16 city blocks
Turns out, that’s how close Snap’s been living to me all this time. His foster mom called and invited me to come visit. She practically squealed with delight when she learned how close by I am. Snap won’t have any recollection of me, but I’m excited to drop by and see him anyway. I was thinking of taking him a book and bringing some flowers for his foster family.
This was a good laugh. Brian and I had a few of these date nights, for sure.
Hero of the Century Wanted: This Sunday
Jacket's Mom: Hey, do you know what a resume is?
Would you make my brother's*?
Well, I have a friend [insert HERO-TO-BE] who could help him learn to do it himself.
Ok (has argument with said brother* in the background about holding his horses and waiting until Sunday). And the girls are asking to see you again.
You know, my friends were soooo jealous when they learned that I got to hang-out with all of the girls...
Really? You have friends who like kids?
Yeah, and I was telling them how each girl wanted so much attention and...
Yeah, they ALL want attention, don't they.
They do and that's really healthy. So, I have an idea. Why don't we meet at the college again and a friend [random Internet Super Hero] can help you and your brother* learn how to use the computer in one room and some more of my friends and I can do arts and crafts with the kids in another?
Yeah, we can do that.
Great, that'll be cool.
We'll meet you early Sunday morning, you hear?
Ok, let's discuss the time later this week.
Roommate: What's Jacket going to be for Halloween?
Me: Minnie Mouse.
Are you going to dress up?
Gosh, I haven't dressed up since I was the blind girl from Little House on the Prairie.
Yeah, but everyone kept mistaking me for Helen Keller.
That's like being one Golden Girl, no one would know who you are.
How we might make mentoring Jacket's cousins work
Thank you to everyone who has responded to mentoring Jacket’s cousins! So far a dozen people have responded and just when you think that means you won’t be needed, think again. A ratio of 4:1 might be the most realistic idea of all. Jacket has me, Elia, Deepa, Stefanie, Rachel, etc. etc. Maybe each kid needs a whole team? Maybe this kind of mega-mentoring is what former foster...
Want to mentor one of Jacket's cousins?
No doubt some of you were placing bets last night that I was going to wake-up on another crusade. :) So I have yet another idea… Jacket’s little cousins repeatedly said yesterday “I wish you were my foster mom” and it was so sad. But what they really meant (since they aren’t in foster care anymore) is that they want the kind of individualized attention and care I...
How on earth will Jacket grow-up sane?
I need to debrief and this post isn’t going to be sunshine and puppy dogs. I’m left feeling as though it’s going to be impossible for Jacket to grow-up as any sort of normal person amongst her family. Crazy as a description doesn’t cut it anymore. Totally fucked-up doesn’t either. We started with water balloons on the roof. Each time I filled one up at the spout...
For Edith (and others)
Hi Edith, I just got all of your questions (from the comment section of the last post) and that’s sooo awesome that you want to foster! I want to answer your questions, but you mind find quicker answers in the forum: http://fosterhood.yuku.com/ If you post your county it would help a lot because most of these things are very specific city to city… Keep me updated! Rebecca
The original plan and then what actually happened
The original plan (a loose term in these circumstances) was for me to borrow my friend’s car and pick-up Jacket and her mom and go to the beach for the day. Yesterday I was asked if Jacket’s uncle* and grandmother could come along too. I firmly stated that there weren’t enough seat-belts in the car. Two adults and Jacket, max. The next call was on the ipad and Jacket’s...
Uhm, so like, if I know you, you're invited over
…like five minutes ago. It’s ok if we only met five minutes ago too. Just give me a call. And, house rules? No throwing things. No hurting people. No going into my bedroom. What else?
Jacket et al. are on their way. And by et al I mean a LOT of family members. P.S. I apprised the detective.
"The Story" link
http://thestory.org/archive/the_story_092311_full_show.mp3/view I really love how it was pulled together and produced. Even funnier that I was paired with another recovering fundamentalist. I had never heard of the Quiverfull movement, so interesting!
