Sandy woke-up and I was cuddling her back to sleep when she stuck her finger so far up my nose it started gushing with blood. I have weird baby injuries all over my body- marks on my fingers from Clemmie’s playful but sharp teeth, alien abduction bruising on the inside of my arms from Clemmie’s tiny fingers pinching the hell out of me. Then there’s the accidental head-butting, hair pulling, eyelid rolling episodes…. Why don’t I ever hear news stories of babies accidentally killing their parents? It HAS to happen. Like the time Sandy pushed her hand so hard into my neck I almost lost consciousness. And I’m healthy!
Parenting really is a contact sport.
Amanda sent this: “No tortoises were harmed in the celebration of this Hanukkah.”
Henry’s posh new digs.
This is Amanda, Henry’s hero. She is going to foster him for a little while (I wrapped him in one of the girl’s old bath robes). As I mentioned a while back, I felt as though Henry wasn’t getting the attention or roaming space that he deserved now that the Baby Ladies are here.
A giant thanks to everyone who offered to take him. Amanda’s parents have tortoises in Texas so she knew the special care drill. He’s living the high life now back in Harlem where he started with me 13 years ago! Amanda’s already sent photos, I’ll try to get those up tomorrow. Hugs and kisses Henry and Amanda!
When Liz came home from taking Clementine to her birth family visit, we spent about an hour talking about how cool her they all are. It is so nice to get an outside opinion- especially from someone not used to the foster care world. Liz gushed about Clementine’s mom and dad, about how affectionate the were with Clemmie, how kind they were to her (chasing after her to make sure she got a piece of cake), how well the kids respond to them etc, etc. I’m obviously biased, as they gave me their child to raise, so I love hearing other people’s impressions.
I hope Clementine’s parents will want to keep up monthly visits once all of the kids are out of foster care and we don’t have the system and it’s building as a home base. I wonder, will they be comfortable coming to see Clemmie swim at the YMCA, or would they rather meet in a familiar park, or even come to our place?
If I ever were to work in child welfare after all of this experience, I think I’d want to create something like a “visitation doula”. Okay, just kidding about the doula bit- a word being used for everything these days. Let’s call is a visitation consultant, or just a facilitator of adoptees’ families. With most adoptions being open these days, and with adoptions coming from the complications in families that led to foster care, supervision by a licensed profession could be a bridge that may be necessary for newly adoptive parent to feel comfortable with visits. Adoptive and birth parents are totally on their own once an adoption is complete. What if a birth parent shows up drunk? Or gets angry? Or says something to your child that crosses the adoptive parents’ boundaries? I (or you- anyone- feel free to take this idea and run with it) could be the go between to negotiate the issues that arise. Not to mention, the possible changes in visits that will inevitably be needed at different stages of the child’s life.
What I normally see is if an adoptive parent get uncomfortable they shut-down visits all together. However, I think that if they knew a licensed professional would be present to intercede on the spot during visits, in addition to negotiating all of the details (e.g. gifts okay? speaker phone calls to relatives in prison?). Also, the visitation consultant idea should benefit and advocate for the birth parents and their wishes. Especially since sometimes communicated the small things can be hard (e.g. Does she know about her half-sister living in an institution? Can she write her a letter?) Ultimately, the goal being to refocus everyone on the needs and feelings of the adopted child.
I think such a facilitator could help in a lot of birth family/adoptive family communications. It could maybe even be powerful. In my perfect world, it would be a post-adoption service offered by every state in foster-to-adopt cases.
I went with this inexpensive tin menorah for now. I really like it. Today is the first day I lit it because breaking the foster home rules gives me a heart attack (no candles per my agency). I lit it after the Baby Ladies were asleep and with Runfostermama as fire safety back-up.
Question, can I say Happy Hanukkah all 8 days or just some days?
I mentioned before that Clementine’s birth mom doesn’t ask for much. This week she asked for Clemmie to change visit days so they could all celebrate Hanukkah together. Unfortunately, I teach on the day she wanted (today) so Liz (roommate) offered to take her and Runfostermama is meeting them there. I’m sooooooo lucky to have so many awesome people in my and the Baby Ladies’ lives. I’m super grateful.
The photo is one of the three Hanukkah gift packages I put together for Clementine’s siblings. The sand art is going to make a big mess at the foster agency but there’s no way it could get worse than the Halloween play dough I took last month!
Has anyone seen any artsy looking posters recreated off the new food pyramid? I want something to frame for my kitchen (to remind me about the baby ladies’ nutrition). It could be the vertically sectioned pyramid or the plate graphic above. Maybe you’ve seen something on pinterest or etsy? I can’t find anything…
And look who lives 5 blocks from a grocery store that sells Hebrew alphabet cookies? Clemmie would have eaten the whole box if I let her.
Rachel sang the Hebrew alphabet to the Baby Ladies and ate menorah sorbet with us.
The girls LOVE this little Chanukah set.
(same, old babble disclaimer here) November is Adoption Month so I got to go all in on the adoption front:
Why I’ll Never Tell My Adopted Daughter She Was ‘Born In My Heart’
My Adopted Daughter Is Jewish, I’m Not and Hanukkah Is Here
Study Shows Adult Adoptees Just As Well Adjusted As Their Non-Adopted Peers
How My Foster Kids’ Medical Needs Could Fall Through The Cracks
13 Weird Baby Teeth Stock Photos (‘Cause Baby Teeth Can Be Hilarious)
November 23rd is National Adoption Day
The Status of Clementine’s Adoption (For National Adoption Month)
Christmas Milk: How a Foster Child Inspired a Brand