Thursday, January 25, 2018

New Beginnings. (Sort of.)

Hello, everyone!

I know I've started multiple posts this way in the past few years, but- I'm back!! It's been a year since I've posted in here. And a lot of things have happened.

A lot.

Some good. Some less good.

But all of them have added up to an interesting year.

Here's the Spark Notes version of what's been going on:

  • Not too long after my last post, T1 and T2 left. (If anyone new happens to read this, they are the 12 and 9 year old boys I fostered for a few months at the end of 2016 and start of 2017.) They went to a new foster home that could take them and their sister. That transition was surprisingly hard. I thought I'd be relieved to have a break from the chaos, but I was mostly sad. To be honest, I'm still working through a lot of those feelings, so I may have to come back to that in a future post.
  • J and I took a few weeks to recoup, and then we went back on the list of open homes.
  • Then we waited. And waited. And waited. For about 3 months.
  • On June 1st, I was at work when I received a call about an almost 18-month-old girl who might need a placement. I said I'd do it. Then I waited some more while the agency sorted through details. 
Actual footage of me waiting for their return call.
  • A few hours later, they called back to say she'd be arriving that evening.
  • A few hours after that, Miss E showed up. Having grown accustomed to a house full of boys, I prepared myself for an exciting new adventure. And that is exactly what I got entering into life with 2 toddlers.
One of my favorite pictures of 2017- showing J and E the ocean for the first time. Because, oh yeah, we traveled to Oregon 2 weeks after E arrived- just like J and I did after his arrival, oddly enough. (They were both previously planned trips.)

  • In November, we thought E was leaving. We were told a reunification plan was settled, and she'd be gone in a matter of days. I went to court thinking I'd learn about the transition details. Instead I learned some of the supports we thought were in place for E's mom fell through, so they had to start over at square one. Meaning E would stay with us for a while longer.

Fast forward to today. E is still with us. She turned 2 over the holidays. And boy... this girl is a firecracker. She is really cute, remarkably charming, frustratingly stubborn, and incredibly confident in what she wants. It's a roller coaster combination, as you might imagine.
Already my life, but even more so the past 8 months.
I think my favorite part of having E join our little family is watching the bond form between her and J. When T1 and T2 lived with us, J enjoyed playing with them. He thought they were hilarious, and looked up to them in a toddler-who-idolizes-older-siblings way.

But now he's a big brother, which is a role I think he's taken on well. Mostly.

Our first weekend together, we took E to the zoo, and J held her hand while we walked around, as if he was showing her one of his favorite places. (Which I suppose he was, in a way.) Now, he refers to her as "my sister"- I think because his day care teachers refer to her as such. He shares his toys with her, helps  her when she drops something, and then will push her over if she gets too close to his personal space.

 And she does the same to him. 

They act just like most siblings in that way.
Just like these penguins, they're so cute... until one gets pushed into the ice.
One of the hardest things about having E join our family is coping with double the amount of toddlers. This stage is no jokes, guys. It is no. Joke.

But for all of its frustrations, it is really fun. It seems like they both learn something (or somethings) new every day, and I love being a part of that! 

So we'll see where things go from here. The permanency plan is still reunification, so I'm assuming E's time with our family will be brief. But even so, it will certainly be memorable.

I hope we've made a positive impact on her life, but I know she's made a positive impact on mine.

So, that's where we are. 

I'm excited to get back to writing, because it's been way too long since I've made this a priority. I've thought about it a lot in the past year, but things always seemed to prevent me from jumping back in. At first it was feeling incapable of communicating thoughts and feelings around T1 and T2 leaving. Then it was feeling like I had nothing to write about. Then it was trying to re-balance after our family grew again. 

But now it feels like time. I think I'm a better parent and person when I make an effort to write. (Or type.) So here's hoping I can keep that up!

Besides, I have an annual tradition requiring me to post a letter to a certain someone coming up soon... 

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