Time to pull out your hankies again, y'all
Snap’s current foster mom received his Lifebook and just emailed me a bunch of amazing photos. I’ll work on cropping them for posting.
Ah-BA-ka, I want you to pick me up.– Jacket, she says it almost everyday and it breaks my heart a little.
Another radio interview tomorrow
I’ll be on “The Story” with Dick Gordon tomorrow (pre-recorded). Here’s a list of the public radio stations (not on WNYC unfortunately) that it will air. The producer just asked me for some music that my foster kids and I listened to so I sent her Jacket’s favorites. I have no idea what, if any of these, they will play, but my fingers are crossed for the first...
Serving Jacket Soda
One of the really weird parts of having Jacket and her mom over now is giving Jacket soda. Diet Coke is my vice and it’s the one thing I didn’t even try to hide from Jacket. I would stuff twix bars up my sleeves and eat them in the closet to prevent her from seeing and then wanting a candy bar, but Diet Coke she just knew that I drank it and she didn’t. In fact, she used to...
will be on the mommybites radio show tomorrow →
Tuesday, September 20th, 1-2pm.
glitter glue, bacon-wrapped surprise, and poo-kims
The visit was chill. So long as I don’t consider all of the crazy words that were said. And I don’t. I darted into the building with Jacket as her mom and the taxi driver stood on the corner threatening to punch one another and then call the police. I kept coloring with Jacket while nodding to her mom’s conspiracy theory that the twin towers were full of babies that were...
"on their way" phone call
The utter chaos of just a phone call is so difficult to convey. Grandma was asking for the cross-streets of my apartment and she just couldn’t get the pronunciation of the avenue. I could hear Jacket’s mom in the background having a very loud, nonsensical argument with a cab driver and Jacket was flipping out trying to take the phone from grandma to talk to...
Jacket et. al. coming over in the morning
I actually saw Jacket and her mom briefly on Monday. Jacket’s mom told me that they were going to be at the foster agency visiting cousins and that she’d like to come over afterward for me to refill the ipad credit. Mondays are packed for me now because the semester has started so I go to work and then teach two classes. I offered to stop by the agency, pick-up the ipad, fix it,...
more on Jacket's aunt and the BBQ
Sorry, I didn’t mean to leave you all in suspense. Aside from chain-locking us out of the apartment (we were BBQing on the roof) because of a long list of people allegedly following and wanting to kill her, Jacket’s aunt didn’t do anything that terrible. Her presence was just like Snap’s mom at her worse. She might have been on drugs. The uppers (has anyone used that...
Why didn’t you call me!? I was at work a block away.– The Detective, after I told her about how crazy Jacket’s aunt got at the BBQ
Practically a must-read →
Thanks to Caroline and Deepa for sending me this NY Magazine article about the two city case workers who were charged with homicide. I would have missed it otherwise. Here’s an earlier blog post about the case.
A new Fosterhood
I’m changing ‘fosterhoodies’ to just ‘fosterhoods’. Sounds less corny and branding-like. Anyway, below is a cool email that I’m posting with permission. I know there’s a whole new generation out now and I’m wretched at answering my emails so (if it’s not too obnoxious) feel free to email me again and remind me to post your blog! “Hi...
Highlights from one of my student's papers: Ouch!
•Hipster parents need to retain their own identity while raising children– parenthood risks their “creative control” over their own lives •insistence that kids follow in their footsteps, particularly with regard to music taste– want their kids to be “cool” •often reject mainstream parenting techniques and remain concerned about their own self-image, sometimes to the detriment of their...
sqeak, squeak, squeak-squeak-squeak
The ipad 3g must be renewed “on the ipad” every 30 days which is a big pain because it’s an extra step for Jacket’s mom to meet up with me so that I can re-enter my credit card info. However, since the ipad internet has run-out, Jacket (and her mom) have called me for the past three nights. Tonight Jacket had me talk to her doll and all I heard was high-pitched...
Prostitution and Drugs
I looked up Snap’s Mom’s charges. Sigh…
Guess who's back?
