a child you could understand the deep love parents have for you. I remember being a moody teenager refusing to talk to my Dad. I made him cry and broke his rules. I wish I could go back.Β  I’ve always loved my parents but now as a adult I truly realize the sacrifices they have made for me. I now know that they were the only ones who really ever had my back.

My Dad taught me how a man should treat his wife and provide for his family. How to play with your kids and teach them about life every chance you get. I become that much more passionate about being the best foster parents we can be when I think of the love my parents show me. I want to be those people there for them in the worst times of their life.

He laid in his hospital bed cracking jokes about which son can have his rolling tool box and who gets his saw. Probably mostly to keep my Mom calm. We laugh along but deep down inside terrified of the day that will actually happen where his things will be inherited.

His surgery had been pushed back several hours. We were enrolled in a continuing education class that evening for fostering. Mid surgery we had to leave to get to this evening class. On the way we were stuck in traffic at a complete stand still due to a accident. We called the instructor to let them know but had to run into the building to avoid at 15 minute cut off. We made it in time. We sat in a room with a group of other foster parents with bags under their eyes in their work uniforms eating a bite really quick for dinner. My Mom text me during class a picture of my dad giving the camera a thumbs up! Thankfully, he got through his procedure without any complications.

I have changed my status from working full time to be able to stay at home with my kids. Now that our home is empty we have felt thatΒ financial strain of that sacrifice. Our case worker said there has not been any little ones taken into care in our county and things have been slow so I have been back to work part time.

2016 goes down in history. It’s been hard and messy but has shown us the intense love a parent can feel. Our hearts, time, jobs and relationships have all been sacrificed to make our dream of fostering come true and we don’t regret it one bit.