The last two weeks have been pure hell.
You would think I was talking about the dreaded two week wait, but no. I am talking about our third placement coming and going.
It all started with getting a DCS call asking us about a “one year old.” Technically the kid is eighteen months old. Homeless. Heartbreaking. I have no reason to say no, except that the kid is older than we wanted. So what do I do? Like an idiot I say yes.
Kiddo arrives with lice. We knew that ahead of time. I had bought the lice killing shampoo. They had already done a treatment at the DCS office. I do another one when they arrive. Turns out the kid hates baths. Screams the entire time. I try to make it fun with bath toys and singing. Nope. Screaming. I finish up quick and get the kiddo dressed.
I feed the kid a snack. Fruit and cheerios. Whole milk in a sippy cup. Kid doesn’t know how to use a sippy cup. Change to a bottle.
We watch baby TV. Suddenly the kid realizes no one is coming to take them back to their parents. Ensue screaming. At the top of their lungs. For hours. Until they pass out. I move the kid up to the crib. There they sleep. They wake up every couple of hours screaming. We rock them back to sleep.
The next day, more eat, scream, sleep. All day. I barely get three hours of work done (SHHHH don’t tell my boss). Now this night the kid won’t sleep in the crib. Won’t stand being left alone. We try the cry it out. We keep checking on the kid, telling them it is ok while they scream and scream and scream. After a couple hours we cave and take them out of the crib.
This starts the sleeping on the couch. We can’t leave them alone, so hubby and I alternate sleeping on the couch with the TV on for background noise. Thankfully the kiddo starts daycare the next day so I can actually work.
I beg our agency to move the kid to be with siblings. Kiddo obviously very upset about being removed but I thought if they are with siblings the freaking out would be less. The case manager needs us not to move the kiddo because they were working on other things.
The car ride to the daycare is more screaming. The more I try to soothe, the more screaming happens. Week 1 passes pretty quickly. Screaming, screaming, and screaming.
On top of the screaming the kiddo is shy around men. So they are having a hard time warming up to hubby. Which means I am doing most of the caring for during the day. I’m exhausted. We have family and friends help take care of the kiddo on the weekend so we can get a break. We take the kiddo trunk-or-treating Saturday before Halloween. The kiddo seemed to enjoy it, until we get into the car. More screaming.
Week two starts and I can see the writing on the wall. The aches, the chills, the stuffy noses. We get a mild flu, just hubby and me. I start feeling better by Thursday, then Friday the worst thing ever. I come down with massive vomiting. I couldn’t even drive down the road to pick up the kid from daycare. I go to urgent care. They think I picked up a bacterial stomach infection. They give me antibiotics and a steroid shot to calm my tummy.
I beg the agency to talk to the case manager to find out what has been going on all week since we hadn’t heard anything. Saturday I sleep all day. My mother-in-law came over to help with the kid (not out of the goodness of her heart, mind you, we paid her). All she does is “clean” our house and semi-ignore the kid and fight with my husband. Oh and bad mouth us to our neighbor. She offers to stay the night on the couch with the kid. We accept (because at this point we are both super sick and exhausted). She stays through most of Sunday doing the same. Kiddo is screaming because they want me to care for them but I am too sick to even move.
Today the kiddo is being moved to another placement, sadly not to be with the siblings. I am so conflicted because I am really relieved that they are being moved but feel guilty because they aren’t going to the siblings. I know that isn’t my fault. There are other reasons for the move than I am listing here (privacy and such) we were never going to be a permanent placement. I sent a giant bag of all the toys and clothes we had for the kid. The case manager asks us if we really want to send it. Of course I do! This kid lost everything already.
My husband told me this week that he had a dream that I got pregnant and he was so relieved we didn’t have to do foster care anymore. I think I am taking that as a sign that we are done with fostering for now. I had a hard time arguing with the behavioral health people and the case manager about how important it was for this kid to be with siblings. I felt like my opinion didn’t matter. I was feeling done with it too.
Somehow I found time to apply for the grant for IVF too. It is a long shot, but I can’t help but hope. Maybe we will get lucky.
Have a toddler really got my thinking about how old our baby would have been if we hadn’t miscarried. Our baby would have been 22 months. About the same age as this placement. It hurts thinking how different the last two years would have been without the miscarriage.
Halloween also got us thinking about our first placement. I wonder if the family put the kiddo in the costume we had bought for them when we thought we were going to have them through Thanksgiving. It doesn’t help that the case aides keep calling us asking us questions about visits for that kid even though they left us over a month ago.
So this election day, we elect ourselves. No more case workers, no more state involvement, no more being ignored. We elect to hold on to the hope that we can afford more infertility treatment in the future and until then enjoy sleeping in our own bed, together!