Snap's Mom: Hey Rebecca, it's me Snap's mom.
Me: Hey, what's going on.
Listen, they are sending me to Riker's. I don't know what for. I didn't do nothing. Do you think you could visit me?
Oh, __Snap's Mom__, I really wish you'd call me when you weren't in jail or the hospital. What's going on with Snap?
I don't know, I was supposed to go to court last week.
I know, I went hoping that you'd be there.
Listen, can you visit me this weekend?
No, I'm sorry. I already have plans.
Well, I'm here til the 21st, do you think you could put $5 or something in my commissary?
You know that I don't give you money.
I know, but just $3 or something, so I can get coffee?
No, I'm sorry. I'm not interested in being your money tree. I'd much rather take you to lunch or dinner when you get-
Part I Part II Part III. Sal’s pizza is a really small place that forces you to sit at a table with strangers. I sat with several suited, overweight, ladies who were black. They put their swollen feet up in the chairs and dusted each other off here and there. I remember them being pretty jolly in a ‘we made it’ sort of way. I still wonder how the hell they got home or...
Part I here Part II. About half the people got off the train, half of us stayed on. We all resumed typical subway silence. My friend got off in midtown and I got off at my stop on the F train at 2nd Ave. I came up to street level and there were hundreds, I guess thousands of people walking up 1st avenue. My neighborhood, the Lower East Side (LES), was still pretty gritty at the time so to...
I recognized myself in one of the 9/11 documentaries on television tonight. It was just a quick camera scan and I had no idea it was taken- although there were more people filming and snapping photos than not those days. For someone who has chosen to blog so publicly, it is ironic how uncomfortable it made me. I feel dirty talking about what occurred in my micro-world on September 11th. In a...
Thought of the day
I don’t see my hopes of being a post-reunification support as much different than the Big Brothers/Big Sisters’ model (which some of you might not realize that ACS sends a lot of families to). The mother of my dad’s little brother through the organization (i know, read it again) naturally integrated into our family over the years. As much as I want top-down support, I’m realizing that foster...
My knee-jerk reaction
First, if the state has decided that a birth family is safe enough to return a 2 year old Jacket, then it should be safe enough for me. Emotionally as well as physically. Second, I’m seeing a pattern here (not here the readers, just here in my experience). There isn’t consensus in NYS on the role of fosters parents. I don’t know why i didn’t recognize this as the issue...
Raise the birth/foster co-parenting requirements
Rebecca’s unsolicited foster care policy suggestion of the day: Foster parents struggle with supporting reunification of the birth mother and children. This is not surprising. I am asked to care for and love a vulnerable, abused child. Easy. Implicitly, I’m asked to buy into the justification that the child was ripped from his or her parents. Okay, I trust you, shit must really be bad in their...
allow me an adoptee moment...
While I’m thinking about language and political correctness (i.e. “ghetto”), I want to harp on the term “surrendering” or “surrendered” for adoption. Surrendering is an awful word selection for so many reasons. It suggests weakness, failure, a fight, or a war even which perpetuates an us-versus-them mentality against the system. I understand how the...
I wish I would have listened to this before getting my first foster baby. The interviewer says at one point that almost every mother she interviews cries in the first 20 minutes of their conversation. http://thestory.org/archive/the_story_072811.mp3/view
Hmm, apparently I clamped Skype down so tight...
…that they can’t turn their camera on. I had to read “Harry the Dirty Dog” while staring at myself. Jacket could see me, I just couldn’t see her. Clearly not as exciting because shortly into the book she said “Ah-BA-ka, I tawk to you later saweet-howt (sweetheart)” and hung up.
someone was testing the ipad boundaries...
Jacket’s Skype profile photo was removed, her name was changed to “Liz” and her age was switched to 21. Not cool. I took the path of least resistance and changed the password and waited for a call. Sure enough, Jacket’s mom’s phone which hasn’t had any minutes on it for a week was suddenly ringing me. I fibbed and said that I received an email from security...